Ant McPartlin’s court appearance is the latest in a series of personal troubles

Ant McPartlin’s appearance in the dock is the latest in a series of personal difficulties for the star.

The 42-year-old – who a court heard had an income of around £130,000 a week – was fined £86,000 for being twice the legal limit when he was involved in a collision in Richmond, west London in March.

McPartlin outside court in Wimbledon, London, after being fined £86,000 for drink driving (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He was also banned from driving for 20 months.

His barrister said the TV presenter had been seeking help for “alcohol and emotional issues” at the time of the crash and that the incident was down to “a brief relapse unbeknownst to his passenger”.

Speaking to reporters outside court on Monday, McPartlin said he was “ashamed and mortified”.

McPartlin speaking outside court, after admitting driving while more than twice the legal alcohol limit (Jonathan Brady/PA)

In January 2017, it appeared the year was off to the perfect start when he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to entertainment and broadcasting along with his presenting partner, Declan Donnelly.

But six months later, McPartlin said he was entering a rehabilitation centre following a battle with depression, alcohol and substance abuse.

He revealed he had been addicted to painkillers since a failed knee operation in 2015.

He later described how he had hidden pills in different places to avoid his addiction being detected and said that, after undergoing another unsuccessful operation in June 2017, he realised he needed help.

Ant and Dec with the award for Best Entertainment Programme for Saturday Night Takeaway at the National Television Awards 2017 (Ian West/PA)

“I was at the point where anything — prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs — I would take,” he told the Sun on Sunday newspaper, after spending two months in rehab.

“And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me ‘You could have killed yourself’.”

He said that, after undergoing surgery on his knee in June, he had asked his wife of 11 years Lisa Armstrong to call an ambulance in the early hours of the morning because he had binged on tramadol, morphine and alcohol.

McPartlin said it was a conversation with his wife and Donnelly that got him on the road to recovery.

McPartlin was made an OBE by the Prince of Wales during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The revelation about his personal struggles had cast doubt over whether he would be well enough to travel to Australia to host I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! last autumn.

However, McPartlin appeared for the first episode of the reality TV series in November along with Donnelly, and they jovially referred to his troubles on air.

Donnelly joked that he would be co-hosting the reality programme with Holly Willoughby and explained, to an incredulous-looking McPartlin, that it was in an old script because “nobody was sure if you would make it or not”.

McPartlin hugged his partner and said it was “good to be back”.

McPartlin at a Britain’s Got Talent photocall at the Opera House, Church Street, Blackpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

In January, following months of speculation, McPartlin confirmed that he and his wife were separating.

McPartlin, who married Armstrong in 2006, had often spoken of their struggle to have children.

Just three days after the split announcement, McPartlin was back at work on the new series of Britain’s Got Talent with Donnelly.

The following week, he made his first public appearance at the National Television Awards, where he picked up three prizes on the night, including the presenter award with Donnelly for the 17th consecutive year.

McPartlin said winning meant a lot following a “tough 12 months”, and thanked “best mate” Donnelly for helping him through it.

He then returned to work on the duo’s popular variety show Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in late February, celebrating their 100th episode the following week.

Following his arrest on suspicion of drink driving on March 18, he stepped down from presenting duties for the show and instead Donnelly fronted the final two programmes of the series on his own.

It has been confirmed Donnelly will also present the live episode’s of Britain’s Got Talent on his own.

McPartlin got his big break alongside Donnelly while playing the character of PJ on Byker Grove, a children’s TV show set in his hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The pair then went on to present a string of popular shows, including SMTV Live, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here and Britain’s Got Talent.

McPartlin and Donnelly, known as Ant and Dec, are among the country’s most popular TV personalities.

His £86,000 fine is thought to be the biggest ever handed out by a British court for drink driving.


 

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