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Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly's emotional journeys to becoming dads

The BGT presenting duo Ant & Dec are both now fathers – read about their family lives

Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
May 17, 2024
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Ant McPartlin and his presenting sidekick Declan Donnelly have become British national treasures with their much-loved TV shows I'm a Celebrity, Britain's Got Talent and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

The duo made their names on the children's TV programme Biker Grove and have gone on to forge a successful double act career together as well as being close friends off screen – where there's Ant, there's Dec, and vice versa.

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly attends the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2023 in London, England. © Iona Wolff
Ant and Dec

Away from the limelight, the stars are both fathers, with Ant welcoming his first child in May, a son named Wilder, as well as being a stepfather to his wife, Anne-Marie Corbett's teenage daughters. Dec, meanwhile, shares two children, Isla, five, and Jack, one, with his wife Ali Astall.

WATCH: Declan Donnelly makes rare comment about his children

Read on to discover Ant and Dec's different journeys to fatherhood…

Ant McPartlin's first marriage to Lisa Armstrong

Before Ant met his current wife Anne-Marie Corbett, he was married to Lisa Armstrong for 11 years, a makeup artist on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong wedding© Getty
Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong wed in 2006

During his marriage to Lisa, Ant spoke about their desire to start a family but said it was difficult "when you get a bit older."

In a 2013 interview with Radio Times, he opened up about their fertility struggle, revealing, "There's a rumour that we do everything together and I'm holding off having kids till Dec finds himself Mrs Right. I love that idea, but I'm afraid it's not true. Lisa and I would love to have kids. We're trying."

However, in January 2018, fans were shocked when the couple split, with a representative announcing their separation.

"In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after eleven years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin," the statement read.

Ant's marriage to Anne-Marie Corbett

Ant met Anne-Marie through work as she was his former personal assistant, who worked for the same management company as Declan Donnelly's wife. Anne-Marie split from her husband shortly before Ant parted ways with Lisa Armstong.

ant mcpartlin wedding to anne marie © Getty
Ant Married Anne-Marie in August 2021

In January 2019, Ant told The Sun about finding love together: "We were going through turmoil. It was the last thing on either of our minds to get into a relationship. But there we were like 'This felt so good, why deny it.'"

The couple live in a stunning £6 million home in Wimbledon, southwest London, with Anne-Marie's two daughters Daisy and Poppy from a previous relationship and their new baby boy. Ant previously lived near to Dec in Chiswick during his first marriage.

Anthony McPartlin and Anne-Marie McPartlin attend the National Television Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena© Getty
Anne-Marie is also a mother to two daughters from a previous relationship

Ant welcomes his first child

Ant and Anne-Marie were over the moon to welcome their first child together, baby Wilder, in May this year.

They have kept their pregnancy private, with Anne-Marie debuting her baby bump following a trip to Dubai. Ant's stepfather told The Sun: "He's very happy, I think. I'm over the moon." 

View post on Instagram

Ant announced the happy news on his Instagram page, gushing: "Welcome to the family. Wilder Patrick McPartlin. Born, 14/05/24 at 8.54 am. Baby is beautiful, Mummy's a legend, Sisters are over the moon. Dad's a mess!" 

In the snap, followers got a glimpse of an oak tree tattoo on his shoulder which featured his stepdaughter's names. We're sure little Wilder will be an addition to the artwork soon.

Dec's marriage to Ali Astall

Popular presenter Dec revealed his dreams of becoming a father back in 2011, two years before he got together with his now-wife Ali.

Talking to The Sun, Dec said of his newly purchased London home: "I built the house to eventually have a family in. Two would be good. That's still my intention, but who knows when it'll be."

Declan Donnelly and Ali Astall attend the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards at The Royal Festival Hall on May 13, 2018 in London, England© Jeff Spicer
Declan Donnelly and his wife Ali Astall

Dec and Ali had been close friends for over a decade but had previously kept their friendship strictly professional. Dec has previously said: "When she was single and I was single we'd go out for dinner on Valentine's night together (as friends) because we didn't have partners."

The pair started dating Ali in 2013 and managed to keep their relationship secret before eventually going public. In 2014, Dec popped the question while they were working in Australia filming I'm A Celebrity. They wed a year later, on 1 August 2015, and of course, Ant was Dec's best man.

Dec and Ali on their wedding day© Alamy
Dec and Ali on their wedding day

Dec becomes a father

Then, in September 2018, Dec announced the birth of his and Ali’s first child.

Posting an adorable snap of his newborn daughter holding onto his finger on his shared Twitter page with Ant, he wrote: "Ali and I are thrilled to announce the arrival of our baby girl, Isla Elizabeth Anne, who was born just after 9 o’clock this morning. Mother and daughter both doing well, Dad is head over heels! D x."

View post on Instagram

In July 2022, Dec revealed he'd become a father for the second time, announcing: "Shortly before 10am yesterday, 23.7.2022, Ali and I welcomed the arrival of our son, Jack Anthony Alphonsus, a very welcome ray of light. He is wonderful and Isla is beyond excited to be a big sister! D x."

Speaking about becoming a father after welcoming his daughter Isla, Dec wrote in the TV duo's book, Once Upon a Tyne: "Becoming a dad has completely transformed me. 

"At first, like all expectant parents, I didn't truly understand how much it was going to change me. I just thought it was another little person coming to live in the house... 

"It opened up a whole other side to me, a side I didn't know existed. I felt a love that I didn't realise it was possible to feel. Everything I do, every day, is for my daughter now."

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