Lisa Armstrong has been dropped from Britain’s Got More Talent after 10 years of working on the show as a makeup artist – because it was “untenable” working with Ant McPartlin .
Ant is set to return to work when Britain’s Got Talent starts filming next month, having taken a year off in the wake of his booze and prescription drug addiction and a drink-driving car crash in March.
But Lisa has been axed from the show to ensure his return to TV “goes smoothly with no unnecessary distractions”, a BGT insider said.
The source added: “Although everyone is very fond of Lisa, it was clearly untenable for them to carry on working together.
"Ant and Dec are two of the most senior people on the show and sometimes these tough decisions have to be made.
"Put it this way, if Ant said he was fine working with his ex-wife, clearly we would reevaluate.
"But as things stand, that’s not going to happen.”
Friends of Lisa said that she had been expected to be dropped.
A pal added: “Lisa was officially told last week but knew it was coming for months. She’s a freelancer so doesn’t have the same protection as a full-time employee.
“Ant has made it no secret that he doesn’t want the awkwardness of bumping into her backstage at BGT when he returns.”
Ant has been keeping a low profile since announcing he wouldn’t be taking part in this year’s I’m A Celebrity, preferring to stay home with PA-turned-girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett to focus on his sobriety.
Instead, Holly Willoughby took up his place in the jungle alongside Declan Donnelly and received rave reviews for her charm and relatable persona.
“Ant needs to make sure his return to telly goes smoothly and producers are rallying around him to ensure it all goes to plan.
"While both Ant and Lisa are consumate professionals, at the end of the day, Ant is one of the stars of the show and the executives want to create an environment in which he can thrive.”
Another pal of Lisa on the show said: ““BGMT is a very close-knit family, so Lisa will be sadly missed when filming starts up again.”
In August, Ant and Dec announced they were postponing the next series of Saturday Night Takeaway for another year, to give Ant a chance to fully recover.
In a statement they said they didn’t want to “compromise the quality of the show” and so were planning to bring it back in 2020 “bigger and better than ever”.
Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong divorce
ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo said the channel was “completely supportive of Ant taking as much time as he needs” to get better.
Ant and Lisa – who tied the knot in 2006 – were granted a decree nisi last month at the Central Family Court in London, in a hearing that lasted under 30 seconds.
The 42-year-old confirmed in January that he and his wife were splitting following months of speculation about their relationship.
His romance with Anne-Marie was revealed a few months afterwards.
In a statement issued at the time, a representative said: “In response to the recent speculation in the media, Ant is very sad to announce that, after eleven years, he is ending his marriage to Lisa McPartlin.”
The couple met at a roadshow in Newcastle in the mid-1990s while Lisa was an aspiring pop star in Deuce. He has often spoken of their struggle to have children.
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