I feel I’ve let you down, says ITV host as he checks him­self into re­hab

The Guardian - - NEWS - Ni­cola Slaw­son Ant McPartlin, left, and De­clan Don­nelly first met on BBC1’s Byker Grove in 1989

Ant McPartlin, one half of pre­sent­ing duo Ant and Dec, has checked him­self into re­hab fol­low­ing a bat­tle with al­co­hol and sub­stance abuse and de­pres­sion.

McPartlin, 41, most fa­mous for pre­sent­ing I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me out of Here and Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent, said: “The first step is to ad­mit to your­self you need help. I feel like I have let a lot of peo­ple down and for that I’m truly sorry. I want to thank my wife, fam­ily and clos­est friends for help­ing me through this re­ally dif­fi­cult time. I’ve spo­ken out be­cause I think it’s im­por­tant that peo­ple ask for help if they’re go­ing through a rough time and get the proper treat­ment to help their re­cov­ery.”

The Sun on Sun­day re­ported that McPartlin has checked into a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity, where he will re­main for up to two months for treat­ment for is­sues that stemmed from failed knee surgery two years ago.

The pre­sen­ter is said to have started tak­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs to cope with chronic pain and de­pres­sion. A source said that al­co­hol had also be­come a cause for con­cern among his friends. His busy work sched­ule is said to be an ad­di­tional fac­tor in his strug­gle with anx­i­ety.

Pre­sent­ing part­ner De­clan Don­nelly tweeted a mes­sage to fans: “Thank you for all the kind mes­sages and well wishes for the big fella. He will be touched.” McPartlin’s wife, Lisa Arm­strong, also thanked fans on Twit­ter: “Com­pletely over­whelmed by all your love & sup­port it means so much. I’m re­lieved he’s re­ceiv­ing the help he needs, we just need him bet­ter.”

Other stars have com­mended McPartlin for speak­ing out about his per­sonal is­sues. The Ap­pren­tice’s Alan Sugar said: “Very brave [for] Ant to go pub­lic. This is the first stage of the road to re­cov­ery. All the best Ant, it will all be sorted for sure.” Olympic run­ner Kelly Holmes said: “As I say at ev­ery speech I do, we are all hu­man! Best wishes to Ant ... You will come back stronger, your fans love you #its­good­totalk.”

McPartlin has been in the pub­lic eye since child­hood. He and Don­nelly forged their pro­fes­sional partnership af­ter star­ring in the chil­dren’s drama se­ries Byker Grove in the 1990s.

They went on to en­joy a mu­sic ca­reer un­der the names of their char­ac­ters PJ & Dun­can, re­leas­ing songs such as Let’s Get Ready To Rhum­ble and Shout.

Jobs on the en­ter­tain­ment shows Pop Idol and Friends Like Th­ese launched their prime­time ca­reer at the turn of the mil­len­nium. In Novem­ber the two men signed a new three-year deal with ITV es­ti­mated to be worth £30m.

They have won the TV pre­sen­ter award at the Na­tional Tele­vi­sion Awards for 16 con­sec­u­tive years and last year were awarded OBEs in the Queen’s birth­day honours for their ser­vices to broad­cast­ing and en­ter­tain­ment.

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