Inside Ant and Dec’s three-decade friendship from rocky start to rise to fame

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have been gracing our television screens for decades and it is hard to imagine one without the other.

Over the years, the dynamic Geordie duo has accumulated a loyal fanbase after first being cast for CBBC's show Byker Grove in 1989 as PJ and Duncan.

The two always seemed inseparable but not many know they actually didn't get along at first.

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross show in 2006, Dec said: "We didn't particularly like each other at first, I thought he was miserable.”

"We've rowed a few times – we're quite competitive," Ant added.

However, their friendship soon blossomed after discovering their joint love for football, in particular Newcastle United.

They soon became best pals and even lived next door to each other.

Like any other friendship, theirs wasn't perfect and even included a rocky period when Ant was battling his demons.

Below we take a look at the ups and downs of one of the most iconic friendships in British history.

Rise to fame

After being booted off Byker Grove, Ant and Dec decided to tackle the music industry and recorded two albums under their character names of PJ and Duncan.

One of their most famous hits, Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble, was nominated for a BRIT Award.

The pair eventually decided to leave the music industry behind and turned their attention to presenting.

One of their first jobs in 1994 saw them co-host children's show Gimme 5 on CITV and just a year later they landed their own programme, The Ant & Dec Show, this time on CBBC.

The show won two BAFTAs in 1996.

Their presenting careers really took off after landing roles on game show Friends Like These in 1999.

Over the following years the stream of hit ITV shows would continue with Pop Idol, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Britain’s Got Talent.

Surprise family link

After decades of being best friends, the pair was shocked when they realised they were actually related.

During their documentary Ant & Dec's DNA Journey, which aired back in 2019, they found out they were distant cousins.

The presenters also share the same Viking warrior descendant through their fathers' bloodlines.

The lads were astounded, with Ant saying: "That's amazing! That's remarkable."

Ant's struggle with addiction

In 2017, Ant checked himself into rehab over his addiction to prescription drugs which started following a knee operation.

A year later, he was involved in a car crash in Richmond, London, and convicted of drink-driving. He was fined £86,000 – Britain's highest-ever penalty for drink-driving.

He took a break from presenting to focus on his recovery, leaving Dec to front several shows by himself.

Reflecting upon how this tested their friendship, Dec said in their documentary Ant & Dec's DNA Journey that he was "incredibly angry" initially that Ant didn't come to him for help.

"It's been a tough couple of years, it's really tested the bond we've shared since we were 13 years old," he told viewers.

"I was incredibly angry at the start, so angry and disappointed in him that he didn't ever come to me and say I'm struggling, I need you, because I thought if the shoe was on the other foot I would have gone to him, said I'm in trouble, and he never came to me and that hurt me a lot."

Ant also admitted during the show: "I knew he was angry and understandably so because my action not only affected home but him.

"There was a point where I thought, 'That was it', there were times I wasn't sure it was gonna survive, times that you didn't know it needed to survive, you wanted it to survive.

"Focusing on me and repairing relationships and being better person working out what was important."

Ant returned to TV in 2019 and their friendship continues to go from strength to strength.

The now 46-year-old even asked Dec to be his best man after he proposed to girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett.

Dec had already previously assumed this role at Ant's first wedding to Lisa Armstrong in 2006.

For more of the latest showbiz news from Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

Source: Read Full Article