Dec Donnelly has confessed that he considered splitting from his TV partner Ant McPartlin following the latter’s drink-driving controversy.
Last year, Ant was convicted of drink-driving and fined £86,000 over his involvement in a London road collision.
He withdrew from all television commitments and returned to rehab, leaving Dec alone for the first time ever.
Now Dec has revealed that the “indefensible” incident could have been the end of the much-loved double act.
In an extensive interview with The Guardian, Dec told how he briefly considered splitting from Ant professionally - before realising he’s “happiest” when they’re “working together”.
“I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Of course I thought about it,” he explained.
“Ant went away, and he had a lot of work to do on himself. He had a lot of thinking to do. Equally, I did. I thought about every eventuality and every permutation.
“Ultimately, the number one thing I wanted to happen was that Ant came back and he was healthy and happy, and we got our relationship back on track and we carried on.”
Ant, meanwhile, felt the turmoil would “certainly” end his career. He said: “I’ve got great belief in Dec’s talent, so I knew that he would be OK.”
The 43-year-old admitted that the public may not have shown mercy to other figures in his position.
“It’s a testament to us having been around so long and people having grown up with us that they’ve allowed us – well, allowed me – to come back,” he mused.
“I don’t think they would have been as forgiving to a lot of other people.”
Dec also reiterated that, while he enjoyed working with Holly Willoughby on the latest series of I’m A Celebrity, it was a “one-night stand” and Ant will be back this year.
ITV’s chief executive claimed this week that Holly’s ratings-winning stint on the jungle show proves that the broadcaster isn’t “dependent” on the duo.
Ant returned to work in January, filming auditions for Britain’s Got Talent. He will make his TV comeback next weekend when the new series finally hits our screens.
Ant and Dec’s first in-depth interview since their reunion can be read in full on The Guardian’s website.