The pair have worked together for almost 30 years…
The Geordie duo have worked together for almost 30-years, but Dec – who continued to host their TV shows while Ant was seeking treatment – has admitted that he almost split from his TV partner over his ‘indefensible’ offence.
Revealing the shocking admission to Guardian’s Weekend magazine, Dec said that when he heard the news, he felt both angry with Ant and upset for him.
‘I wanted to punch him and I wanted to hug him at the same time – and I didn’t know which one I wanted to do first,’ Dec said.
During the aftermath, Dec confessed that he ‘would be lying’ if he said he hadn’t thought about splitting from his on-screen partner.
He said: ‘Ant went away, and he had a lot of work to do on himself. He had a lot of thinking to do. Equally, I did. I thought about every eventuality and every permutation.’
He added: ‘Ultimately, the number one thing I wanted to happen was that Ant came back and he was healthy and happy, and we got our relationship back on track and we carried on. That’s the thing that makes me the happiest, working together.’
Making the candid admission that he also had therapy after the incident, he said: ‘I’m not too proud to say I sought help when Ant was away and throughout Ant going away. It’s the most destabilising thing that has ever happened to me. I had some counselling, and I still do.’
The double act admitted that Ant’s arrest and conviction caused them to ‘reassess their career and relationship’, after they realised they had started to ‘take each other for granted’ and had even ‘stopped talking to each other properly’.
‘For the first time in many years, all we talked about were deep things like how we felt, and what the future held, and where we were, and all the chaos that has come along, especially for me,’ Ant said.
Ant was more than twice over the legal limit when he was involved in a three-car collision in Richmond, south-west London, last March. After he was arrested and charged with drink-driving, Ant immediately cancelled his presenting duties and took the rest of the year off to recover and go back to rehab.
Ant pleaded guilty to drink-driving in April and he received a record-breaking £86,000 fine, as well as a 20-month ban from driving.
Speaking earlier this year about Dec’s fury over the accident, Ant shared: ‘He’s angry, of course he’s angry. But it’s justified and I understood it.
‘We’re friends first and foremost. And we’re friends from the age of 13. But of course there’s going to be tensions there.
‘Because this is not just getting p****d and making a fool of yourself at the office Christmas party — this is drink driving.’
He added to The Sun: ‘Underneath all of that is love and still is love. And that’s what we talked about more than anything.’
Ant and Dec will return as a TV duo next Saturday for the first time in a year on Britain’s Got Talent.