Ant McPartlin’s boozy car crash was ‘wake-up call’ says pal as star leaves rehab

Ant McPartlin’s addiction to booze was getting so out of hand that his car crash acted like a wake-up call, a pal has claimed.

The 42-year-old Geordie star, who this month was convicted of drink-driving and fined a whopping£86,000 and banned from the roads for 20 months, has just left rehab after four weeks of intensive treatment.

His team immediately cancelled all his upcoming work commitments – including the final episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway and the Britain’s Got Talent live shows – to give Ant a chance to recover fully, after fears were raised he’d gone back to his gruelling schedule too quickly after last summer’s rehab stint.

And a pal close to him has revealed how Ant desperately tried to cling on to normality before his boozed-up crash, despite his all too serious problems – including the breakdown of his 11-year marriage to Lisa Armstrong.

"He now looks brighter," the source told the Sun.

"Prior to the crash he was slightly in denial about how serious his problems were, and felt he had things under control.

"But as soon as that happened, he realised he was still in a downward spiral."

The mate went on: "That was why he checked himself into rehab so quickly afterwards.

"He knew that he had to deal with his issues properly."

The shamed star – who earns £130,000 a week from his TV partnership with Declan Donnelly – booked himself into rehab days after the crash for "alcohol and emotional issues" relating to his marriage split, his legal team said in court.

He and Lisa had been going through a rocky patch after he came out of rehab last summer, and he’d moved out to a rented property down the road from their marital home before Christmas.

In January, Ant confirmed they’d split in a joint statement – although Lisa seemed less keen on parting for good.

Since then, she’s been critically hinting at the true cause of their break-up by ‘liking’ a series of tweets – including one that indicated cheating.

She’s continued to watch her soon-to-be ex on this year’s BGT, as he continues to appear in audition footage shot before his March 18 crash.

It’s already been confirmed by ITV that Ant won’t be co-presenting the live shows as usual, leaving Dec to go it alone.

But now that he’s out of rehab, many are wondering whether Ant could still stage a return to the screen in time for I’m A Celebrity in November.

Mirror Online has contacted reps for Ant and ITV for comment.

Meanwhile, the shamed star looked happy and bright as he played with beloved Labrador Hurley in a London park this week.

After leaving his private residential clinic on Thursday, Ant headed to the park with a blonde female friend – possibly his assistant – and grinned as he hoisted an enormous stick over his shoulder to chuck to Hurley.

Wearing his signature flat cap, a rainproof jacket and Hurley’s red lead slung around his neck, Ant looked much less gaunt than he’d appeared outside of court just three weeks ago.

"It was great to see him looking so well, and much more upbeat," a source told the Sun.

"In pictures taken after his accident Ant looked haunted. He hadn’t shaved and looked like he hadn’t slept much.

"But the Ant we saw this week could have been a different person. He looked healthier, brighter and had a big smile on his face."

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