Ant McPartlin has credited his new girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett for helping him turn his life around after his arrest and conviction for drink-driving, as he gave his first interview on his tough year.
Speaking to The Sun, Ant admitted he had a dependency on alcohol in the lead up to him crashing his car while twice over the limit last March, but is now completely sober after completing a second stint in rehab.
Revealing Anne-Marie’s crucial role in his recovery, Ant said: “She 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.”
Anne-Marie had previously served as a PA to Ant and his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong, who the presenter split from in January 2018 after 11 years of marriage.
Their separation came after Ant’s first three-month stint in rehab to help him overcome an addiction to pain killers in 2017, which occurred after a botched operation on his knee.
However, Ant admitted he then became dependent on alcohol to “escape from an underlying unhappiness”, revealing he was struggling with depression when he crashed his car in Richmond, west London last year.
Describing the moment of the accident, Ant said he felt “shame, guilt, remorse, embarrassment” after the airbag in his Mini struck his face.
“The whole world came crashing in,” he said. “It was like an explosion of the worst possible moment in my life. And if you don’t listen to that, you’d be the biggest fool out there.”
He continued: “I was so traumatised after the crash, I was in a really bad way. I was still under medical care. With hindsight, I wasn’t in a good place for a while. I hadn’t properly been assessed. That came very quickly post-crash. I volunteered to go into a proper institution where I was technically assessed. I gained so much.”
Ant revealed he now “doesn’t drink at all”, adding: “I’ve been sober over nine months. I’ve got no intention of drinking. And I just feel good.”
The presenter, who reunited with his co-host Dec Donnelly as he returned to work on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ on Friday after 10 months out of the spotlight, also said the courts were right to fine him £86,000 and slap him with a 20-month ban over the drink-driving charge.
He added: “They threw the book at me. But you know it’s kind of deserved, I needed to be punished.
“I think I deserved to get arrested and fined because you shouldn’t do it.”