They're a family who have weathered the toughest of personal storms, but now there's more thunder rumbling in the Newton clan. This time, Patti's at her wits' end, and it's all over her husband's gambling.
Sources say she's told embattled Bert that if he doesn't stop punting, she's kicking him out of their swanky Hawthorn home in the inner-eastern suburb of Melbourne.
For the first time, Woman's Day can reveal the true extent of the 80-year-old's betting habits, after an investigation into the showbiz legend spanning across several months.
Despite being plagued with health and mobility problems, Bert switches up visiting one of three of his local TABs regularly – with one clerk at a Kew outlet revealing he's "in here at least three times a week".
"I first met him 27 years ago when I was working in Hawthorn," said the employee, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
"He comes in here and bets only on the horses, not the dogs. He rushes in, and puts all of his flutters on with a staffer – he doesn't use the machines – and then he rushes out."
He's also been spotted at other Kew and Hawthorn outlets several times a week.
It's been reported that Patti gives Bert a $100-a-week gambling allowance, though bookies speculate he plunks down much more on the horses.
Now, Woman's Day understands Patti is becoming painfully aware that her husband's bad habit – which has plagued their 44-year marriage – is worse than she knew.
It's not the first time Bert's betting habits have hit the spotlight. In 1993, the couple were revealed to be $1 million in debt, with the cause of the issue said to be the entertainer's love of a bet.
"Patti loathes betting and sees it as a complete waste of money," one friend reveals exclusively.
"It's made even worse that they now have five grandchildren – it's not only setting a terrible example for the kids, but also dwindling their bank account when Patti would prefer to be using whatever they have spare to support the family."
According to our insider, mum-of-two Patti was unaware the veteran entertainer was such a regular patron of the local TABs because she's spent the past few months helping her heavily pregnant 38-year-old daughter Lauren and her husband Matt Welsh, 42, raise their four children – Sam, Eva, Lola and little Monty.
"Patti's really got her hands full. She spends every waking minute around at Lauren's house – she spends more time at the Welshes' place than she does at her own," says a source. "It's no wonder Bert's been able to settle back into his old habits."
It's the latest setback for the Newton family, following news Bert was diagnosed with painful shingles earlier this year.
And then there have been the consistent rumours their New York-based son Matthew - who has long battled his own demons – maintains only minimal contact with the family. Matthew, 41, was also rejected from a major Hollywood movie in July when filmmakers responded to uproar about his past domestic violence accusations.
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"Patti's sick of the rollercoaster. She's 73 and just wants to enjoy her retirement with her grandchildren. She's trying to slow down and doesn't need any extra stress or worries," says another friend.
"She's to the point where she's ready to throw her hands up and tell him it's their family or the TAB – and since she's meant to be in control of their finances, she's keeping the house.
"Bert needs to knock this on the head quick smart or he's going to find himself turfed out of their home."