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Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield lead message of support for Ant McPartlin

Piers Morgan and Lorraine Kelly have also expressed their sympathies

by Gemma Strong

This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have sent a public message of support to their friend Ant McPartlin, following his decision to check into rehab. The presenting pair began Monday's episode of the show by touching upon Ant's recent statement. "We wanted to take this moment to send our love and best wishes to our mate Ant. As you may have seen he's checked into a rehab clinic for help with substance abuse, prescription drugs and alcohol," Phillip said.

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Ant McPartlin has checked into rehab for alcohol and substance abuse

Holly then spoke about Ant's decision to speak openly about his issues, describing the star as "brave". Agony Aunt Deidre agreed. "I think it's great that he's spoken out and it sets a great example for other people who we know will be out there and worrying about it, whether for themselves or on behalf of someone else," she said. "For him to step forward like that and say he has a problem. He says he feel guilty, I don't think he should. He was suffering with pain. I think it's wonderful he's made that step to get help." Holly replied, "I do too." Phillip then added: "This obviously is proof that whoever you are, whatever you do, these sort of things can affect you."

Ant, 41, announced on Sunday that was voluntarily seeking treatment in rehab after becoming dependant on prescription painkillers following a knee operation. "The first step is to admit to yourself you need help," he told the Sun. "I feel like I have let a lot of people down and for that I am truly sorry. I want to thank my wife, family and closest friends for helping me through this really difficult time."

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Ant pictured with his wife Lisa Armstrong

Since then, Piers Morgan and Lorraine Kelly have also spoken out in support of the TV star. "He's a great guy, one of the nicest people you'd meet and his wife Lisa does my make up on Life Stories," Piers said while hosting Good Morning Britain on Monday. "They're lovely people and obviously they're going through a very tough time, and I wish them both the very best." Lorraine, meanwhile, expressed her sympathies for Ant while also revealing her own experiences with the drug Tramadol. The Scottish presenter praised Ant for his decision to speak openly about his struggles, and said she had been prescribed the same medication following a horse riding accident in 2012.

STORY: ITV release statement after Ant McPartlin checks into rehab 

"I was on Tramadol and it really is seductive," she said. "…Your head is cotton wool. But it's horrible, because it's not real. I got it legitimately from a doctor, but it was not my decision to take it." She added: "He is such a private person, and so are both of them [Ant's wife Lisa]. You never see them at events unless they are picking up awards. If depression can happen to him, it can happen to anybody, and we have to respect that."

Following Ant's announcement, his wife Lisa wrote on Twitter: "Completely overwhelmed by all your love & support it means so much. I'm relieved he's receiving the help he needs, we just need him better." Dec, real name Declan Donnelly, also thanked the duo's fans on Twitter, posting: "Thank you for all the kind messages and well wishes for the big fella. He will be touched. Your support is, as ever, much appreciated, DD xx."

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