DECLAN Donnelly has revealed he almost quit showbiz aged 11 to become a priest.
The 44-year-old star had considered following the career path of his brother, Father Dermott Donnelly, who conducted Dec’s wedding to Ali Astall in 2015.
Dec has opened up on what used to be his plan B for the future in his first autobiography with co-presenter Ant McPartlin, titled Ooh! What a Lovely Pair.
He told how being turned down for the lead role in the kids’ show Geordie Racer when he was just a child made him want to ditch his ambitions to be an actor and instead train to become a man of the cloth.
In an extract of the book seen by The Mirror he wrote: “After that crushing rejection, I made a momentous decision: that was it – I was going to retire from acting. I was eleven.”
He continued: “Later on, when I was about fourteen, I did briefly consider following in his footsteps, and the footsteps of my Godfather, Father O’Connell, and becoming a priest.”
However Dec, who now has one-year-old daughter Isla with wife Ali, said he “knew right there” that a life of abstinence was no for him when he travelled home from school on a bus which was “full of lasses”.
The television presenter, producer and actor is best known for working with long-time friend Ant.
Geordie star Dec, who was born on September 25, 1975, presents everything from Britain’s Got Talent to I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and his net worth is estimated to be around £62million, with much of his earnings coming from his presenting roles.
Ant and Dec first met on the children’s television show, Byker Grove in 1990.
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The duo then went on to launch a pop career in 1994, known as PJ & Duncan – their characters on Byker Grove.
Their music career didn’t last too long – their record label decided not to renew their contract in 1997.
Having become real-life best friends, their on-screen chemistry proved a winner and they moved into comedy presenting.