Battle with depression, drink and prescription drugs nearly killed me, reveals TV star Ant
Ant McPartlin has said he is “overwhelmed” by the support from fans after he revealed he nearly died as he battled depression, alcohol and substance abuse.
The TV star – one half of much-loved duo Ant and Dec – entered rehab in June after struggling with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.
Opening up for the first time since leaving rehab, he told The Sun on Sunday he was at the point where doctors said he could have killed himself.
McPartlin’s revelations triggered a flood of support online and he has now posted a message on Twitter saying: “Have to say I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s love, support and well wishes today.
“Thank you one and all. I’m sending all my love back. A xxx.”
In the interview, McPartlin explained how he had been hiding pills to avoid his addiction being detected before a conversation with wife Lisa and TV partner Declan Donnelly got him on the road to recovery.
“I was at the point where anything – prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs – I would take,” McPartlin said. “And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me: ‘You could have killed yourself’.”
Earlier this year the 41-year-old asked Lisa to call an ambulance in the early hours of the morning after bingeing on tramadol, morphine and alcohol while recovering from a second knee operation in June.
He told the newspaper: “It was five in the morning and I was screaming in pain so I rang Lisa. She was upstairs because I was living in the living room because I couldn’t get around.
“I said: ‘You’re going to have to call me an ambulance. I’m in a bad way’.”
He added: “I was insane. It sends you crazy. It was to the point of hearing things, seeing things in the garden and still the pain was getting worse. I was depressed through the whole thing because I was in pain and immobile.”
The Britain’s Got Talent presenter would visit different private doctors to get more tramadol prescribed, and recalled one occasion on Saturday Night Takeaway when he and Dec were performing with Take That.
“I knew there was a dance routine involved,” he said.
“I took a load of stuff that day just to get through the day. And I couldn’t feel anything on the night. But that did a lot of damage.
“From the old lady who lies about her Valium supply to someone like me who was necking tramadol to the point of psychosis, in the end it’s the same thing. It’s addiction.”
The issue came to a head earlier this year during Britain’s Got Talent when he delayed a second knee operation to continue working on the ITV show.
After undergoing surgery following the show’s finale, McPartlin said he was “just done”, adding: “It was horrendous.”
He said: “Dec came around and he kind of knew it was at the point where I needed help.”
The star – who is now clean for the first time since 2014 – said: “Once I admitted I was in a bad way, they then helped get a team together because obviously I wasn’t in a fit state to do it myself.
“We had an hour’s conversation then I packed my bag and I went. I’m lucky because I have the means to do that. But there are a lot of people who don’t. So I’m very grateful.”
McPartlin came to prominence in the children’s drama series Byker Grove and as one half of the pop music duo PJ & Duncan.
Since then McPartlin and Donnelly have had a successful career as television presenters, presenting I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! since 2002, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway since 2002, Britain’s Got Talent since 2007 and Text Santa since 2011.