Bert Newton will be farewelled in a state funeral in Melbourne this week but there will reportedly be one very notable absence – his son Matthew.
Aussie TV legend Bert Newton and his wife Patti appeared to have it all – glittering careers, a beautiful family. But their troubled relationship with son Matthew would lead to years of heartache for the famous pair.
Now, Confidential has reported Matthew, 44, is “unlikely” to return to Australia from New York for his father’s state funeral, after Bert passed away on Saturday, aged 83.
It’s a relationship that wasn’t always easy.
Newton and wife Patti spoke of their heartbreak to A Current Affair in 2010 following
two alleged domestic violence incidents involving then fiance Rachael Taylor at a hotel in Rome.
Matthew Newton allegedly “punched Taylor in the face before being sedated by ambulance officers”. Taylor suffered a concussion and took out an apprehended violence order (AVO) against Newton.
Bert told of his pain after he picked his son up from the airport and took him to Wentworthville’s Northside West Clinic.
“We should have seen the signs … but we didn’t,” Newton told ACA, admitting his son’s life had become a “train wreck”.
“When it concerns your child you say ‘well, of course we love him and we support him’,” Newton said. “I think I made an error in saying that because I do love him and I do support him, but I don’t support or condone any of the things that have happened.”
Matthew Newton, who had impressed critics with roles in Looking for Alibrandi and Underbelly, had four years earlier faced court over charges he assaulted his previous girlfriend, Neighbours star Brooke Satchwell. He pleaded guilty to one count of common assault and was given a 12-month good behaviour bond but his conviction was later overturned on mental health grounds.
Bert Newton confirmed his son had long abused drugs and alcohol, although he said they were not the root of his problems.
“His biggest problem is the fact that it’s not a drug, it’s not an alcohol problem as much as it’s a mental health issue,” Patti said.
“He’s always had a bit of a problem with his temper, even as a kid, but I do think it’s accelerated. We don’t know how to handle it.”
“There was a bomb about to go off somewhere, sometime,” Patti said.
Matthew Newton’s problems didn’t end after his split from Taylor.
In 2011, he was charged with breaching the terms of the AVO Taylor had taken out on him. Then in December he was charged with assaulting a 66-year-old taxi driver twice in the Sydney suburb of Crows Nest, but was unable to attend court because he was not allowed to leave the US because he was also facing charges there.
Those charges related to two incidents in Miami, Florida.
He was charged with trespassing and resisting officers as well as battery after he attacked a hotel receptionist.
In November 2012 both matters were dismissed, conditional upon Newton completing 50 hours of community service, writing a letter of apology to the hotel clerk, Ariel Bory Vargas, paying $US11,500 restitution to Vargas and staying away from both him and Mr Moe’s, the bar where he was accused of trespass.
Newton stayed in the US, settling in New York where he met Catherine Schneiderman, 28, the daughter of New York’s former Attorney-General Eric Schneiderman.
The pair secretly married three years ago but none of the Newtons were reportedly at the wedding.
Newton managed to stay out of the headlines for years until 2018 when he was forced to step down as director of Jessica Chastain’s movie Ava, which he also wrote,when she was criticised for being an advocate for the Time’s Up movement while appointing a director with a history of domestic violences offences.
Matthew Newton said in a statement that he understood the backlash and was trying to be a better man.
“Over the past eight years I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness,” he said. “I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry.”
Despite working on his mental health and addiction issues, Newton reportedly refused to travel home to Australia to see his ailing father despite being urged to be his wife, Catherine.
“She understands there is bad blood between them and Matthew has deep trauma from the way they lived such public lives while he was struggling with his mental health,” a source told New Idea earlier this year. “But Cat can’t bear to see Matthew’s family missing him at such an important and distressing time. Her biggest fear is Matthew not burying the hatchet with Bert and living the rest of his life with unresolved grievances.”
It is unknown if the Newtons were on better terms with Matthew at the time of Bert’s death.