“Matthew Newton is battling his demons.”

Given Matthew Newton’s history of violence played out very publicly with two high-profile girlfriends (and then the interview with Mum & Dad last year – Channel 9 royalty Patti & Bert Newton), any interview Matthew would give would be crucial to his chances of re-entering the public eye. The interview was a great get for the A Current Affair team and another good opportunity for viewers to be reminded why Tracy Grimshaw is one of the best interviewers in the business.

Newton was very frank with his self analysis: “It’s intolerable to harm a woman, it’s intolerable to harm several of your best friends, and it’s intolerable to harm yourself.” He admitted that when in his no diagnosed fits of manic depression (coupled with OCD) he would become voilent towards people he cared about and even go as far as intentionally punching himself and throwing himself against walls. He has a long list of self-inflicted injuries.

Matthew Newton is a very unwell person.

Since entering a psychiatric hospital and spending the best part of a year there, he’s getting the help he needs and on a regime of pills that help him stay on top of it all – “6 or 7 tablets in the morning, a couple at night.” He didn’t shy away from questions about the incidents with one-time girlfriend Brooke Satchwell or fiance Rachael Taylor, but it did reveal some of his underlying character & controlling nature when asked about people talking on behalf of him: “No one speaks for me.” He admits that the violent incidences towards his girlfriends repeated because “I wasn’t treated for the right things.”

“Of course I’m sorry. My biggest mistake was not knowing I needed treatment. I can guarantee I’m committed to being the best person I can possibly be.”

This interview was, without question, his last roll of the dice to curry any public favour, his only shot at redemption. If this doesn’t work there will likely be no more TV or screen acting for him. It’s his mea culpa moment, and handled well by one of the most sensitive in the business. Grimshaw didn’t shy away from asking the hard questions, but didn’t push to hard on sensitive issues. Newton is clearly still working on getting better.

The interview was an excellent opportunity for Newton to apologise and move on, though the way he was framed in comparison to Tracy was disconcerting. Matt got the tight, close shot to reveal all the emotion in his face. Stark, real, up close & personal:

Tracy got a wider shot, including the top of her head, with some flowers to her left to act as a counterpoint as the shots of Matt. Soft, calm, authoritative:

Just the framing of these shots is an interesting study in the modern psychology of the television interview – one the team at A Current Affair do very well.

The interview closed with Tracy’s comments acknowledging that many will continue to suggest that Newton is using his mental illness as an excuse for his past violence against women. It’s now thrown open to the court of public opinion… will Matthew Newton be forgiven? Was he contrite enough for people to accept him back into the Australian acting fraternity or will his past actions tar him for life and brand him unusable?

If you require assistance with an issue surrounding mental health, or violence toward you or by you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.