Ant McPartlin punching the air in delight

Every single step of Ant McPartlin’s rebrand – from divorce and addiction to doting stepdad and proud first-time father

He's had a rocky life in the public eye

Ant McPartlin made his name as one-half of the nation’s favourite TV duo Ant and Dec – but, before marrying wife Anne-Marie and welcoming new baby boy Wilder, he was no stranger to a spot of drama.

Shooting to fame in the 1990s, alongside best pal Declan Donnelly, Ant has become one of the most successful TV presenters of our time. From fronting I’m A Celeb to Britain’s Got Talent, the Geordie lads have definitely kept busy over the years.

But for Ant, his time in the public eye hasn’t gone without a few scandals….

Ant and Dec smiling
Ant and Dec are TV favourites (Credit: Cover Images)

Ant McPartlin ‘could have killed himself’

TV favourite Ant was embroiled in a two-year addiction to strong painkilling drugs. His addiction was a result of suffering a torn meniscus in 2014 in his knee which left him in near-constant agony and immobile.

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday back in 2017, Ant, who is now clean, revealed he was once rushed to the hospital at 5am after an “insane” pills binge.

He told the publication: “I was at the point where anything — prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs — I would take. And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me: ‘You could have killed yourself.'”

According to Ant he had been bingeing on tramadol, morphine and alcohol. He then spent two months in rehab after the incident.

Ant McPartlin on a chat show
Ant suffered from addiction (Credit: ITV)

Ant McPartlin charged with drink-driving

After his stint in rehab, Ant was faced with more drama when he was charged with drink-driving following a multi-car crash in London in 2018.

The incident saw Ant drive in the wrong lane, before hitting a Mini with a family inside, and then crashing into a BMW. He was two times over the limit at the time of the crash.

Ant was banned from driving for 20 months and given an £86,000 fine after pleading guilty. He said he was “ashamed and mortified” by his actions after entering a guilty plea at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in April.

He was twice the legal limit when he was arrested on March 18. The court was told Ant had 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, when the legal limit is 35mcg per 100 ml.

Ant stepped back from his TV commitments, taking time out to focus on his recovery in March 2018. Dec was forced to find a new co-host for that year’s I’m A Celebrity, with Holly Willoughby stepping into work alongside her old pal.

Ant’s split from former wife Lisa Armstrong

The same year, Ant confirmed the end of his marriage to wife Lisa Armstrong. Ant and Lisa, a make-up artist on Strictly Come Dancing, tied the knot in 2006.

In a statement shared with media in 2018, Ant’s spokesperson said: “In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after 11 years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin. Ant asks for privacy at this difficult time, for both himself, Lisa and their immediate families.”

The pair eventually divorced in April 2020. Lisa reportedly got a £31m settlement as part of the divorce from Ant, and the two share custody of their Labrador Hurley.

The couple never had children together.

Ant and his wife Anne-Marie at their wedding
TV favourite Ant McPartlin married wife Anne-Marie in 2021 (Credit: Splash)

Ant marries wife Anne-Marie

Ant returned to screens with Dec for the 2019 BGT auditions. With his career back on track, his personal life started looking just as good too.

In 2018, it was reported that he was dating Anne-Marie Corbett, who was formerly his personal assistant. The pair got married in 2021, with wingman Declan Donnelly acting as best man.

The pair looked blissfully happy as they posed for photos on their wedding day. Ant punched the air with delight when they came out of the church.

He has since said that Anne-Marie was his rock throughout his recovery. During the 2020 final of I’m A Celebrity, Ant described Anne-Marie as his “happy place”.

Ant McPartlin punching the air in delight
Ant has said wife Anne-Marie is his ‘happy place’ (Credit: Splash News)

Vulnerable in autobiography

Ant and Dec got candid in their joint autobiography, Once Upon a Tyne, in 2020, they said they weren’t sure they would ever work together again.

But, as well as supportive wife Anne-Marie, Ant McPartlin also had the support of Dec.

Dec said: “There was a real chance we were never going to work together again. Not knowing if Ant and Dec would continue was very scary for us both. Since 1990 we’ve made every decision together for the sake of Ant and Dec. Every discussion we’ve ever had has been what are we going to do? What’s best for us?

“And now suddenly, we had to think about ourselves as individuals. What do I want to do? What’s best for me? That felt like an alien mindset to adopt and it was very frightening.”

Dec said it was working together on Ant & Dec’s DNA Journey that brought the pair back together.

“Looking back, when we went into DNA, our relationship wasn’t where it should have been. We were on autopilot, working too hard and taking each other for granted, but Ant’s break forced us both to evaluate everything, almost from the perspective of an outsider. It was something we really took time over. We both spoke to lots of people, friends and family, and we both individually came to the conclusion that we wanted to keep working together.

“A break helped us realise how much we love what we do, and ultimately how much we love each other.”

Ant McPartlin is doting stepdad to wife Anne-Marie’s girls

Before baby Wilder came along, Ant became a family man as stepfather to Anne-Marie’s daughters.

According to reports, Anne-Marie’s girls Poppy and Daisy took centre stage at their mum’s nuptials. The girls are said to have performed readings during the ceremony. They also acted as bridesmaids for their mum, wearing gorgeous long lilac dresses.

Proud Ant then paid tribute to the girls in his speech at the reception. He admitted that the girls call him Dad. The star is said to have told guests: “I’m grateful they call me Dad.”

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly step back from SNT before arrival of baby

Ant and presenting partner Dec announced earlier this year that the 20th series of Saturday Night Takeaway would be their last for the foreseeable future.

In the interview, Ant revealed that the reason he and Dec are taking a break from SNT is so they can spend more time with their families.

“On a more personal level, part of the reason we’re pausing Takeaway is we need a break ourselves, and we need to spend some time with our family,” he said.

The presenter then continued: “We’ve both got children that we need to spend time with for a little bit. We need time to think and, and time to step back and look at the bigger picture and just see where we are now.”

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A post shared by Ant & Dec (@antanddec)

Ant McPartlin welcomes baby Wilder

Ant McPartlin celebrated the most happy news when baby son Wilder arrived into the world on May 14, completing the star’s life turnaround from addict and divorcee to happily married family man.

“Welcome to the family. Wilder Patrick McPartlin,” he posted. “Born, 14/05/24 at 8.54am. Baby is beautiful, Mummy’s a legend, Sisters are over the moon. Dad’s a mess!”


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Read more: Lisa Armstrong ‘doesn’t want to be angry anymore’ as she ‘knows ex Ant McPartlin is ready to move on’

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Joey Crutchley
Freelance Writer