Ant McPartlin has confirmed he has been sober for six months after a public battle with alcohol.
The TV star checked into a private rehab clinic earlier this year after pleading guilty to drink-driving, and he has taken an extended break from his television commitments while he focuses on his recovery.
He has now been praised by his friend Simon Hargreaves for his “strength and determination” in facing his problems.
In a message from Hargreaves shared by McPartlin on Ant and Dec’s official Twitter page, his friend wrote: “Long overdue catch up with my buddy of 20+ years for lunch this week. 6 months sober, annoyingly healthy looking, and happier than I’ve seen him in years.
“Immensely proud of this lad for his strength and determination to face up to his issues and get help.”
McPartlin added the message: “Thanks pal. Really appreciate it. Lovely seeing you too. It really was long overdue. #weloveagoodlunch,” signing off with his initial A.
The TV star’s battle with alcohol came to a head in March when he crashed his Mini while over twice the drink-drive limit and was banned from driving for 20 months and handed an £86,000 fine.
It was subsequently announced he would take a step back from his television work.
Holly Willoughby will fill in for him when the new series of I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! begins filming later this year.
Ant and Dec have presented the show together since it began in 2002.