Ant McPartlin has revealed how a letter from Prince Harry showed he had the support of members of the Royal Family as he fought an addiction to painkillers and alcohol. The television presenter - one half of the wildly successful double act Ant and Dec - entered rehab in June after binges on alcohol and prescription pills left him in a state of "psychosis" that almost killed him.
Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, the 16-time National Television Award presenter of the year said Prince Harry sent him a note offering his support. "I woke up this morning to come here and was given an envelope. It was a handwritten from Harry sending all his best wishes on behalf of himself, William and Catherine and telling me well done for speaking out.
"Obviously he leads the Heads Together charity, so it's something he encourages. I wish I'd spoken out a lot earlier. But what a great time to get that letter. Brilliant. Thanks, Haz."
Elsewhere in the interview, the 41-year-old blamed an Irish dance routine for getting hooked on painkillers. He and Declan Donnelly started performing the routine three years ago when the pair toured Saturday Night Takeaway.
But despite playing football and golf, it was the jig that injured Ant's knee and started this descent towards addiction. He said the dance "did the damage. The meniscus had torn. I had to go in for a routine operation. I came out and was still in pain days, weeks, months later. They injected steroids but nothing helped it. That was the start of the prescribed painkillers."
The list of pills he took included tramadol, oxycontin, morphine, diazepam and codeine and he usually knocked them back with beers, wines and spirits. "I was at the point where anything — prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs — I would take. And take them with alcohol, which is ridiculous. The doctors told me, 'You could have killed yourself'," he said.
It came to a head when Ant begged his wife to call for an ambulance one morning at 5am after he experienced a bout of pain and hallucinations.
"She was upstairs because I was living in the living room because I couldn't get around. "I said, 'You're going to have to call me an ambulance. I'm in a bad way'. I was insane. It sends you crazy. It was to the point of hearing things, seeing things in the garden and still the pain was getting worse."
After two months of treatment, Ant is now clean of prescription drugs for the first time in three years and encouraging men experiencing depression to talk to someone. "You need to speak to someone about it because very quickly it gets out of control."