DEC Donelly has revealed he feared Ant McPartlin would quit TV to go and be a "pig farmer in Wales" after his break from showbiz.
The Geordie duo, both 44, have worked together for 30 years but were forced apart when Ant had a stint in rehab in 2018 after he crashed his car while over the limit.
Talking on The One Show tonight, Dec said: "It was an incredibly difficult time and for me I just wanted to fulfil our obligations, I wanted to do the TV shows and keep them going and when the time was right I knew we would sit down together and decide what the future would hold for us both."
He joked: "I thought he might want to be a pig farmer in Wales."
Sharing his relief that Ant wanted to come back to work, he added: "But it was a really uncertain time, both of us individually went away and thought about what the future could hold, would hold and what we wanted it to hold.
"Ultimately at the end of it all we sat down together and were very honest with each other and we both realised that what made us happiest was being together and working together and that’s how we wanted to continue.”
Reflecting on his time away, Ant said: "When you take time out you have a chance to look at your life, look at what’s making you happy, look at what you can change and I was going through quite a lot at the time.
"It was the best decision to take time out of work because that wasn’t the most important thing.
"I just had to get myself right and I did and we spoke a lot as friends, forgetting the career, and we decided that the best thing to do would be to get happy, get well and come back when I was better and that’s what we did."
The TV favourite got a 20-month driving ban and took a step back from the spotlight so that he could work on his drink and drug addictions.
Last year, in an interview with The Sun, Ant revealed that his partner Dec was furious when he found out about his drink driving arrest.
Recalling their first words to each other the day after the crash, Ant, 43, said: “He’s angry, of course he’s angry.
“But it’s justified and I understood it."
Now the TV duo are back at work and undergoing rigorous testing to ensure they don't carry the deadly virus while filming Britain's Got Talent and I'm A Celebrity.
They appeared on This Morning yesterday as Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield's first guests following their summer break.
Explaining why they can break social distancing rules and safely sit next to each other, Ant said: "We're in a cohort.
"We're working on Britain's Got Talent and other things at the moment.
"So we get tested every four days."
I'm A Celebrity returns this autumn, with Ant and Dec filming live from Gwrych Castle every evening during the series.
The presenters have been flying out to Australia for the past 19 years, but coronavirus made it impossible to record in the usual location.
It means producers were forced to swap the jungle for a "haunted" castle in North Wales.
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