Simon told The Sun: “We’ve known each other a long time, and you stand by the people you work with over the years, for the obvious reasons.
“We always stand by our friends. We’re all human.
Simon adds that he’s pleased Ant has made the decision to step down from all work commitments and return to treatment after he was involved in a collision with two other cars while driving his Mini in Richmond, South West London in March.
“The most important thing is he’s manned up,” Simon says. “He’s going to get himself back together. And the show goes on, it’s as simple as that.”
Ant will feature in the initial pre-recorded audition episodes of the new series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, but it’s been confirmed that he will not return for the live shows, which Dec will host by himself.
However, Simon has insisted that the door remains open for Ant to return to the show at a later date.
He says: “Of course. This is what happens. This is happening to people all over the world. People, for whatever reason, they get into a rut and at times like this you stand by your mates. It’s always been that way.”
Simon goes on to admit that things were a “tiny bit awkward” during the filming of the new series, as Ant’s estranged wife, Lisa, was still working on the show as a make-up artist following her split from the presenter after 11 years of marriage.
“It was a tiny bit awkward, the fact Lisa was there,” Simon admits. “I’ve known Lisa for years, spent time with her on my own and spoken to her, and let her know that obviously she’s still welcome.”
Ant is due in court on Monday (16 April) to face charges of drink driving. If found guilty, the 42-year-old could face up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine.