Lisa McPartlin joins the Divorce Club.
Ant McPartlin and Lisa McPartlin (née Armstrong) split after 11 years of marriage and 23 years together. This was announced not in a joint statement, as is the custom but from Ant’s spokesperson only. Does this mean that it was a one-sided decision? Further evidence of this was that, after his stint in rehab a few months earlier, he did not move back to the marital home but instead stayed with his mum and then moved into rented accommodation.
The couple met when they were both at a celebrity event. They were both pop stars at the time. Ant’s star has risen as a TV presenter with Declan Donnelly while Lisa’s group split and she trained as a make-up artist. She is now a successful woman in her own right and is head of hair and make-up at BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
So what went wrong? In 2013, Ant admitted that he and Lisa had been trying for 3 years to have children but that they had struggled to conceive. When a couple who have always wanted children realise that this might not happen, they must mourn the future they thought that they would have and reinvent themselves and their future. This is not an easy task!
Trying to reinvent yourselves as a couple is particularly hard if you spend long times apart. With Ant working away for weeks at a time on the other side of the world, for example, in Australia on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, he could escape his marriage and life and live totally apart. All the while, Lisa is in the marital home with lots of reminders of their joint life.
Both deny the involvement of any third person for their split, but was his friend and co-host Declan the extra person in their marriage? It has been said that Ant and Dec spend several nights a week together as well as those extended periods in the Australian Outback while they shoot I’m a Celebrity. It is not easy when the wife is relegated to second as the husband seems to prefer to confide and spend time with their bestie rather than you.
Bear in mind that Lisa was already relegated from being a pop star in her own right to Ant’s Missus. Although she is now a successful makeup artist, this will hardly get the adulation of thousands of adoring fans. She will have to maintain her confidence by remembering that her lack of fame does not mean she is worth any less, and, conversely, Ant has to also remember that fame does not make you more important in an intimate relationship such as marriage.
Finally, there was Ant’s addition to opioids (opium-based pain killers). This addiction began after Ant had a knee operation, and he was prescribed an opioid-based pain killer to help him manage the pain. The side effects of such a strong drug include sedation, constipation amongst others, and they are highly addictive. Many people who remain on opioids can become addicted and suffer from depression.
Ant’s depression was so bad that, at one point last year, he was rushed to hospital at 5am after bingeing on morphine, tramadol and alcohol. Ant acknowledged his wife’s support during this period, and it will have caused immense stress on Lisa and their relationship. It is hard to be a husband when you are addicted to drugs. It is hard to be a fun-loving wife when you are worried that your husband might put himself in danger.
Lisa may now be upset for all the years and sacrifice she has made in this marriage: the effort she spent supporting Ant with his career and his addiction, and maybe even giving up having children to stay with Ant.
However, Lisa should remember how talented she is. She grew up on a poor estate, made a success of herself in the pop industry. When this came to an end, she dusted herself off, retrained as a make-up artist and became a success in this field too.
Lisa, this is your chance to invest in yourself. You are a strong and talented woman who does not need to be second fiddle in any relationship. Now is your chance to re-adjust again and find happiness because being married to an addict is not it.
This article is only speculative.
The image is by Ben Salter (From Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.