“I saw Dec the day after the crash and we didn’t even speak work,” he told the Sun. “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 p****d and making a fool of yourself at the office Christmas party — this is drink driving.”
According to McPartlin, the pair quickly agreed that he would need to step back from their weekend show Saturday Night Takeaway for the rest of the series, while also leaving Donnelly to shoulder the burden of the Britain’s Got Talent live shows.
“It was absolutely the correct decision for Dec to carry on with Takeaway,” McPartlin said. “If it had been the other way, I would have done the same.
“I said to Dec, ‘I just need to take time out and re-evaluate and get better and deal with things going on in my life. It will take as long as it takes.’
“I’m very lucky that I’ve got an understanding business partner and best friend who said, ‘Absolutely, your head is more important than anything.’ I had to lock myself away.”
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly arrive at The Royal Palladium for Britain’s Got Talent auditions on 18th January 2019 (Getty)
Stepping back from the latest series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! was apparently more challenging, and now McPartlin says he’s happy to be back filming for the new series of BGT.
“One of the most difficult decisions I made was to take time out and not do something I love,” he said.
“It’s very hard when you’re going through the most difficult time of your life. Being at work was a massive help to me — it was the constant. It was a love affair.”
McPartlin has also has revealed that following the car crash last year he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with alcohol disorders.
“I’ve got ADHD. I don’t mind talking about that,” he said.
“I never knew that until afterwards. I was so thoroughly examined and diagnosed, I found stuff out about me I hadn’t addressed for years.
“There are a lot of links to alcohol-dependency, which I studied a lot when I was away.”
Now, though,McPartlin is back at work, and he couldn’t be happier.
“I am absolutely gagging to get going,” he said.
“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.”
Britain’s Got Talent will return to ITV this spring