Even before coronavirus swamped New York, Matthew Newton was a prisoner in his own home – even if it was a rather lovely, two-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side shared with his wife Catherine Schneiderman and paid for by his parents-in-law.
As soon as his past as a violent man who allegedly beat his actress exes was revealed in Hollywood in the age of the #MeToo movement, doors of opportunity have been clanking shut, despite the 43-year-old's obvious talent as a screenwriter and director.
Add the fact that New York's crime rate is skyrocketing amid civil unrest – and a hotel near his home has turned into a homeless shelter, leaving locals in fear of stepping outside – and there's precious little reason for Matthew to stay in America, except his young American wife, Catherine.
Sources tell Woman's Day the couple are at a "stalemate" over what to do, with Matthew anxious to return to the relative safety of Australia, and Cat, 27, determined to remain in Manhattan close to her parents, former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and ex-wife, political consultant Jennifer Cunningham, who is listed as the owner of Matt and Cat's apartment.
"For Cat, Manhattan is in her DNA and she'll never leave, no matter how bad it gets," says a source.
Could this mean Matthew may have to leave without her? That much is unclear as yet.
Indeed, in an online résumé exclusively uncovered by Woman's Day, Catherine declares, "I'm a native New Yorker who lives on the same block I grew up on – but in a different apartment – with my husband and two cats."
In stark contrast to Matthew, her career is on the rise.
"Cat went back to Columbia [University] last year and studied journalism," says a source.
"She's since worked for a local newspaper and recently was a co-producer on a documentary about a disabled fencing star. She has a lot of potential, and everyone knows her name because of her prominent family.
"If she moved to Australia she'd be back at square one in a country that isn't particularly fond of her husband for his past behaviour. She's not interested in moving there – and nor was Matthew, until recently."
Despite his wife's stance, we're told Matthew, who got off charges of domestic violence against his Aussie exes Rachael Taylor and Brooke Satchwell, is "pushing for a move home".
But, the insider adds, it mightn't be near his parents Bert and Patti in Melbourne.
"Their contact is reasonably limited to usually just quick phone calls keeping them in the loop of major life movements. But if he were to return, despite his mother's pleas for him to come to Melbourne and stay with them, he will most likely end up in Sydney.
"He used to live in Balmain and he longs for a quiet life by the harbour, away from the Manhattan craziness."
Despite the ongoing tension between Matthew and his parents, sources close to the Hawthorn-based couple say they're "pleased" with rumours their eldest child may return home, especially given Bert's ongoing health concerns.