Ant McPartlin ‘takes holiday’ as I’m A Celeb launches

He'll be gone for the duration of the series, apparently

It can’t be easy, watching your partner move on with someone else after 16 years – and it looks like Ant McPartlin’s made a sensible decision.

The TV presenter – who has hosted I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! with his best friend, Declan Donnelly since 2002 – has reportedly flown to a “secret location abroad” with his girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett to avoid seeing the start of the new series.

ant and dec instagram
These two will be working apart for the first time in nearly two decades (credit: antanddecofficial Instagram)

Ant, 43, – who is taking time off TV work following his drink-drive arrest and rehab visit – is said to be staying away for the duration of the show, which will be hosted this year by Dec and jungle newcomer Holly Willoughby.

An insider tells The Sun: “Ant wants to escape the spotlight and let Dec and Holly have their moment on TV. This is all going to be a little odd for everybody — Dec because he’s not with Ant, Holly because she’s stepping in, and Ant because he’s missing for the first time.

“It’s not easy but he and Anne-Marie have chosen to get away from it all and have some time alone together with a bit of peace and quiet.”

The source adds: “Ant will obviously miss it, but he hopes Holly does really well. They’re all friends and he’s certain she’ll be great – he’ll be rooting for them all.”

Entertainment Daily has reached out to Ant’s representatives for comment.

Read more: I’m A Celeb’s Malique Thompson-Dwyer’s heartbreaking Hollyoaks cancer storyline

It marks not just their first series apart since launch – but also the first time the presenting duo haven’t spent Ant’s birthday together in years.

View this post on Instagram

Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge x

A post shared by Ant & Dec (@antanddecofficial) on

Dec sent a message to his old friend, who turned 43 on Sunday, in the form of a hilarious picture of him and his sidekick dressed as characters from The Simpsons.

He captioned it: “Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge x.”

The 42-year-old also shared a pic with his new presenting pal, Holly Willoughby, joking that he was “Showing the new girl around camp!” He added that they weren’t “hanging around though, got some new camp mates ready to move in 😬.”

Camp mates this year include football boss Harry Redknapp, DIY SOS host Nick Knowles, ex-EastEnders star Rita Simons and entertainer and actor John Barrowman, who will all compete to be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

Read more: Huge storm hits I’m A Celebrity jungle

We’re sorry not to be seeing Ant tonight, but we can’t wait to see how Holly gets on. Enjoy your holiday, Ant!

Will you be watching I’m A Celeb without Ant? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.