Robbie Williams has admitted he was “shocked” to hear about Ant McPartlin’s troubles this year.
The 42-year-old voluntarily checked himself into rehab in June to treat an addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol issues, brought about following a painful knee operation in 2015.
In a new interview with The Sun, popstar Robbie – who has been open about his own past addictions – said he was stunned to hear about Ant’s secret struggle.
Robbie said he was “worried” about the I’m A Celebrity star, saying his first thought was “that doesn’t make any sense because it shocks my reality”.
The singer recalled his 30th birthday, when he wasn’t drinking but Ant & Dec were.
“I just remember then thinking: ‘those are the most normal people in the world, they’re not going to have any problems at all with their mental health or with drink or with addiction.’
“And here’s Ant 11 years later and I’m glad to welcome him into the fold, I’m not glad that he went through it, I’m not glad that he’s suffered or he’s suffering.”
The former Take That star revealed he’s “really proud” of Ant for coming through his addiction battle.
After successfully completing a stint in rehab, Ant flew to Los Angeles to continue his recovery away from the glare of the spotlight.
He returned to the public eye in November, when the 17th series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! kicked off.
And he even returned with a joke about rehab!
As the first episode began, Dec joked he thought he’d be co-hosting with Holly Willoughby, prompting faux outrage from Ant!
“Well nobody was sure if you would make it or not,” said Dec.
Ant then said there’s no way he would have missed it and grabbed Dec for a cuddle: “I’m back my friend, come on, let’s have a hug. It’s good to be back. He’s still a nice cuddle.”
Robbie, meanwhile, has spoken candidly about his own past addictions.
He entered rehab after leaving Take That in 1995, and then completed a three-week stint at an Arizona rehab in 2007 for a dependency on prescription drugs.
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These days, he’s clean, sober and happily married to wife Ayda Field, the mother of his daughter Teddy, five, and son Charlie, three.
Speaking on Loose Women last year, he said: “My life is way better because Ayda is in it. My life is richer now because of what I have been through.
“I still have those downs but right now I’m up here.”