A source close to the family has told New Idea the showbiz legend’s wife is ‘in shock’ after her husband made a series of toe-curling jokes while on stage at the TV awards.
And in surprising new pictures, it appears the couple had a very public showdown, prompting questions about the state of their relationship.
‘Patti definitely seemed annoyed about something and we couldn’t believe when they launched into an argument. Patti really let Bert have it. People seemed pretty shocked,’ reveals a bystander.
Trying hard to keep a professional smile on her face, Patti then went outside to take a call.
‘Patti was venting on her phone, she seemed pretty fed-up to say the least. Afterwards they put on a show of being happy and walking around smiling – but you could feel the tension rolling off them. It’s clear things are obviously not good in the Newton household.’
It’s perhaps not surprising that Patti is reeling after Bert’s bizarre performance at the Logies, which included a homophobic slur, making light of #MeToo and insinuating Patti has a TAB account – among other insensitive insults.
‘To hear him make a joke of Don Lane and Graham Kennedy, “mentoring” people behind closed doors and throw about a homophobic slur left Patti completely gobsmacked,’ explains the family source.
‘She was horrified. It was completely in poor taste.
‘She feels like all their hard work building their reputations and profiles as the king and queen of Australian showbiz is now in jeopardy because of Bert’s carelessness. She has no doubt that he didn’t mean anything by it and that he’s far from homophobic – but this type of humour just isn’t acceptable, especially since Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement.’
Bert later apologised for the gaff, saying ‘If I did offend anyone, I apologise. But I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again’.
This latest drama comes amid what has already been another tough year for the embattled couple. As Bert fast approaches his 80th birthday, he’s experienced a run of bad health.
Despite the pressures of stardom, the pair have one of Australia’s most enduring celebrity marriages. They tied the knot in 1974 after meeting and appearing together on The Don Lane Show.
When Bert suffered a nervous breakdown and experienced deep depression, problem drinking and gambling, Patti was his constant, loyal supporter.
‘On a personal note, Patti was also hurt that Bert threw her under a bus by telling the world that she had a TAB account,’ says the source. ‘Bert’s gambling problems have been well documented for years. The last thing Patti wants is Australia thinking they’re both avid gamblers given Bert’s problems over the years – she can’t believe Bert could be so careless.’
Now the devastated grandmother is worried her husband will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
‘She’s worried their many years and hard work building their legacy has gone up in flames thanks to one speech, and it’s tearing her apart. She just hopes people move on and forget about it.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.
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