'Schizophrenia' fears for Matthew Newton

Monday, 30 August 2010

Matthew NewtonUPDATE 12:49pm: TROUBLED actor Matthew Newton is suffering schizophrenia-like symptoms from dangerous use of hard drugs such as ice.

Newton, 33, who is undergoing treatment at Sydney's Northside West Clinic, has been dumped by leading acting agency RGM, which represents Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Anthony LaPaglia.

It tops off a week in which Newton was sacked from the TV show The X Factor and dropped by his manager, Titus Day.
Newton is understood to have been taking a cocktail of ice, marijuana and cocaine.

His drug use was known to his family and to some senior employees at the Seven Network, when it hired him.

In a pre-recorded interview with Tracey Grimshaw to air tomorrow night on Nine's A Current Affair, Patti Newton is asked if she has ever been afraid of her son.

"We don't know how to handle it," she admits. "He's always had a bit of a problem with his temper, even as a kid.

"There was a bomb about to go off somewhere, sometime."

Television veteran Bert Newton reveals their son has always suffered from anger and mental issues, but these have been compounded by his use of drugs and alcohol.

"It's been a train wreck," he says of his son's experiences.

Both parents say the most important thing now is that their son "stays alive".

The couple also reveal Newton is on watch at the clinic as there are concerns he is at risk of self-harm.

They say they are heartbroken and hugely concerned about him and are at a loss over how to ensure his long-term health.

Newton's heavy drug use has led to schizophrenia-like symptoms. His latest hospitalisation came after he attacked his former fianc aace Rachael Taylor in the lobby of Rome's five-star Westin Excelsior hotel on August 14.

Taylor and Newton are understood to have been in contact since the incident and have had several email exchanges. She is understood to have emailed Newton after news broke of their violent break-up.

When their legal representatives met on Wednesday, Taylor's lawyer, Christine Nash, was asked not to take out an apprehended domestic violence order against him.

"He wouldn't go near her in 100 years," a source said. "The issue is: is he likely to approach her? The issue is restraining him. Is it necessary to get a court order? He's in a zombie house."

Newton was sedated with tranquillisers and treated by paramedics after he allegedly attacked Taylor in Rome.

Last week, he had an MRI scan at St Vincent's Hospital for ongoing "neurological diagnostic investigations".

Newton's friends detailed the actor's extensive drug use.

"He's schizophrenic from smoking drugs," a source close to Newton told The Sunday Telegraph. "He is what he is."

As Newton's fall from grace continues, other friends have revealed his dependency on marijuana and other drugs.

"He's been like this as long as I've known him," a friend of nearly a decade said.

"I know about his pot use, his coke use and definitely alcohol. His most common use is pot.

"He'd smoke joints - I'd say at least three or four joints minimum a day."

The friend continued, saying Newton was extremely insecure and jealous and that he would "turn" when under the influence of substances.

"He does have a turn in his personality, and it's often triggered by a chemical substance or something he's using. Otherwise, in general he's very charming, very creative, very talented.

"He's just got that typical tortured artist's mind.

"As soon as he puts anything in his body that has anything to do with a chemical base or anything to do with altering his mind, he snaps with aggression."

Another concerned friend labelled Newton an "ice addict" and said his continued use of ice - crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride, a cheap but powerful synthetic stimulant drug - had led to his "heightened" mental issues.

"He's on the ice pipe," the friend said "That's what leads to the high highs and low lows.

"It's a nasty drug, that."

The Seven Network had no problems announcing Newton as the host of The X Factor just a few days after he finished a 28-day treatment course at a Melbourne rehabilitation clinic in May.

Newton had admitted himself to the clinic after a violent incident against Taylor.

But Seven was quick to distance itself from the embattled actor last week, rolling out a new host, Home And Away star Luke Jacobz, for The X Factor's premiere tomorrow night.

Seven, which has dubbed it the "biggest show in the world", paid as much as $22 million to buy the format from the series' creator, Simon Cowell.

The network has been labelled irresponsible for hiring Newton on an estimated $200,000 salary - a large disposable income for someone just out of rehab.

Bert Newton has also suffered from mental illness. In 1964, he suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of 25.

Newton senior revealed in his 1977 autobiography that doctors had injected him with the psychedelic drug LSD, then in common use as a psychiatric treatment, after his breakdown.

Some friends claim Matthew Newton has struggled to cope with life in the spotlight since childhood.

"That's a very heavy element of what he's going through," one friend said. "He's had to deal with a lot, and I think there's a lot people don't know."

Newton's latest troubles have not surprised his inner circle, given his 2006 assault case against former girlfriend Brooke Satchwell.

Newton, who was charged with intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, later pleaded guilty to one count of common assault and was put on a 12-month good-behaviour bond. The conviction was later overturned.

In that case, high-profile friends, including actress Pia Miranda, provided character references.

Another of Newton's former girlfriends, Gracie Otto, daughter of Barry Otto, refused to comment on her relationship with the actor.

"Matt did tend to behave himself a bit more with Gracie because of Barry," a friend said. "He was intimidated by Barry.

"On Friday, cast members of Newton's next film, Face to Face, gathered at a Sydney cineman to view a final cut of the movie, among them fellow actors Vince Colosimo and Luke Ford.

Newton was understandably not present.

"No one said anything within the screening, it just wasn't spoken about," said one filmgoer. "Nothing was mentioned about Matt."

- with Lucy Carne

[Source: heraldsun.com.au]

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