How Ant McPartlin’s life has changed now he’s planning booze-free stag do – swapping drunken escapades for sober tattoos

THERE was a time when Ant McPartlin would’ve had the booziest stag do around – and he did.

Before he married his first wife, Lisa Armstrong, in 2006, his co-presenter Declan Donnelly planned a Monopoly-themed pub crawl around London, which led to Ant waking up in McDonald’s wearing a skimpy French maid outfit.

"You know when you've been drinking all day and you have that one moment of clarity, and I came to dressed as a French maid in McDonald's just off Regent's Street," he confessed in 2015.

Two weeks later they went on a boozy break to Riga, the capital city of Latvia, where they drank for 12 hours.

But, as the TV presenter – who has been sober since 2018 – prepares to marry his former PA Anne-Marie Corbett this summer, Ant’s stag is looking like a much more civilised affair.

In fact, the celebrations will be completely booze-free.

Dec is taking Ant and some of his closest pals, including Jonathan Wilkes, to a members-only golf club in the south of England.

A source told the Mirror: "Ant's life has moved on from his and Dec's wild nights out in the past – now he just wants to spend a day with his mates playing golf before treating them to a slap-up meal."

The do, due to be today, will see the lads working their way through the sprawling 18-hole course before returning to the exclusive clubhouse for a four-course meal prepared by an experienced head chef.

And, according to the publication, guests will dine on locally sourced seasonal delicacies in their own private area – although social distancing measures mean they won’t all be on the same table.

Ant, himself, previously told us: “My life’s changed dramatically. A divorce will always change your life because it’s such an upheaval. It’s such a change.”

And he certainly is a far cry from the man who, in 2017 after being discharged from rehab for prescription drugs, said he was going to continue drinking.

The first rehab stint

In 2017, after decades of a squeaky-clean image as one half of Ant and Dec, Ant admitted he was addicted to painkillers.

The TV star revealed he’d been taking a cocktail of pills, including OxyContin, tramadol, morphine, temazepam and diazepam – and went to rehab to clean himself up.

But, when he came out, he confessed he was still drinking.

Justifying it to The Sun at the time, he told us: “The great thing is I spoke to a lot of the medical team and I’m not an alcoholic.

“I was just drinking too much to numb the pain. It was never crazy – I wouldn’t wake up in the morning and have a drink.

"But it was the mixing pills with alcohol that was deadly.”

Noting his annual trip to Australia to film I’m A Celebrity, he added: “I’ve taken a little break from booze. 

“I’ve done two months and I’ll do a little bit longer. But I’m looking forward to having a pint. 

“I can’t go to Australia and not have a cold one at the surf club with Dec. That’s something to look forward to, but I have to get well first.”

Ant’s wake-up call

The following year, just three months after returning from the I’m A Celebrity jungle, Ant ended up in a car crash, and was charged with drink-driving.

He’d been traveling back from walking his beloved labrador Hurley with his mum Christine in March 2018,  when he veered into the wrong lane coming round a sharp bend on Lower Richmond Road, south-west London.

He hit a Mini with a family inside, then crashed into a BMW.  

His mum Christine had no idea he’d been drinking and was twice over the limit.

Speaking on the steps of Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in April 2018 after being banned from driving for 20 months and fined £86,000, a shaken Ant said: “I just want to say I’m truly sorry. Higher standards are expected of me.

"I expect them of myself. I let myself down. I let a lot of people down, and for that I am truly sorry. 

“I’d like to apologise to everybody involved in the crash and I am just thankful that nobody was seriously hurt in this.”

He later conceded the fine was justified, saying: “I needed to be punished.” 

The crash resulted in another spell in rehab and a break from the spotlight. 

Ant and Dec almost broke up

Ant and Dec had been presenting TV together since 1999.

But Ant’s car crash led to him pulling out of all future TV commitments, leaving Dec to host the remaining two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway alone, for the first time ever, as well as the Britain’s Got Talent finals.

Meanwhile, Holly Willoughby stepped in to present I’m A Celebrity with Dec.

And it seemed as though it could be the end for Ant and Dec.

Dec even admitted that he thought about going solo.

“I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind,” he told The Guardian. “Of course I thought about it. 

“Ant went away, and he had a lot of work to do on himself. He had a lot of thinking to do. 

“Equally, I did. I thought about every eventuality and every permutation. Ultimately, the number one thing I wanted to happen was that Ant came back and he was healthy and happy, and we got our relationship back on track and we carried on. 

“That’s the thing that makes me the happiest, working together.”

And that’s exactly what happened, as Ant now insists the bond between the best friends has never been closer. 

He said: “Our relationship is stronger. He was just so supportive and brilliant.” 

In fact, the pair have said that Ant’s rehab stint actually brought them closer together- as it made them realise they’d been taking their friendship for granted before that.

Due to the fact they were living on the same road in Chiswick, west London, and working together, they hadn’t taken the time to actually enjoy themselves together.

“You get to a point where you’re with each other every day, and you don’t talk as much,” Ant told the Guardian.

But Ant’s time in rehab forced the pair to reconnect.

“For the first time in many years, all we talked about were deep things like how we felt and what the future held, and where we were, and all the chaos that has come along, especially for me,” Ant said. “We are blokes in our early 40s and things change.” 

Speaking to Dec, he continued, “You have a family. I’ve got divorced. 

“So things happen in life that change you as a person. And we talked about life.”

It's even just been revealed that the pair earned £41,000 a week last year – so it's a good thing they did stay together!

Getting sober

Ant had been with Lisa Armstrong for 23 years before announcing their split in January 2018.

At the time, Ant released a statement through his spokesperson which read: "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. 

“No further statement will be made." 

And he believes he started secretly drinking as a way of getting through the “stresses and strains” of the divorce.

He explained: “Life hit me hard. I was going through a lot of personal stuff that was very publicised. 

“The problem is you take something or you drink to escape from an underlying unhappiness.”

He is now sober, after following some of the philosophies of the Alcoholics Anonymous programme.

He even has an S for “sober” tattooed on his right wrist and the organisation’s symbol tattooed on his left wrist.

He previously explained: “It means a great deal to me. 

“The tattoo is based on the symbol but is not exactly the same.

“It’s more about beliefs and principles and where your mind is at in terms of love and being of good service to other people, moving forward positively. 

“It’s about how I am and how I will live my life in a good way.”

Ant’s rock

Soon after splitting from Lisa, Ant found love with his former PA, Anne-Marie.

And he cites her as the reason he’s managed to stay sober and turn his life around.

Ant previously told The Sun:  “Anne-Marie honestly is the fundamental reason for the great change in my life.

“She’s been my rock. She’s a beautiful soul. We’re very happy.

“I’m in the best place I’ve been in my life, to be honest with you. It’s great.”

In 2018, he added: “You can probably tell by my attitude — I’m stronger, I’m happier.

“This has been the year of the biggest change I’ve ever had. But it’s for the better. I feel great.”

He proposed to her on Christmas Eve 2020, so let’s hope Ant and Anne-Marie’s wedding marks a new beginning…

    Source: Read Full Article