Simon Cowell has opened up about what it was like to work on Britain's Got Talent during the aftermath of Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong's split, in his first interview since Ant returned to rehab following a drink-driving incident. Speaking to The Sun, he said: "It was a tiny bit awkward, the fact Lisa was there. I’ve known Lisa for years, spent time with her on my own and spoken to her, and let her know that obviously she’s still welcome." Ant and Lisa announced their split after 11 years of marriage in January 2018, though the pair continued to work together on the ITV talent show - with Lisa working as a makeup artist on set.
Simon and Ant have worked together for many years
"Our show of friendship is probably what you see in the first show," continued Simon - talking about the first episode of the new series, which will be aired on Saturday night. "Nobody was excluded, it wasn’t awkward." The interview comes after it was decided that Dec will present the Britain's Got Talent live shows alone while Ant recovers - after a successful stint presenting Saturday Night Takeaway solo.
Speaking about Ant's return to rehab, Simon made it clear he was standing 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."
Lisa and Ant announced their split in January 2018
Ant returned to rehab in March following a drink-driving incident - and in the days following, Dec announced he would continue their presenting duties alone, in order to fulfil promises to their 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.
"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."