Geordie TV star Ant reveals how painkiller addiction 'nearly killed him'

Ant McPartlin.
Ant McPartlin.

Ant McPartlin has revealed how he nearly died after battling with depression, alcohol and substance abuse.

The TV star - one half of Ant and Dec - entered rehab in June after struggling with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

He explained how he had been hiding pills in different places to avoid his addiction being detected before a conversation with wife Lisa and TV partner Declan Donnelly got him on the road to recovery.

"I was at the point where anything - prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs - I would take," he told The Sun on Sunday newspaper in his first interview since leaving rehab.

"And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me, 'You could have killed yourself'. "

Earlier this year, the 41-year-old asked Lisa to call an ambulance in the early hours of the morning after bingeing on tramadol, morphine and alcohol while recovering from a second knee operation in June.

He told the newspaper: "It was five in the morning and I was screaming in pain so I rang Lisa.

"She was upstairs because I was living in the living room because I couldn't get around.

"I said, 'You're going to have to call me an ambulance. I'm in a bad way'.

He added: "I was insane. It sends you crazy. It was to the point of hearing things, seeing things in the garden and still the pain was getting worse."

"I was depressed through the whole thing because I was in pain and immobile."

Following two months of rehab, the Britain's Got Talent presenter is clean of all drugs other than paracetamol for the first time since 2014.

He would visit different private doctors to get more tramadol prescribed, and recalled one occasion on Saturday Night Takeaway when he and Dec were performing with Take That.

"I knew there was a dance routine involved. I took a load of stuff that day just to get through the day.

"And I couldn't feel anything on the night. But that did a lot of damage."

"From the old lady who lies about her Valium supply to someone like me who was necking tramadol to the point of psychosis, in the end it's the same thing. It's addiction."

The issue came to a head earlier this year during Britain's Got Talent when he delayed a second knee operation to continue working on the ITV show.

After undergoing surgery following the show's final, McPartlin said he was "just done", adding: "it was horrendous".

He added: "Dec came around and he kind of knew it was at the point where I needed help.

"Once I admitted I was in a bad way, they then helped get a team together because obviously I wasn't in a fit state to do it myself.

"We had an hour's conversation then I packed my bag and I went.

"I'm lucky because I have the means to do that. But there are a lot of people who don't. So I'm very grateful."