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Matthew Newton: Rehab saved my life

Matthew Newton

Matthew Newton attends a court hearing in Sydney in 2010.

Troubled actor Matthew Newton has credited rehab with saving his life.

The 34-year-old star checked into the moods unit at Sydney’s Northside West mental health clinic in April after a court ordered him to seek psychiatric care or face criminal action after breaching his Apprehended Violence Order (AVO).

Newton spoke to 104.1FM’s Kyle and Jackie O Show this morning in his first interview since he was admitted to rehab.

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He said he was in a “good place” and felt like his time in the clinic had helped him turn his life around.

“Finding myself in hospital and being surrounded by a great group of people, the people at Northside West really saved my life,” he said. “…I feel like I am in the best place that I have ever been in my life.”

Newton said rehab gave him the opportunity to “take stock” of his life and figure out who he was.

“It’s been a very interesting year for me, a huge year of reflection, there were certain things I had to take stock of,” he said.

“I finished school, straight into drama school and I was very lucky I went straight into work, and I’ve had periods out of work every actor has that where you dream of a dog food commercial that will pay the rent… which you take!

“I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t stopped, so going to hospital and having that time to get a sense of who I was, and it sounds corny but to stop and smell the flowers.”

Newton also urged anyone struggling with mental health issues to seek professional help.

“There is a lot of fear that is surrounded and a huge amount of stigma with mental illness and a lot of judgemental people brush it off and say get on with your life,” he said.

“I would urge anybody with the slightest doubt, it doesn’t cost anything, talk to somebody, your family, your GP, someone… just check up because you can’t be sure.”

Newton’s life began to publicly unravel in 2006, when he used profane language and simulated sex acts on Channel Ten’s New Year’s Eve special The Big Night In with John Foreman.

Later that year, he was arrested and charged with intimidation and assault of his then-girlfriend Brooke Satchwell.

He pleaded guilty to one count of common assault and was put on a 12-month good behaviour bond in 2007. The conviction was overturned two months later after Newton’s lawyer claimed the star was suffering from a “depressive illness” at the time of the assault and was therefore unlikely to reoffend.

In November 2009, Newton’s hotel room in Kings Cross was trashed after an event. The damage to the room was $9000, which Newton paid despite denying he was responsible. One day later, he made headlines again when he jumped off a plane before the doors were closed, causing panic amongst passengers and crew.

He was kicked out of another hotel in 2010, after he allegedly caused $4000 damage to his room.

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Newton checked himself into a Melbourne drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in April 2010. In August the same year, his girlfriend Rachael Taylor took out an AVO after two domestic violence incidents during a holiday in Rome.

Newton was charged with breaching that AVO in February this year and checked into rehab shortly afterwards.

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