ITV’s Ant and December’s Unlimited Victory: Ant McPartlin’s Battle with Pills and Alcohol and His Fight for Health

Ant McPartlin is back on our screens tonight as he continues his hugely successful comeback from addiction issues.

The presenter will appear on ITV1’s Ant & Dec’s Limitless Win gameshow at 8.30 p.m. alongside long-running television partner Dec Donnelly. There were fears about the future of Ant’s career in 2018, when a long-running drug problem culminated in a drink-driving conviction, but the star has been sober for more than three years now.

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Ant became addicted to drugs after injuring his knee in 2014 and had a failed operation the following year. He was believed to have sustained knee damage during a riverdance routine at the Saturday Night Takeaway Show.

The presenter was initially prescribed co-codamol and codeine, but when doctors discovered she had a hole in her knee bone, she was placed on the highly addictive opioid Tramadol.

Ant told The Sun: “I didn’t think it was a problem, but you just keep taking them. They’re very hard to come off. I was taking them more regularly, more regularly.”

The presenter became dependent on a mix of drugs to meet work commitments such as Britain’s Got Talent, postponing another surgery to repair her knee.

After the 2017 Britain’s Got Talent final, he had an operation but his addiction continued to grow. He was again prescribed tramadol for the pain and told Sun that he was “willy-nilly whenever he was taking them”.

Ant and December’s Unlimited Wins is Saturday Night on ITV

Ant said that he was drinking too much and was also taking sleeping pills. He agreed to go to rehab after the intervention of December and his then-wife Lisa Armstrong.

During his rehab stay he was prescribed OxyContin to help him come off Tramadol. Ant said I’ve experienced “terrible” withdrawal symptoms of burning, scratching, sleepless nights and sweating.

Shortly after being discharged from rehab in 2017, Ant told The Sun: “I’ve taken a little break from alcohol. I’ve done two months and I’ll do a little more. But I’m hoping to have a pint. “

Retreating from a walk with his dog along with his mother Christine in March 2018, Ant ran into the wrong lane after a turn around in south-west London. He collided with a Mini with a family before colliding with a BMW. That was over twice the alcohol limit. In Mini, a woman sprained her shoulder and got injured.

After admitting to driving under the influence of alcohol, Ant was banned from driving for 20 months and fined £86,000. He told reporters: “I’ve let a lot of people down, and I’m really sorry for that. I want to apologize to everyone involved in the accident and I’m just thankful that no one was seriously hurt.”

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The presenter had another spell in rehab. For the first time ever, December hosted two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway alone, as well as Britain’s Got Talent Live show, while Holly Willoughby helped introduce them to I’m A Celebrity!

Ant later spoke to The Sun about his alcohol addiction: “What you find in recovering is that if you are dependent on something, in my case a pain reliever, it transfers to something else. Maybe if you’re not careful… I haven’t taken as much board as I should once you face an addiction and overcome it.”

Speaking about his divorce, he said: “I was going through a lot of personal stuff, which was publicized a lot. The problem is you take or drink something to escape the underlying sadness.”

Ant McPartlin
Ant McPartlin at her wedding

After calming down, Ant got the Alcoholics Anonymous sign tattooed on his left wrist. He said: “It’s more about beliefs and principles and moving positively where your mind is in terms of love and good service to other people. It’s about how I am and how I live my life.” How do I live in a good way?

On his right wrist, he has got an S tattooed in reference to his restraint. He told The Sun in 2019 that his relationship with December was stronger than ever, adding: “He was just so supportive and brilliant.”

Ant returned to his TV partnership with December in early 2019, continuing to appear on Britain’s Got Talent, I’m a Celebrity and Saturday Night Takeaway. Last year I married Anne-Marie Corbett, formerly his personal assistant, at a church in Hampshire.

Limitless Win is Ant & December’s first new quiz show in a decade and offers unlimited cash prizes. Contestants can continue to add to the prize pot as they answer the questions correctly, but having more money available to win increases the risk of losing it all.

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