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Ant McPartlin’s national treasure status is ‘kick in the teeth’ for ex Lisa

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AMIDST all the joy surrounding the birth of Ant McPartlin’s newborn baby, it’s impossible not to spare a thought for one woman; his ex-wife, Lisa Armstrong.

How tough it must have been to see the couple’s past – and, tellingly, their beloved dog, Hurley – inked out of history following the announcement of baby Wilder on Instagram yesterday (Tuesday 14 May 2024).

Ant McPartlin shared a sweet snap with his son on Instagram yesterday

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Ant McPartlin shared a sweet snap with his son on Instagram yesterdayCredit: Instagram
Ant and Anne Marie Corbett became parents together for the first time

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Ant and Anne Marie Corbett became parents together for the first timeCredit: PA
Ant pictured with ex wife Lisa Armstrong and their dog Hurley

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Ant pictured with ex wife Lisa Armstrong and their dog HurleyCredit: Refer to Caption

Plastered across the Britain’s Got Talent‘s huge family tree tattoo – something until now he had kept, quite literally, under his sleeve – were five prominent names: Anne-Marie (his new wife, and Lisa’s former best friend), their jointly-raised teenage daughters, Daisy and Poppy, and the couple’s two pooches, Milo and Bumble.

Whilst you might not expect to see “Lisa” emblazoned on his left shoulder, the absence of Hurley, their 10-year-old chocolate Labrador, was a glaring admission.

After all, this was the dog who proved the ultimate sticking point in the erstwhile couple’s acrimonious divorce in 2018, and of whom Ant still has joint custody.

And, to add insult to injury, Ant and Lisa battled for years to have a baby of their own.

Read more on Ant McPartlin

“These past 48 hours must have been a real kick in the teeth for Lisa,” says a pal.

“This isn’t about the birth of a baby – which, of course, is wonderful news – it’s about it being played out across the country, and all the haunting memories of their latter, troubled years being dug-up again.

“For their beloved Hurley, who turns 11 next month, to be conspicuous by his absence in that tattoo, seems baffling.

“This isn’t a case of ‘poor Lisa’ though – she has moved on with her life, and, frankly, couldn’t give a toss about what her ex-husband does in his personal life.

These past 48 hours must have been a real kick in the teeth for Lisa

A source

“But having him plastered across the papers brings it all flooding back. Lisa has never spoken a word against Ant despite having every opportunity – interestingly, she never signed an NDA contrary to reports.

“Seeing him portrayed as a national treasure, when she knows the reality, at times, behind closed doors, must be galling.

Ant McPartlin and wife Anne Marie Corbett welcome first child together as he reveals newborn son’s adorable name

“Of course she’s thrilled for him that he has a longed-for child, she isn’t a monster, but on a human level, seeing it all being discussed by friends, family and the general public, would be tough for any woman.”

While Ant is now taking a de facto mini-sabbatical to spend time with his new family, life continues as normal for Lisa, 47.

A revered and hugely successful make-up artist – she is contracted to the BBC for Strictly Come Dancing – she continues to spoil her cherished Hurley, whom she regards as a son.

Intriguingly, whilst Instagram was flooded by messages of support from several of Ant’s celebrity pals, including Amanda Holden, Joel Domett, Alesha Dixon and Davina McCall and Holly Willoughby, the cast and crew of Strictly remained quiet yesterday.

Lisa pictured with ex husband Ant IN 2015

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Lisa pictured with ex husband Ant IN 2015Credit: PA:Press Association
Lisa pictured with their pooch Hurley

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Lisa pictured with their pooch Hurley

Perhaps they sent their best wishes privately.

Certainly both Lisa and Ant were overwhelmed with Whatsapp messages of support on Tuesday, albeit for very different reasons.

A source added: “Ant is one of the most liked and respected men in showbiz, and everyone is chuffed for him.

“He’s been bombarded with lovely messages, and gifts, but all he is really focused on now is spending time with baby Wilder.

“It’s impossible to please all the people, all of the time, and never in a million years would Ant want to cause Lisa any more pain.

