21/01/2019 08:57 GMT

Ant Partlin Reveals Dec's Initial 'Anger' After His Drink-Driving Arrest

But he maintains their relationship is now "stronger" than ever.

Ant McPartlin has revealed his usual co-presenter Declan Donnelly was initially furious when he was arrested last year for driving while two times over the legal alcohol limit.

In April 2018, Ant was fined £86,000 and hit with a 20-month driving ban, after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

As he went back into recovery, Ant missed the final two episodes of ‘Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ and last year’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ live shows, leaving Dec to go it alone for the first time in their joint presenting career.

Neil Mockford via Getty Images
Ant McPartlin

Recalling their first conversation the day after the incident, Ant told The Sun: “We didn’t even speak work. It wasn’t about that. It was about, ‘How are you?’ I said: ‘I’m not right.’ You know, mentally I wasn’t in a good place.

“We’re friends first and foremost. And we’re friends from the age of 13. But of course there’s going to be tensions there.

“Because this is not just getting pissed and making a fool of yourself at the office Christmas party — this is drink driving. He’s angry, of course he’s angry. But it’s justified and I understood it.”

Ant added: “Underneath all of that is love and still is love. And that’s what we talked about more than anything.”

Neil Mockford via Getty Images

In fact, he went on to say his friendship with Dec was now “stronger” because of the last year, noting: “Look where we are now. Our life has gone through massive change.”

Last week, Ant went back to work after a 10-month absence from our screens, making an “emotional” return to the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ family at the first auditions filming of this year’s series.

He told The Sun: “I am absolutely gagging to get going. I’m a bit anxious, a bit nervous, but ultimately a feeling of excitement and happiness.

“It’s been a long time. I want to be back doing what we do. I’m lucky that I love my job. I just want to get back to that.”

Ant’s latest comments come after he credited new girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett with guiding him through his sobriety, describing her as a “beautiful soul” and his “rock”.