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Code Reds: he’s having an affair

Ant and Lisa
Ant and Lisa

British TV star Ant McPartlin’s wife claimed his packed lunch box told her everything she needed to know. Shane Watson reveals the other “signs”.

One half of the popular Ant and Dec English comedy TV presenting duo, McPartlin is a familiar face to television viewers around the world for his role on Britain’s Got Talent.

Speaking about the break-up of her marriage, spurned wife Lisa Armstrong has identified the moment she knew he was having an affair, and who with (his PA, Anne-Marie Corbett): when she spotted pictures of him leaving the marital home with a packed lunch in a Tupperware container.

OMG. Of course! No man is going to make his own packed lunch, never mind one packed in an airtight, appropriately sized, Tupperware container.

And no normal, underpaid, overworked PA is going to volunteer to make her employer a packed lunch, unless said PA is a lot more personally involved than her contract stipulates.

It therefore follows that only a woman in a fever of early love, smitten with the caring warm fuzzies (and also a desire to demonstrate just how easy she will make his life forever, if he lets her), makes a packed lunch for an able-bodied man.

It won’t be much consolation to her but Lisa Armstrong has identified a Code Red, Affair In Progress, that many of us had not considered.

The packed lunch is now officially one of those bang-to-rights giveaways, like the unexplained dinner for two receipt, or the jewellery box in the coat pocket when there are no birthdays or anniversaries on the horizon, and it makes you want to remind yourself, urgently, what all the others are. Just in case.

Never mind lipstick on the collar, here are the harder to spot signs that he’s playing away.


1 He has started wearing a fancy ethnic but expensive scarf, and/or slimmer-fitting clothing.

Also a soft, possibly shawl-collared cardigan, when it has always been assumed that he was very much against that sort of manwear.

2 He’s developed a sudden interest in some young hip band who are “playing” Wilderness.

Also reading poetry, by women, or a book about a sailor who gets lost at sea and is guided to land by a seagull, whose spirit enters his, or the other way around, when hitherto his reading material has been pretty much exclusively Antony Beevor.

3 He’s become shirt-tucked-in man. Who is tucking him in? He’s not tucking himself in, that’s for sure. He just looks a lot more put together generally (suspicious since, you’re beginning to realise, he is getting dressed and undressed twice as frequently).

4. He is “catching up” on Big Little Lies, or similar, in the manner of someone who is expecting to be discussing its merits later.

5 He’s got a new haircut. Uh oh. For years he’s been going to the barber in town and getting a R100 clip. Now he’s got a serious haircut.

This is not necessarily a Code Red, but if it involves a fashionable fringey bit, and you find the receipt and it cost R300 ... it’s definitely in CR territory.

6 He’s dyeing it. Either he’s dyeing it or pathologically trimming the grey muff bits.


7 He’s going for a lot of drifty walks in not especially clement weather and wandering up to the top of the road, often after dark, where the phone reception is particularly good.

8 Treating his phone like it’s a Tamagotchi, whose survival relies on body heat, and only ever charging his phone next to the bed.

9 Having a lot of new words in his vocabulary, which are a) new, and how does that happen if not by the rub off principle, b) young person words. For example “chilled” and “problematic”, and whereas he used to say girls, now he always says women.

10 He has recently purchased some dark glasses. Not just any old dark glasses, but the Persol fold-up ones. And maybe he didn’t even buy them because TBH they don’t fit.

11 He’s on Instagram. Looking at pictures of peonies on tables overlooking lakes, and Flamenco dancers. He was watching a flamenco dancer during the England match on Monday.

12 He was very happy to watch the whole royal wedding and slightly misty-eyed throughout, and texting.

13 He now texts semi under the cover of a cushion.

14 He has taken up smoking again, which allows him to spend a lot of time outside the back door, where the phone reception is OK.

15 He is taking vitamins.

16 He has bought weights. Not only that (because he has bought weights before) but he is using them and in front of the mirror.

17 He is very much avoiding your beady best female friend now that you come to think of it (though n/a in Ant’s case.)

18 He now owns one of those very thin padded Patagonia jackets.

19 He has taken up Pilates or kick-boxing or something, which he may well have done, but it’s also two hours of being absolutely not available on the dog and bone (what he now calls it).

20 It turns out he is familiar with a route through a part of town that, to your certain knowledge, he has never been to, and he’s whipping down rat-runs without satnav, like a local.

21 He has dog biscuits in his pocket. Classic this. These days the ensnaring lady will often employ a charming poodle cross, or even better, a dog that looks like it’s crying out for some male leadership, like a lurcher, and that’s 25 per cent of the snaring job done.

22 He is greeted in the street by someone who, having greeted him, looks a bit panicked, and he doesn’t look that good either.

23 He has been murmuring for years about organising a uni reunion with his uni mates and now he’s done it and it’s in Hamburg, over four nights. No partners. (Not so) funny that.

24 The present he was due to buy for his sister’s 50th is unexpectedly amazing and engraved. Also out of the blue he has bought his mother a pistachio cashmere sweater, which she received with a raised eyebrow, because since when is he choosing pistachio cashmere, and his mother knows buttering up before the bombshell when she sees it.

25 He seems to know an awful lot about Love Island.

26 He has a weird new neck-centric dance move. Also he now dances with his eyes shut, and stays up late to listen to music while drinking rosé.

27 He has acquired a bracelet. It might be Help for Heroes or it might be here’s to us.

Can’t say we’re not prepared. – The Daily Telegraph

The text message:

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The mug shot of Hugh Grant’s goings on with another woman while he was dating Elizabeth Hurley were revealed when he was arrested for “lewd conduct”.

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