Scar­lett’s fear:

“I don’t want to lose Ant”

Closer (UK) - - Contents - By Daisy Mclure

When Scar­lett Mof­fatt posted a W sexy selfie to her 1.7m In­sta­gram fol­low­ers last week, she sent the ru­mour mill into over­drive as ea­gleeyed fans spot­ted a framed snap of Ant Mc­partlin on her bed­side ta­ble.

The pic­ture – which fea­tured the Gog­gle­box star, 27, along with Ant, 42, and his co-host Declan Don­nelly, 42, be­hind the scenes at Satur­day Night Take­away – caused a so­cial me­dia storm, with some fans pre­dict­ing the “beau­ti­ful cou­ple” would get to­gether soon.

Other com­ments were far nas­tier (see pics left) and one fan com­mented, “Busted – no­body keeps a photo of their co-work­ers on their bed­side ta­ble un­less they are more than friendly.” But Scar­lett quickly de­fended her­self, say­ing, “Well I do. Ant and Dec are my heroes.”

It came just days af­ter view­ers of the NTAS spec­u­lated that the pair were more than friends as they sat to­gether in the au­di­ence. One fan wrote, “Ant Mc­partlin is deffo see­ing Scar­lett Mof­fatt – deffo saw a con­nec­tion or some­thing last night… and she looks like a younger ver­sion of his wife – defo gonna be an­nounced their a cou­ple in the fu­ture [sic].”

DE­NIALS

The pair were quick to deny gos­sip they were in a re­la­tion­ship amid Ant’s mar­riage split.

Then last week, there was fur­ther spec­u­la­tion about the split af­ter his es­tranged wife, make-up artist Lisa Arm­strong, 41, “liked” a string of Tweets mak­ing digs at her ex, and reports pre­vi­ously sug­gested she could be go­ing for a record £153m di­vorce pay­out.

One Tweet Lisa liked ap­par­ently claimed her ex was “hid­ing some­thing or some­one” and an­other she re­acted to ap­peared to be from a for­mer friend, say­ing, “We fell out when I crit­i­cized Ant… I was prob­a­bly right but you were loyal.” Ant has not com­mented and there is noth­ing to sug­gest he’s done any­thing wrong.

IN A PANIC

Now pals say Scar­lett is up­set that her pla­tonic friend­ship with Ant has caused gos­sip, which makes her feel she should ex­clude him from her life to let the spec­u­la­tion die down.

A source says, “Scar­lett posted the photo in­no­cently and never once thought peo­ple would com­ment on her pic­ture with Ant. She went into a panic af­ter all the spec­u­la­tion they were hav­ing a love af­fair, and some peo­ple were so vi­cious. It’s the last thing she’d want.”

Fel­low Ge­ordies Scar­lett and Ant be­came pals af­ter Scar­lett’s ap­pear­ance on I’m A Celeb! in 2016. She was crowned jun­gle queen and went on to launch a pre­sent­ing ca­reer, host­ing dat­ing show Street­mate be­fore co-pre­sent­ing I’m A Celeb! spinoff Ex­tra Camp last year.

The source says, “While she’s done noth­ing wrong, Scar­lett is wor­ried that the only way to si­lence the gos­sip is to stop hang­ing out with Ant. She doesn’t want to lose his friend­ship, but thinks they should keep their dis­tance.” Since she split from her longterm boyfriend, hair­dresser Luke Crod­den, last year, Scar­lett has also been linked to TOWIE’S James “Arg” Ar­gent and Love Is­land win­ner Kem Ceti­nay.

The source adds, “She’s been in­cred­i­bly down over the last few weeks as ru­mours have con­tin­ued to swirl. It’s tor­ment­ing her – she can’t stand how she’s ro­man­ti­cally linked to any man she’s pic­tured with or pals with and how it af­fects all her friend­ships, which in turn makes her feel lonely and iso­lated. She’s strug­gling to sleep and is com­fort eat­ing. She’s been deeply af­fected by the false ru­mours and just wishes they’d stop.”

Last week, reports sur­faced that Scar­lett’s been dat­ing fit­ness model Lee Wilkin­son – whom she’s known for over a decade – since Christ­mas. It was claimed that she’d ini­tially cap­tioned the now in­fa­mous selfie (of her with the Ant and Dec pic in the back­ground) “Date night @ leewil­kin­son” but later changed it to “#selfie #ootd” Sources be­lieve she may be try­ing to si­lence the re­cent ru­mours about her and Ant by re­fer­ring to a date night with Lee.

JUST A FLING

The source says, “Scar­lett knows how much stress and heart­break Ant’s go­ing through and she doesn’t want to add to it.

“Her friends won­der if the romance with Lee is just a fling and that she’s do­ing what she can to qui­eten down the re­cent ru­mours. It’s very early days with Lee due to her crazy sched­ule and it’s been dif­fi­cult for them to spend much time to­gether, so ev­ery­one is sur­prised that news of their romance has come out.”

❛SHE THINKS THE ONLY WAY TO SI­LENCE THE GOS­SIP IS TO STOP HANG­ING OUT WITH HIM❜

Fans went wild af­ter spot­ting a pic of Ant on her bed­side ta­ble

She’s said to be dat­ing fit­ness model Lee (far left)

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