I’m A Celeb: Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s heartbreaking wish for their friendship

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I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here might have been moved from sunny Australia to gloomy Wales, but hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are still on great form.

Today marks Ant's 45th birthday, and while he's used to celebrating by the beach Down Under, this year he'll spend the night presiding over yet another grizzly trial.

The only time he's celebrated his birthday away from the show since its launch in 2002 was two years ago when Holly Willoughby stood in for him.

Back then, Ant was in recovery after pleading guilty to causing a three car drink drive smash in March 2018 and entering rehab for a second time.

Ant McPartlin pleaded guilty to drink driving at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in 2018
(Image: GC Images)

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He had been treated as an in-patient for an addiction to prescription painkillers the year before, and after his conviction, Ant bowed out of work for the rest of the year while Dec soldiered on alone with Saturday Night Takeaway and I'm A Celebrity.

Dec was so distraught over the 'destabilising' events that he later revealed he'd needed counselling.

Furious at Ant but also gravely concerned about his welfare, Dec told the Guardian: "I wanted to punch him and hug him at the same time – and I didn’t know which one I wanted to do first.”

Since meeting on the set of BBC One children's show Byker Grove in 1989, the pair had been inextricably linked – personally and professionally.

After leaving Byker Grove, the duo rebranded as PJ & Duncan
(Image: Getty Images)

After Byker, they rebranded as rap duo PJ & Duncan before presenting SM:TV and getting their big break into prime time with I'm A Celebrity in 2002.

They lived just three doors apart in Chiswick, West London, and when they weren't working, they were hanging out.

But before Ant's illness, both admitted they had started to take their relationship 'for granted'. Preoccupied by a hectic work schedule, the pair said they had stopped talking about the big things.

After the crash though, all that changed.

The pair worked hard on their friendship
(Image: davidwalliams/Twitter)

While both admit they stopped to consider their future as a double act, their friendship and love for one and other only became stronger.

And for Dec, he had just wish for his life-long friend and their relationship.

"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. That’s the thing that makes me the happiest, working together," he told the Guardian.

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The feeling for Ant was mutual.

“I always wanted to be back with my friend," he added. "We love each other. So everything else goes out of the window. You want to laugh again. You want to enjoy your time together.”

Want all the latest gossip straight from the jungle? Head on over to Mirror Online's dedicated I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here's Facebook page here.

*I’m A Celebrity continues tonight at 9pm on ITV

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