ITV I'm a Celebrity: Inside Ant and Dec's 30-year friendship from rocky start to being neighbours for years

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have established themselves as one of the most iconic TV duos to grace our screens.

The pair have come a long way since their days as teenagers on the show Byker Grove, to now presenting some of Britain’s biggest shows.

From I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here to Britain’s Got Talent, the hosts are kept busy with a constant stream of top presenting gigs.

While they may be known as best of friends now, at the beginning the pair reportedly got off to a rocky start.

Ant and Dec first met when they were just 13 years old, and they both starred in the CBBC show Byker Grove.

ITV I'm a Celebrity: Inside Ant and Dec's 30-year friendship from rocky start to being neighbours for years
© Mirrorpix Ant and Dec first met on the set of Byker Grove

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross show in 2006, Dec said: “We didn’t particularly like each other at first, I thought he was miserable.”

“We’ve rowed a few times – we’re quite competitive,” Ant added.

Their characters, PJ and Duncan, were mates in the show and Ant and Dec eventually became good friends in real life.

After their stint on the show, the duo teamed up to tackle the music industry, and created the iconic hit Let’s Get Ready To Rumble.

Ant and Dec eventually left the music behind and tried their hand at TV presenting on the CiTV Saturday morning show Gimme in 1994.

A few years later they would star alongside Cat Deeley on SM:TV, which was the most popular kids’ show in ITV’s history.

ITV I'm a Celebrity: Inside Ant and Dec's 30-year friendship from rocky start to being neighbours for years
© Peter Jordan/PA Wire Anthony McPartlin, Cat Deeley and Declan Donnelly

Over the following years the stream of hit ITV shows would continue with Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and Britain’s Got Talent.

The pair have remained close over the years, even living next door to each other in West London for a while.

In 2017, Ant and Dec’s union faced its greatest test when Ant checked himself into rehab over his addiction to prescription drugs.

The following year, Ant checked into rehab a second time after he was involved in a drink-driving car crash.

ITV I'm a Celebrity: Inside Ant and Dec's 30-year friendship from rocky start to being neighbours for years
© ITV Ant and Dec had their own Saturday night show

During this time, Dec was forced to front several television shows without his partner, including Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity.

In 2019, Ant made a return to television and the comedy duo’s friendship appears to have gone from strength to strength ever since.

In a joint interview with The Times Magazine, the pair discussed how neither had wanted to try to go their separate ways.

Speaking about how some TV partnerships don’t last, Ant said: “A lot of double acts only last for a certain amount of time and are very short-lived.”

Dec added: “I think the difference is ours is a professional relationship built on a friendship, not a friendship built on a professional relationship. It’s friendship first and foremost. That’s a solid foundation.”

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