Bert and Patti Newton’s troubled son Matthew has stepped down from his role as director of an upcoming movie after being hit with major backlash following allegations against him of domestic violence.
The 41-year-old actor and director released an emotional statement on Friday confirming he was quitting the movie Eve, and admitting he felt “shame” over the harm he has caused in the past.
The movie will star actress Jessica Chastain, and Newton said he had reached out to her directly with the news. Meanwhile, he went on to confirm he had been receiving treatment for eight years for his past addiction and mental health issues.
“Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears,” he said of the backlash, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past.”
He added: “I can never undo the harm that I’ve caused the people I’ve cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day.”
It was previously revealed Newton suffers from bipolar disorder and he’s had several brushes with the law in the past – but he insisted he’s been working on his issues ever since.
“Over the past eight years, I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness,” he went on.
“For the past six years I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry.”
In 2007, he was charged with assaulting his former girlfriend, ex Neighbours star Brooke Satchwell.
Later in 2010, Newton’s girlfriend Australian actress Rachael Taylor took out an AVO against him after an alleged attack in the foyer of a hotel in Rome.
Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain herself was caught up in the backlash after news broke that Newton would be directing her new movie, having been a huge advocate for women’s rights and the ‘Time’s Up’ movement in the past.
She is yet to comment on his decision to step down.
Newton’s famous father Bert has previously addressed his son’s issues, and showed strong support for him in an interview in 2016 – where he said he hoped his troubles were behind him for good.
“I have always prayed for a happy ending, and I think it has arrived,” Bert said, in an interview with the Herald Sun.
“He is happy, he’s doing good things, and that’s the most important thing. I’m overjoyed… He is a great writer, he is a great director and a fine actor and he is happy.”