Neighbours Valerie Grundy star now – troubled famous son, rift claims and nudes

Australian singer, actress, dancer, stage performer, and radio and television presenter Patti Newton has had quite a career in showbiz.

The multi-talented 77-year-old was even brought in to help celebrate the 8,000th episode of Neighbours in 2018, playing Valerie Grundy, a pivotal character in the show's history, despite only appearing once.

Valerie was revealed to be the longest-running resident of Ramsay Street, who rather than getting involved with her fellow neighbours on screen had been quietly living in the street's corner house for the past 34 years.

The 8,000th episode's storyline centres around Valerie's death when she passes away in her own home.

When Toadie finds items belonging to neighbours past and present in her house it leads to a touching call back to the show's past.

Away from Neighbours, Patti has had a career in the public eye since 1957 and is still going strong to this day.

Her first role came in The Tarax Show, which was an early Australian children's TV show. In the same year she appeared in another children's show for radio and television, named Swallow's Juniors.

Marriage to Bert Newton and famous son

In her early career Patti performed under her maiden name of Patti McGrath, until she married fellow Australian entertainer Bert Newton in 1974.

Her husband was a star and fixture of Australian television since its inception in 1956. By many he was considered both an industry pioneer, icon and one of the longest-serving television performers in the world.

The couple were married for 47 years until his death in 2021. In that time they had two children, one of whom is now a famous actor, writer, and director – Matthew Newton.

Like his mum, Matthew began his career in children's television on the Sugar and Spice show in 1988. He later went on to star in Late for School, Looking for Alibrandi, Farscape and as a vampire in Queen of the Damned.

However, he is best known for being the writer of From Nowhere, it follows a set of Bronx teenagers who graduate from high school and need to navigate the treacherous waters of trying to get their papers to stay in the US.

His fame hasn't been a smooth ride. New Idea reported that in 2010 the actress Rachael Taylor, Matthew's then girlfriend, took out an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), after Matthew allegedly punched her in the face in a hotel foyer in Rome.

Her application for the AVO not only ended their relationship, but also put a stop to Matthew’s career revival. His career was further tarnished when he allegedly breached the terms of an AVO, assaulted a Sydney taxi driver and, after moving to the US, attacked a hotel receptionist in Miami.

But he avoided conviction on the grounds of diminished mental health and later revealed that he was struggling with issues including addiction.

In August 2018, it appeared Matthew would be unable to escape his troubled history when he was forced to step down from working on the film Ava.

At the time Jessica Chastain was criticised for choosing to work with Matthew as a co-producer. Critics noted that appointing him for the role of writer and director contrasted with Chastain's participation in the Time's Up campaign – a non-profit group that raises money to support victims of sexual harassment.

Rumours of a rift between Matthew and his parents had also been swirling for many years, which were intensified when he failed to attend his dad's funeral.

Patti soon squashed any speculation with an interview with the Daily Mail in which she said: "There was no rift. He's had many long conversations with Bert in the hospital, and that was all fine," Patti told the publication.

"It's just the logistics of it all, and with Covid, and with everything else," she added as to why Matthew won't be returning home for the service."

Gameshow appearances

In 2007, Patti took part in Dancing with the Stars. Coupled with Sandro Catalano the pair finished in seventh place.

Australian swimmer Michael Klim went onto win with his dance partner Eliza Campagna.

Patti also appeared as a celebrity contestant on Deal or No Deal sometime in 2007.

In 2012, Patti appeared on the Australian celebrity version of The Apprentice. Taking part and raising money for charity Sids and Kids she made it all the way to task five.

She was "fired" following a task which asked her team to partake in a semi-nude publicity stunt for the We Care charity.

She effectively chose to leave when she requested to be the one who was fired.

The eventual winner of the show was English Australian television and radio presenter Ian Dickinson.

Nude photoshoot

Patti has stayed out of the spotlight following the death of her husband but her last notable appearance came when she bared all in The All New Monty: Guys and Gals.

The then 75-year-old stripped down for a topless photo shoot with the aim of raising awareness for regular health check-ups, including those for breast cancer, as well as prostate and testicular cancer.

Patti left the cast and crew in hysterics as she poked fun at her own ageing body, saying: "Your nipples go under your arms as you get older!"

Only props could be used to conceal their bare chest, with the entertainer opting her her own album.

After the shoot Patti admitted she had been extremely nervous but said the whole experience had ended up being "fabulous".

"I was a bit worried about it, a bit nervous, because I kept thinking it's sort of a little confronting," she said.

"But in actual fact it was fabulous!"

In 2021, Patti appeared on a special episode of Studio 10 – an Australian morning talk show – in which she joined presenters to celebrate the life of her late husband Bert.

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