Dec Donnelly opens up on Ant McPartlin’s heartbreaking rehab journey – ‘I’m relieved’


  • Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey viewers left emotional by Dec

The pair spoke openly about Ant’s mental health and how it affected them both as Dec explained his true feelings about the situation when he found out.

“It has really tested the bond we’ve shared since we were 13-years-old. I was incredibly angry at the start, so angry, disappointed in him that he didn’t ever come to me and say, ‘I’m struggling, I need you’, if the shoe was on the other foot I would have said you were… he never came to me, that hurt me a lot,” he admitted.

Ant recognised his best friend’s anger as his “actions affected not only me, but him and his family too.”

“I focussed on repairing relationships and being a better person and you know big life decisions really. Work was very far down the line,” he admitted.

Viewers watched as Dec got teary talking about the possibility of losing his best-friend:

“There was a point where I thought that was it. There were times I wasn’t sure it was going to survive, times that you didn’t know whether it needed to survive or wanted to survive.”

“For the first time in 30 years I had to think about what I was going to do next, the thought of that filled me wth absolute fear.”

The emotional discussion had both the boys reveal the raw truth about the “emotional” process.

“I became really sad and really sympathetic towards him, he must have been so unhappy and that’s where ultimately the care and compassion you have for that person overrides all the other emotions, more than anything,” Dec confessed.

“I just wanted him to be happy.”

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Ant said his partner had been “fantastic” and “supportive” in his recovery: “Dec’s been fantastic, he’s been a very kind man who has been supportive of me, our friendship has been contested but we have come through the other end.

“I thought the public had had enough, I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to do what I loved anymore, but coming back and just been on screen the affection and support people have shown, I’ve been quite emotional and I can’t thank them enough,” he smiled.

He added: “Doing this show has made us look at each other in a different way, he means the world to me.”

Not a dry eye in the house, viewers took to Twitter to praise Ant’s growth and Dec’s “strength”, with one saying:

“Addressing Ant’s addiction and rehab has been beautifully handled on #DNAjourney Starting off with some jokes and then with a proper honest discussion must have been hard but bravo @antanddec You could see Ant wasn’t well and looks so much healthier now.”


  • Ant McPartlin close to tears after emotional family discovery 

Another commented: “I’m sobbing… they’re talking about what happened to ant and how it affected their friendship. i’m so glad they came out of the other side. i love them so much and i couldn’t imagine a life without them both working together and just being friends. #DNAjourney”

A third applauded them: “The two biggest presenters in the UK are sitting on national TV talking openly and honestly about mental health, and it’s unbelievably powerful. Thank you @antanddec, it’s another step towards breaking down the stigma! #DNAJourney.”

The boys said they’re “much strong together now” but their “priorities have changed” as their friendship “comes first”.

Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey continues tonight at 9pm and is available to catchup on the ITV hub.

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