ANT McPartlin has revealed how he has reunited with his dad Raymond after 32 years during his year off work for drink-driving.
The two have been estranged since 1985, but have now made amends after Ant reached out during his time away from the spotlight.
Speaking in a candid interview with Guardian’s Weekend magazine Ant, 43, revealed how they are now back in touch: “My dad and I didn’t speak for a long time, but we’re talking again now, which is great.”
When asked what his dad was like he said: “He’s good, he’s funny. I’m slowly getting to know him again.
“He’s a proud man, a worker, a plumber. I’m thrilled that I’m back in touch.”
Ray, 64, lives a very different life to his showbiz son.
He is living in a two-bedroom housing association flat in North Fenham, Tyneside, with his long-term partner Sheila Taylor.
He used to work as a publican while married to Ant’s mum Christine Woodhall before walking out in 1985.
As a youngster, Ant helped care for his two younger sisters Sahra and Emma at their council house as Christine held down three jobs to make ends meet.
Ant and his mum have remained close all his life, with Christine moving in to his rented west London pad when he split from Lisa Armstrong in January 2018.
Meanwhile, today’s interview with the Guardian also revealed how Dec wanted to “punch and hug” Ant when he heard he had been arrested for drink-driving.
The Geordie duo have worked together for almost 30 years but angry Dec said last year’s scandal almost caused them to split up.
Dec, 43, said: “It felt like a nightmare, that there’d been a mistake. ‘Of course he didn’t do that.’”
But the following day Ant told him it was all true. “We had a heart-to-heart. I said, ‘Look, forget everything – TV, the partnership – you’ve just got to go and get well.’ I think I said I’d give everything up if he could just be happy again.” His voice falters, before he pulls himself together.
Then he got angry. “How could he do that? I wanted to punch him and hug him at the same time – and I didn’t know which one I wanted to do first.”
The toll of the arrest and subsequent conviction took it’s toll on their friendship and their future career, and they have now admitted that they “considered splitting up”.
“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,” McPartlin told the magazine.
Ant had a stint in rehab last year after he crashed his car while over the limit.
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The TV favourite got a 20-month driving ban and took a step back from the spotlight so that he could work on his drink and drug addictions.
Earlier this year, fans were left stunned when Ant received the Best TV Presenter National Television Award alongside his usual co-host Declan Donnelly, despite his lengthy break from work.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Ant will be returning to host I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2019, despite Holly Willoughby’s record ratings as she stepped in to co-present alongside Declan Donelly last year.
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