Ant McPartlin reveals he mended estranged relationship with his dad Ray after filming Ant & Dec's DNA Journey

ANT McPartlin has revealed that mending his relationship with estranged dad Ray was solely thanks to filming Ant & Dec's DNA Journey.

The 44-year-old star didn't speak to his father for almost a decade, and has now opened up about how they reconnected in his and Dec's new autobiography Once Upon A Tyne.

The TV favourite explained that having their family history to speak about gave them something in common, and their relationship has gone from "strength to strength" ever since.

He writes: "One of the biggest things the show did for me was that it gave me the chance to reconnect with my dad.

"In 2017, we hadn't seen or spoken to each other for ten years and my relationship with him didn't really exist, but once I started finding stuff out about the paternal side of my family, it felt like the right time to contact him."

Ant continues: "When a parent leaves and you have a distant, or sometimes non-existent relationship, it means that when you do see them, you can struggle to find common ground, but now I had a whole family history to tell him about, like my great-grandfather, the war hero.

"Me and my dad's relationship blossomed from there and it's gone from strength to strength ever since. Without the show, that might never have happened."

Ant opened up about his dad during Ant & Dec's DNA Journey, revealing that he'd left the family when Ant was just 10 years old – and ever since he'd only seen him "sporadically".

He said at the time: "I haven't seen him for a long while now. We didn't speak for quite a while… but last year we started texting each other and I spoke to him on the phone for my birthday, which was lovely.

"To be fair, life is too short. There is no point holding grudges or anything like that. You get to that age… I turned 40 and I just thought let's stop messing about, let's get in touch because you never know what's going to happen."

Ant even made light of his absent father during filming, jokingly asking his sisters "when's dad coming?" as they gathered at his mother's house in Newcastle for a scene.

Ant and Dec's new book is full of shocking revelations, with it also being revealed that the long-term showbiz partners and best friends almost split up at the height of Ant's addiction battle.

Dec wrote: "Since 1990 we’ve made every decision together for the sake of Ant and Dec. Every discussion we’ve ever had has been ‘what are we going to do? What’s best for us?’

"And now suddenly, we had to think about ourselves as individuals. ‘What do I want to do? What’s best for me?’. That felt like an alien mindset to adopt and it was very frightening."

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