The nation's favourite presenting duo Ant & Dec have revealed that they were close to splitting up in 2018 after Ant McPartlin's year-long break sparked by drink and marital problems.
The pair appeared on The One Show and when quizzed about whether they considered splitting up, Dec Donnelly replied: "Absolutely."
Ant added: "We both did."
Dec continued: "We were both very unsure about what tomorrow would bring. I didn't know if Ant was going to come back from his period away and go, 'You know what? I want to go and be a pig farmer in Wales'."
At the time, Ant's marriage to Lisa Armstrong was failing, he was charged with drink-driving and admitted to rehab for a second time and felt compelled to step away from the spotlight.
He said: "When you take time out you have a chance to look at your life, look at what's making you happy, look at what you can change. I was going through quite a lot at the time and it was the best decision to take time out from work because that wasn't the most important thing and I just had to get myself right, which I did."
Ant & Dec were in touch during his year out, when Dec took on solo presenting duties, or with various guests for shows such as I'm a Celebrity.... Get Me Out of Here!
Ant said: "We spoke a lot as friends, forgetting the career, and we decided that the best thing to would be to just get happy, get well and come back when I was better and that's what we did."
Dec continued: "It was an incredibly difficult time and for me, I just wanted to fulfil our obligations, to do the TV shows and keep them going. And when the time was right we would sit down together and decide what the future was going to hold for us both."
He added that it was a "really uncertain time".
"Both of us went away and thought about the future could hold and would hold and what we wanted it to hold and ultimately at the end of it we came and sat down together, out of the glare of everything, and were very honest with each other and we both realised that what made us happiest was being together and working together and that is how we wanted to go on."
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The turbulent period is covered in detail in their new biography Once Upon a Tyne, which is on sale in the UK from the 3rd September.
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