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EXCLUSIVE: Denise Drysdale’s ‘heart is broken’ for Patti Newton following Bert Newton’s devastating death

''Bert meant everything to Patti.''
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Struggling to hold back tears, Denise Drysdale says she’s heartbroken “beyond words” for her best friend Patti Newton following the death of her husband, showbiz stalwart and TV legend Bert.

“My heart isn’t just aching, it’s been shattered into a million pieces. Bert meant everything to Patti.

“They were one of the most loving and beautifully dedicated couples I’ve known,” reveals 72-year-old Denise, whose friendship with Patti stretches back more than 65 years.

“Patti and I first met at May Downs’ dancing school in Melbourne. I was about seven and Patti 10. We hit it off and became great friends.

“We went to Vietnam to entertain the troops in 1967… a poignant chapter of our lives that created a deep and indelible bond.

“Patti was working as a singer-dancer on a cruise ship in 1972, and we caught up in London, where I’d been working. It was through Patti whilst in the UK that I first met Ernie Sigley – and that was the start of what would become a fabulous 50-year career on TV together.

Bert and Patti’s love story could have been ripped from the pages of a romance novel. They originally met while working on radio,” says Denise.

Denise and Patti’s friendship stretches back more than 65 years.


“Patti idolised Bert. They met up again when Patti began singing and dancing on In Melbourne Tonight in the ’60s, which was hosted by Graham Kennedy, with Bert as his irrepressibly brilliant straight man.

“They married in 1974 – after Bert surprised Patti by flying over to the US to board the QE2 cruise ship she was working on with her group, Patti McGrath and the Movers.

“He’d sent a cryptic message beforehand, which read, ‘Chewy on your boot’… which was a little saying that was special to them.

“Patti was a constant pillar of strength. She loved doing everything for Bert, and he cherished her immeasurably. Their love never wavered… through the good times and the tough times.

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“Bert was a thorough gentleman, always so gracious and funny. Such a wit. The king of ad libs. He loved his work, and he never changed over the years. What you saw on screen was Bert, always the ultimate professional.

“Nobody hosted the TV WEEK Logies like Bert. He was the best. He had the pizzazz, the charm, the charisma and the prowess to make the Logies really shine. I feel the Logies should always have been hosted by Bert, irrespective of what network they aired on.

“I know the last few months had been really hard on Patti, as Bert’s health began to fail. In our regular phone calls, she always remained upbeat and strong.

“Patti is the most amazing person, but deep down I worry about how she’ll cope with Bert not being there,” says Denise, becoming emotional.

Patti and Bert Newton were dedicated to one another through the good times and the bad.


“Bert had such deep love and respect for their kids, Matthew and Lauren, and their six grandchildren… who kept him smiling through some very challenging times with his health.

“Bert was a national treasure, and there will never be anyone like him. I think about Bert and Patti, and I realise how truly lucky they were to have met one another. I feel blessed to have been so warmly welcomed into their lives.”

For more on the life and legacy of Bert Newton, read more below

Here is how you can watch Bert Newton’s state funeral next Friday

A religious ceremony with an element of showbiz: Everything we know about Bert Newton’s upcoming state funeral

Nearly 47 years of bliss: Bert Newton and Patti Newton’s love story in pictures

Keeping up with the Newtons! Bert and Patti Newton’s best family photos

Australian TV royalty: A glimpse at Bert Newton’s career through the years

“It was complications with everything:” Bert Newton’s cause of death has been revealed by his wife Patti

Farewell to a TV legend: Tributes flood in for Bert Newton after his tragic passing

Matthew Newton will not attend his father Bert’s funeral

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