A new book reveals the Geordies’ relationship was on “autopilot” in the wake of his drink-drive conviction.
The pair are celebrating 30 years as TV’s most popular presenting duo, with hit shows including Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m A Celeb… under their belts.
After talking through their troubles with family and friends they decided to carry on because of their love for each other – and they say they now want to work together for another 30 years.
Ant, 44, went into rehab and cancelled a number of TV commitments after his conviction in April 2018.
He and his wife Lisa Armstrong split a couple of months earlier.
In Once Upon A Tyne, out on September 3 from Sphere, Dec writes: “There was a real chance we were never going to work together again.
“Not knowing if Ant and Dec would continue was very scary for us both.”
“It was something we really took time over. We both spoke to lots of people, friends and family, and we both individually came to the conclusion that we wanted to keep working together.
“A break helped us realise how much we love what we do, and ultimately how much we love each other.”
Ant added: “By the end of making DNA, our partnership was so much stronger than it had been at the beginning, because so much had happened to us both.
“I’d gone through rehab and a divorce and Dec had become a dad for the first time. These are seminal points in your life, huge moments that, especially in my case, could have gone either way.
“There were times in my recovery when I wasn’t sure I’d work again, or if I’d get to work with Dec, if we’d ever get to be Ant and Dec again."