Ant and Dec: Declan Donnelly admits he thought partnership would not survive

Ant and Dec will be back in the jungle for I'm A Celebrity on Sunday November 17th (Credit: ITV)
Ant and Dec have worked together for almost 30 years (ITV)

Declan Donnelly has confessed he thought his partnership with best pal Ant McPartlin might not survive after Ant went to rehab following his conviction for drink-driving.

The presenting duo – who have been friends and worked together for almost 30 years – opened up about the events that almost drove them apart last year in new ITV family history documentary Ant And Dec’s DNA Journey.

Donnelly, 44, said: “It has been a tough couple of years and it has tested the bond we have shared since we were 13 years old. I was incredibly angry at the start, so angry. Disappointed that he didn't ever come to me and say, 'I am struggling, I need you,' because that is what I would do if the shoe was on the other foot. And he never came to me and that hurt me a lot.”

Read more: Ant McPartlin back for I'm A Celeb

He added: “There was a point where I thought that that was it. There were times where I wasn't sure it was going to survive. Times where you didn't know it needed to survive or you wanted it to survive.

Dec feared he'd lost his best pal Ant forever (ITV)
Dec feared he'd lost his best pal Ant forever (ITV)

"I didn't know what he wanted to do and for the first time in 30 years I had to think about what I was going to do and if I was going to go out on my own. The thought of that filled me with fear."

McPartlin, 43, pled guilty to drink-driving in April 2018 after he was found to be more than than twice the legal alcohol limit while driving his Mini in London in March 2018. He was suspended from work at ITV for several months and sought rehabilitation treatment, leaving Donnelly to host Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! without him.

PJ and Duncan perform live on stage live at the Newcastle Arena last night (THURSDAY) during the opening night of the  Smash Hits '96 tour. By Owen Humphreys/PA
Ant and Dec launched their double act as pop duo PJ & Duncan (PA)

McPartlin admitted: “Y'know the last few years have been quite emotional, hard, they have been testing I would say in terms of how strong your love is and how strong your friendship is.”

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McPartlin and Donnelly met when they in 1990 aged 13, while playing the characters PJ and Duncan in BBC children’s drama Byker Grove. They launched a pop career as PJ & Duncan, releasing the Top 10 single Let's Get Ready To Rhumble in 1994, and subsequently built their TV presenting career from kids TV.

McPartlin returned to TV screens earlier this year and will head back down under to rejoin Donnelly as co-host of I’m A Celebrity on Sunday 17 November.