The tragic death of Sam Newman’s wife Amanda Brown is a traumatic episode in what has been a complicated personal life for the AFL icon.
The tragic death of Amanda Brown has left a “devastated” Sam Newman mourning the loss of his beloved wife and sparked an outpouring of grief from his mates in the footy industry.
Newman found Brown, 50, on the floor of their Melbourne apartment on Saturday night. As reported by the Herald Sun, emergency services were called but Brown was unresponsive.
Victoria Police confirmed the matter is not being treated as suspicious, and they will prepare a report for the coroner.
Newman’s close friend and former Footy Show colleague Eddie McGuire was among those to express their condolences on the weekend. “Sam, we know that you know we’re thinking of you, buddy,” McGuire said during Fox Footy’s broadcast of Sunday’s AFL matches.
“I spoke to him last night and (he’s) clearly devastated by the whole situation.”
Brown’s death is a heartbreaking episode in Newman’s at-times complicated personal life.
Newman’s complicated family life
When Newman said “I do” to Brown, he was hoping it was fourth time lucky.
The AFL great turned media personality had been married — and divorced — three times before, but it could have been even more.
“I went out with another four women in long-term relationships,” Newman told The Age in 2003.
He has three sons — Geordan, Jack and Max — and has spoken previously about his approach to fatherhood. Geordan and Jack are both fully entrenched in their adult lives, while Max is in his early 20s.
“I would probably say I’m not a great father because I’m not traditional,” Newman said in an interview with the Herald Sun four years ago. “I don’t show a hell of a lot emotion, I try and show it in different ways like giving tangible things rather than being tacit about it.
“But that’s the way you are, you can’t choose your parents — unfortunately, my kids would say.”
Nearly 20 years ago when Newman’s media career was in full flight, he admitted it was challenging to maintain a relationship with his sons, but that didn’t stop him from trying.
“I am trying to put in a bit more effort, more time,” he told The Age at the time.
“When they need advice I give it to them but in the few chats I’ve had with them recently, I have a feeling they could give me advice.”
When Newman married Brown last year, eldest son Jack was photographer.
First wife remained in Newman’s corner
The Herald Sun reports Newman’s first marriage was to Barbara Clatworthy, who used to live in Geelong. Many years after their divorce when his antics were causing headaches for Channel 9, Barbara still had his back.
“I would defend him any day, because he has always been a good friend when it counts,” she said in 2009 when Newman’s TV career was at a crossroads.
“I think he is misunderstood by people who don’t know him. He really is a very generous man who cares for his family, his friends and those less fortunate.”
Relationship makes headlines for all the wrong reasons
Things didn’t end well with one of Newman’s previous partners Leonie Jones.
They had Max together, in 1997, but their relationship crumbled.
In an explosive magazine interview as their union fell apart, Jones — 26 years younger than the Geelong great — accused Newman of not seeing Max until he was three weeks’ old. And that was after Jones ran Newman over in a car, which resulted in a broken leg and smashed ankle.
“I got run over. I got backed over by a light Korean-model car,” he said last year on his podcast You Cannot Be Serious.
The pair co-parented Max, but even years after they split up Newman hinted there was a degree of frostiness to their relationship.
“Smarter than me and his mother combined,” Newman said of his five-year-old son in 2003. “I’ll be 73 on his 21st birthday.
“I’ll be standing there on a walking frame. His mother will probably cut my legs from under me with a scythe.”
Max follows in father’s footsteps
Max was keen to follow in his father’s footsteps and last year, the then-22-year-old — who grew up around The Footy Show — expressed a desire to make his own mark in the media.
“I love sport and have seen the highs and lows and good and bad sides of it through dad both on and off TV,” Max told the Herald Sun. “I would really love to get into it (TV). That is what I am trying to strive towards.”
And while Newman is as divisive a TV personality as they come, having sparked outrage on countless occasions with crude stunts and blunt one-liners, there’s no doubt he’d be able to offer some pointers after successfully navigating the industry for decades.
“I have spoken to him a couple of times (about going into TV) and he has always been incredibly supportive and encouraged me to do what I feel is right,” Max said of his dad.
“Sport is what I know, having grown up in and around it and behind the scenes. I am incredibly passionate about it.”
One romance that was built to last
Newman, 75, walked down the aisle with Brown in November last year after nearly two decades together. It was an intimate ceremony in their Docklands apartment, attended by family and close friends.
Perfect Match host Greg Evans officiated Newman and Brown’s wedding, and spoke previously about how the footy legend had organised to surprise his better half with a proposal for her 50th birthday.
“She opened the door and said, ‘What are you doing here?’” Evans told the You Cannot Be Serious podcast. “I said, ‘I have come to wish you a happy birthday’, because it was the said bride’s birthday.
“Then Sam said, ‘Well, Amanda, happy birthday and I was wondering if for your birthday you would like to marry me?’
“This beautiful lady, her knees started to shake and her hands started to shake and she said yes four times.
“‘Yes, yes, yes, yes’, she said and it was just a beautiful moment in her life, in Sam’s life and in my life. I was privileged to be there.”
While Newman was never short of publicity as a high-profile member of Melbourne’s footy fraternity, Brown remained largely out of the limelight.
The couple were first spotted together on New Year’s Eve in 2002 at a function at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Throughout the years they were photographed at other events but for all the headlines Newman attracted, Brown managed to avoid them.
There were plenty of ups-and-downs in Newman’s personal life, but this was one relationship built to last. Tragically, Brown was taken away from Newman and her loved ones far too soon.
Newman’s friend and podcast co-host, Hawthorn icon Don Scott, told the Herald Sun: “They’ve been together for 19 years and he depended on her a fair bit.
“He had a lot of feeling for her.”