“But they have both moved on, and his post was purely about celebrating the here and now. – and sharing the news with his loyal fans who have stuck with him through thick and thin.”

During his time with Lisa, Ant was open about their troubles to conceive; it was part of the reason they adopted Hurley back in 2013.

Speaking to the Radio Times that year, he said: “Lisa and I would love to have kids. We’re trying. It’s tougher than you think when you get a bit older.”

Today, Lisa and Ant share the care – and cost – of Hurley despite not being on the friendliest of terms – a situation thousands of divorced couples up and down the country can relate to.

Whilst Ant, who alongside his partner in crime Declan Donnelly, has won more NTA awards than any other star in British history, is a multi-millionaire, he did not give Lisa the reported £31million in their divorce, I’m told.

Lisa and I would love to have kids. We’re trying. It’s tougher than you think when you get a bit older.

Ant McPartlin

“Of course it was generous, but it was nowhere near half his fortune as people have suggested,” says a pal.

“Lisa loves her career, is bloody good at it, but she works hard. She also recently put the couple’s former £4mn marital home in West London on the market.

“She was forced to slash the asking price by £1mn after a fire broke out in it, and had previously been renting the property out for around £10,000 a month.

“Lisa is hugely pragmatic, and there was no reason to keep hold of the place – it held no sentimental value for her any more.”

Shortly before Ant’s post, Lisa, who loves a philosophical Instagram meme, shared a cryptic story about “silent battles”.

The enigmatic quote she shared reads: “Be proud of how you have been handling these past few months.

“The silent battles you’ve fought, the moments you’ve had to humble yourself, the times you’ve wiped your own tears. Celebrate your strength.”

Those close to Lisa insist it was nothing to do with Ant – “rarely anything she posts is, yet people are so quick to put two and two together and make five”, adds a pal.

But certainly since their separation after two decades together, fun-loving Lisa has maintained a dignified silence.

This in the wake of much provocation, it is fair to suggest.

After all, having stood by Ant, 48, as he battled booze and prescription drug problems – which included a stint in rehab – he left her shortly after for her best friend and PA, Anne Marie.

She must have seen Ant at his worst during these times – even Dec said in an interwith with The Guardian he wanted to “punch” his best pal at times.

She also stuck by him following a drink-drive conviction, which prompted him to get sober.

In the wake of their split, the couple’s former friends effectively had to choose between Team Ant and Team Lisa.

Dancing On Ice star Stephen Mulhern, one of Lisa’s best mates, and Piers Morgan are two of the rare beasts who managed to maintain friendships with both.

To be clear, Lisa is not bitter by how her ex’s life has progressed. She, too, has found happiness in her personal and professional life.

Indeed, she recently gave him a public show of support, ‘liking’ an Instagram post ahead of Ant and Dec‘s final Saturday Night Takeaway show, one which hailed the hugely likeable duo as “simply the best”.

Ant, who rarely gives interviews these days – preferring a quieter life away from the limelight – decided to announce the birth on social media though to avoid weeks of frenzied speculation about Anne-Marie’s due date.

Sharing an artsy black and white photo of him holding Wilder, he wrote: “Welcome to the family. Wilder Patrick McPartlin. Born, 14/05/24 at 8.54am. “Baby is beautiful, Mummy’s a legend, Sisters are over the moon. Dad’s a mess.”

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth with regards to this last clause.

Sober for six years, he exercises regularly and looks younger than his 48 years.

Adds a friend: “Ant and Amzie are in a magical place right now, in their own little loved-up bubble.

“He’s not even thinking about TV work at the moment, he’s just loving life – and it’s so great to see.”

Within 24 hours of the star’s post, Lisa had jetted off to Portugal for a minibreak.

Friends suggested she had always planned to go abroad, but was “glad to be escaping the media circus” around her yesterday.

Lisa and Ant were married between 2006 and 2018

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Lisa and Ant were married between 2006 and 2018Credit: PA:Press Association
Lisa shared this quote on her Instagram story

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Lisa shared this quote on her Instagram storyCredit: Instagram
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