He's the apple of his mum's eye but every time Lauren Newton gazes lovingly at son, Sam, she must feel torn given that he is a dead ringer for her beloved older brother Matthew, who fled Australia years ago.
"At times it does make Lauren sad to look at her own son and be reminded of Matthew, because she and Matthew were so close growing up they could almost have been twins," reveals a family friend.
"Yet he's probably never going to come home from New York where he went to try and put his disgraceful past behind him, and that distance and absence will always make Lauren feel sad because she misses him desperately.
"As a sister, she's been embarrassed and shocked over the years thanks to Matthew's exploits, but she will always love him, despite often being the one left in the middle helping support her parents when he's suffered another disaster."
Lauren, 40, married former Olympic swimmer Matt Welsh, and has four other children younger than Sam, 11, who is constantly in touch with Matthew, 42, who left Australia seven years after allegations that he violently attacked actresses Brooke Satchwell and Rachael Taylor.
"They were as close as twins growing up, so she would never write him out of their lives, but the tragic thing is he cannot possibly live near them ever again," says the friend.
"The Newtons are not under any illusions, because Matt has screwed up too many times. Australia will not be kind or forgiving, and Matthew's own lawyer and everyone close around him has advised him never to come home because of the continuing fallout from his past. It's a family tragedy."
Lauren, who friends say is shy, quiet and reserved, recognised the pitfalls of fame years ago, and turned her back on showbiz to focus on being a very hands-on mum to her five children – Sam, Eva, 10, Lola, seven, Monty, three, and 11-month-old Perla.
Another family friend says there were signs Matthew had a dark side even when he was a child, and Bert regrets that he wasn't around enough to help Patti because of his demanding showbiz career.
"Not that Matthew was ever violent with his own family, but he was very difficult as a child," recalls their family friend, who says Lauren is lucky that Matt Welsh is a very hands-on dad and always shares the load.
"Matthew had great rages that erupted at times and they couldn't easily discipline him. Patti tried, but she was doing it all on her own because Bert was less involved in the child rearing as he was too busy preparing for or doing his TV show, or recovering from it."
Fortunately, the uncanny physical resemblance between Sam and Matthew is the only thing they share in common with our source saying Sam is "much quieter" and that Lauren has limited any personal publicity of her family to ensure her kids have a normal childhood.
"As a shy person herself, Lauren always sensed Matthew's agony at being thrust into the limelight and she misses him too much to allow the same thing to happen to her son or any of her children," says the friend.
- BooksThe best, beach-ready motivational books on the shelves right now
Now To LoveDec 05, 2019