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Simon Cowell speaks out on Ant McPartlin: 'We always stand by our friends'

Simon has spoken out for the first time…

Fiona Ward

Simon Cowell has given his first interview on Britain's Got Talent since Ant McPartlin returned to rehab, publicly sending his support to the much-loved television presenter. Speaking to The Sun, he said he believes Ant will come back stronger after taking time away - and that he will stand by his friend. "We’ve known each other a long time, and you stand by the people you work with over the years, for the obvious reasons," he said. "We always stand by our friends. We’re all human." It was recently announced that Declan Donnelly will host the live shows alone, after ITV saw success with his solo Saturday Night Takeaway stint. 

Simon and Ant have worked together for many years

Simon went on to say: "The most important thing is he’s manned up, he’s going to get himself back together. And the show goes on, it’s as simple as that." For Saturday night's show, the duo will be back together presenting on-screen in the show's pre-recorded auditions. 

READ MORE: Dec says he misses Ant in Saturday Night Takeaway show 'tinged with sadness'

When asked whether Ant would be welcomed back on his return, there was no doubt from the music mogul. "Of course. This is what happens. This is happening to people all over the world. People, for whatever reason, they get into a rut and at times like this you stand by your mates. It’s always been that way."

The Britain's Got Talent cast

Ant returned to rehab in March following a drink-driving incident - and in the days following, Dec announced he would continue to present Saturday Night Takeaway alone, in order to fulfil their promises to the show's loyal fans. "Dec apparently did a great job, that was hard for him," said Simon of the decision - though he didn't watch the final two episodes. 

READ MORE: Declan Donnelly heads on babymoon with wife Ali after Saturday Night Takeaway finale

"I’ve always realised with these guys that if and when something like this was going to happen, as Dec proved the other day, he’d deal with it. You know what, Ant a million per cent would be supportive of this. It shows Dec’s professionalism and what he feels about the show."

WATCH BELOW: Ant and Dec prank Amanda Holden

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