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22 November 2023, 14:26
He is one half of the UK’s most popular presenting duo, Declan Donnely, or Dec as he is more widely known, is back on our screens with his 23rd season of I’m A Celebrity but have you ever wondered what made him so famous in the first palace? Let’s take a look back at his career history.
Declan Donnelly is one half of Ant and Dec and one of the highest paid TV presenters working in the UK. His partnership with Ant McPartlin has seen both of them go from kid’s TV actors to telly favourites over the last 30 years.
Their on-screen and off-screen friendship has won over the nation’s heart. Whether it’s their banter on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! or their unwavering support for each other (they were each other’s best men at their weddings) we have all loved seeing them on our screens ever since they played those cheeky kids PJ and Duncan in Byker Grove.
Dec also supported his friend when he was admitted to rehab for addiction and anxiety after he crashed into two cars. In a documentary called Ant And Dec’s DNA Journey Ant gave some insight about the depth and close bond they have: “Dec's been fantastic, he's a very kind man who's been supportive of me, and our friendship has been tested and it's come out through the other end and I'll be forever grateful for the love we have.”
Let’s take a closer look at what we know about Declan Donnelly.
Declan Donnelly was born on 25 September 1975, which makes him 48 years old and a Libra. Scales are the symbol of Libra so it’s not surprising that those born under this sign are concerned with bringing balance and justice to the world. They are also said to be extroverts who are known for their intelligence and powers of persuasion.
Anyone who’s watched them on TV will have noticed that Dec is slightly shorter than his presenting partner Ant. Dec is 1.68 m tall, or 5’6”.
Dec’s height has been the punchline to some good-natured jokes over the years. In the 2017 series of I’m A Celeb, Dec made fun of footballer Denis Wise calling him ‘the short man’ until Ant revealed both Dec and Dennis were the same height.
When Holly Willoughby filled in for Ant in 2018, she jokingly revealed that ‘short number’ is the crew’s nickname for Dec.
Declan Donnelly has been on our screens for years so it’s no surprise that he has amassed an impressive net worth or around £62 million. This included a presenting deal he signed with ITV in 2007, which was reportedly worth £40 million.
He and Ant are also known to invest in property with a portfolio they jointly own that’s rumoured to be worth £10 million.
Declan Donnelly married his long-time friend and agent Ali Astall in 2015 after two years of dating.
The pair had known each other and been working together since 2003 but it wasn’t until 2013 that they began dating. 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."
Dec proposed to Ali in 2014 when they were both in Australia for I’m A Celebrity - let’s hope it was over a romantic dinner with champagne and not a vomit fruit smoothie.
Ali and Dec got married in his hometown of Newcastle and his brother - Catholic priest Father Dermot Donnelly - conducted the ceremony.
The pair have two children together, a daughter and son called Isla and Jack.
Ant and Dec announce they are reviving Byker Grove
Declan Donnelly has been working in TV since he was 12 years old. He first found fame in the kid’s TV show Byker Grove where he played Duncan, who would become one half of the iconic duo PJ and Duncan when Ant McPartlin joined the show a year later.
Both Ant and Dec were involved in one of the show’s most famous storylines, when Ant was blinded in a paintball accident.
When the duo turned 18 they left the show and embarked on a music career as PJ & Duncan and released hits like ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble,’ which was nominated for a BRIT Award.
As a presenting duo, they moved to children’s TV with hosting gigs on BBC, Channel 4 and ITV. In 1995 they ditched their PJ and Duncan characters for good and started to work under their real names, Ant and Dec. Their children’s TV shows include: The Ant & Dec Show, and slots on SM:TV and CD:UK.
Ant and Dec soon moved for kid’s TV to the Saturday night slot where they took on presenting duties for Pop Idol before creating and presenting Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in 2002.
Ant and Dec have also been presenting I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! since 2002 and Britain’s Got Talent since 2007.
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