How do we feel about Ant McPartlin, the taller half of Ant ‘n’ Dec? The papers want us to sympathise with Ant, who’s filed for divorce from Lisa Armstrong after 11 years of marriage. The Mirror and Express lead with poor Ant: “Ant’s agony” (Express) and the “agony of Any” (Mirror).
The Mirror says the “star looked exhausted and had a bandaged hand during a walk in London.” These are “tough times” for Ant. An unflattering photo of Lisa, shown on the Mirror’s front page and on its page 5, shows her looking less than cock-a-hoop. Over two pages, we read Ant’s message in the Mirror. He has “admitted he is to blame for the break-up”. He “showed the strain of the split and his battle with pill and booze addiction” as he walked wth his mother. A “source” tells us, “the best thing is now that they both move on”.
Beneath that a lawyer opines that because “no one else is involved at present” the assets can be split equally between Lisa and Ant. No-one else involved “at present”? Might that change, then? And those assets are big.
The Star calculates the couple’s pot to be worth £62m. And everything is couched from Ant’s viewpoint. We read that Lisa “stands to gain half of his £62m fortune”. Gain? Doesn’t she, like him, stand to lose control of £62m for half that amount? On page 5, we read that Lisa, who’s been with Ant for 23 years, “could pocket” and “rake in” a fortune. The Sun says Ant must “pay wife £31m“. Pay? Surely split the assets. He is “prepared to part with half his fortune“. Well, yes. That’s marriage mate. The assets are shared. What’s mine is yours. An unnamed “source” arrives to tell us what a good bloke Ant is. “It’s a huge amount,” says Messrs Anon and Anon, ” but he wants Lisa to be financially and emotionally supported.”
One page 4, the Sun tells its readers: “Star just wants Lisa to be happy.” “A source” says, he is “happy to give Lisa 50 per cent in the divorce if that is what is agreed by their lawyers.” Give? And noble of Ant to adhere to what the pricey lawyers hammer out and the law decides. “He wants to divorce for health reasons,” says the source.
And then the mood changes. Over pages 22-23, the Mail asks: “Why DID Ant abandon the wife who stood by him in his darkest hour – and still adore him?” Bravo, eh? You either take the PR’s word and wrap your story about it, or you form a position your readers will relish. And how does the Mail end its take on a divorce?”Everyone feels for Lisa,” says a “friend”.