Declan Donnelly has finally broken his silence over best friend and career-long co-host Ant McPartlin’s return to rehab after his arrest under suspicion of drink driving.
Dec is said to be ‘devastated’ and ‘gutted’ following Ant’s crash at the weekend that injured a three-year-old and could put their decades long career at risk.
While he has not spoken publicly about Ant’s latest misdemeanour over the weekend a close source has said the 42-year-old is ‘gutted’ for him and is very concerned about the duo’s future on TV.
Part of the fallout of the arrest on Sunday night has seen the duo’s prime tim show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV cancelled indefinitely so Ant can recover in a rehab facility.
… just really upset about it all just on so many levels – gutted and worried about Ant obviously and devastated he’s going back to rehab.
But he’s also worried about the future of Ant and Dec.
The duo have appeared as a double act since leaving the iconic CBBC kids drama Byker Grove, after a brief stint in music they found their calling as presenters. Their loveable Geordie charm resonated with viewers, thus making them bankable stars on shows such as Pop Idol, I Am Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Saturday Night Takeaway.
But the duo’s career is now hanging in the balance, according to brand expert Marcel Knobil, who was speaking to The Daily Star. Giving his professional hot-take, he believes Ant’s arrest has permanently tarnished the duo’s family-friendly, squeaky clean image.
They are such a resilient brand and that has been demonstrated by the fact that it wasn’t too badly damaged by his previous troubles.
But a brand has a breaking point and this could be it.
It’s very important to recognise that it’s only the most popular celebrities that are forgiven and that’s what he is. He has been forgiven to date but this really does up the volume.
[ooyala player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ width=”undefined” height=”undefined” autoplay=”true” pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l” code=”Vrd2NxZTE6Pj5L_G9XjNDGAKSvlRZ2rv”]
On Sunday night Ant was arrested by police on suspicion of drink-driving after a crash involving two cars reportedly injured a three-year-old girl.
The girl was taken to hospital after the 42-year-old I’m A Celebrity host lost control of his Mini. Ant’s mum was reported to be in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
He reportedly failed a roadside breathalyser test and was taken away in a police car for questioning, according to The Mirror.
After being released by Police, Ant’s publicist, Simon Jones, has released a statement saying:
Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments.
He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future.
As such ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ will not be going ahead this Saturday.
This incident comes of the back of a traumatic time for the presenter, who has been very open about his battle with alcohol and addiction to prescription drugs.
Last year he spent time in rehab before returning to work in November for his annual appearance on I’m A Celebrity.
The pair even joked about Ant’s rumoured absence from the show.
In January 2018, Ant split from his wife Lisa, said to be due to irreparable differences reportedly put on by McPartlin’s addiction issues.