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EXCLUSIVE: How Patti Newtown feared she would lose Bert

Patti Newton feared she would lose her beloved husband before they made a ‘life or death decision’
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With the dire warning that he had only months to live at best, showbiz
icon Bert Newton made the brave decision to have his right leg amputated just below his knee so he could have extra time with wife Patti, his two children and six grandchildren.

“He had 
a choice and his choice was to live,” says Patti.

Bert, 82, who is a diabetic, agreed to have the life-saving surgery last week, after an infection in his toe got so bad that doctors warned him he could soon die, following a secret six-week battle to fight the infection in hospital.

Patti says she has “never seen anybody in more pain” than her husband on the morning of the May 8 operation at Melbourne’s Epworth hospital and confided in friends that she thought she would lose “frail” Bert in the fraught weeks leading up to the operation.

“Patti has feared the worst 
for weeks now,” says one close friend.

“Bert was not in great health before the infection, and he’s been getting steadily more and more frail because of the unbearable pain. It’s been a huge worry on the entire family. Patti always puts on a brave face, but underneath she’s been terrified that she would lose him.”

Patti shared the first pic of Bert with his grandson Alby after his leg surgery.


A heartbroken Patti knew they had no choice but to operate on the infected leg, amputating it below the knee.

“I just felt he could not go through pain like he was going through for much longer,” she says.

“He’s got a big journey ahead of him, as we all do. But you know Bert, onward and upward. I’m sure he will be fine, we are hoping anyway.”

Speaking at the hospital and also outside their Melbourne home last week, Patti, 76, says Bert was faced with “a choice” – and he chose the operation so he can continue to be there for his six grandchildren, who see their grandad almost every day.

46 years and counting! Bert Newton and Patti Newton’s love story in pictures

Bert made the brave choice to have surgery.


“He got through the operation, it was huge,” she says.

“It was a very big day for everybody. He had to go through all this and he has the support of his family. We have gathered around him a lot and it’s mainly for the grandchildren because he wants to watch them grow.”

“He’s in really good spirits.”

Bert and Patti’s daughter Lauren Newton has been a “rock” to her parents during this frightening ordeal, while her six children, including baby Alby born last year, remain a constant source 
of joy to their grandparents.

Close friend Rhonda Burchmore, 60, says Bert has come through the operation with his sense of humour, and that she has every hope that he will recover and go on to lead a good life despite the amputation.

Patti and the family have gathered around Bert.


“He is cracking jokes, apparently, with all the medical staff,” she says.

“I am sure if anyone can move on and do incredible things, he will.”

Patti, who is recovering from a fall, is already preparing for Bert’s eventual return home to their double-storey Melbourne townhouse, which will need to be modified as all the bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs.

“I think probably the first thing is to heal and then when you heal, you start learning 
to cope and move around,” she says.

“I am super proud of him, mainly because a lot of people wouldn’t have chosen to do this. His words were, ‘Let’s do this with a positive attitude and not a negative attitude.’ It’s early days, so we just have to take it one day at a time.”

“Thank you everyone for your prayers and beautiful words.”

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