Ant McPartlin and his wife of 11 years are to divorce, the ITV superstar has revealed.
The 23-year relationship with Strictly Come Dancing make-up boss Lisa Armstrong has been under severe strain since the I’m A Celebrity presenter entered rehab for drug addiction last summer.
In a statement released to The Sun on Sunday, Ant’s spokesman said: “In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after 11 years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin.
“Ant asks for privacy at this difficult time, for both himself, Lisa and their immediate families. No further statement will be made.”
Ant, who also hosts Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent, is estimated to be worth £62 million.
Lisa is already believed to have already hired lawyers Harbottle and Lewis to represent her in the divorce.
We can reveal it was Ant’s decision to end the marriage following a series of emotional face to face meetings with Lisa.
A source close to Ant said: “This was a tough decision for Ant but he has to do the right thing for his health.
“It hasn't happened overnight. They’ve been having problems for ages.
“The marriage has effectively been struggling for eight months. He’s given it a good go
“They’ve met up and spoken about it a number of times and this is the decision he has made.
"They are getting divorced. He is obviously really upset about it.”
However, sources close to the couple insist Ant wants what’s best for Lisa.
The source said: “Ant’s big concern in the whole thing is Lisa and making it as easy as possible for her.
“He will obviously look after her in the settlement. There is no doubt about that.
“He wants it to be amicable and friendly.
“Ant and Lisa have been together for over 20 years and married for 11. They’re best friends. She’s always stood by him and been supportive.
“The fact they’re divorcing is no reflection on her.”
Ant, 42, has overhauled his life since last June when we revealed he had checked into rehab after confessing to problems with substance abuse, prescription drugs and booze.
He exited rehab in August but never reunited with Lisa, 41, instead deciding to move into a £1.6 million rented house
It was just a few streets away from their £6 million marital mansion in West London, so he could still be close to his beloved dog Hurley.
The decision is a deeply painful one for the couple, who have been a fixture on the entertainment scene for over two decades.
In an exclusive interview after leaving rehab, the Geordie – one half of TV’s most popular double act with best friend Declan Donnelly – admitted his issues with addiction and depression had put their marriage under strain.
When asked if their relationship could survive the trauma, he said: “All I can say at the moment is that she’s been amazing. This kind of stuff puts strains on any marriage.
“But we’re good. She’s been fantastic throughout rehab. Very supportive.
“And time will tell. It’s very personal isn’t it.”
However, Lisa made it clear she hoped to resolve the marriage issues when she shared a fan-made video on Twitter featuring her and Ant's best bits, ranging from their first meeting through to their 2006 wedding day.
In November she also went public to deny suggestions the couple were estranged, despite not being seen in public together since Ant got clean.
She wrote on Twitter: “I’m not estranged, thank you.”
And just month when a Twitter troll accused Lisa of “throwing your marriage away”, she hit back, writing: “Educate yourself first love and get your facts rights. You don’t know!”