EMERSON NEWTON-JOHN claims the long-term relationship fizzled out after McDermott began drinking heavily, and he insists his aunt had no idea her partner was in serious financial trouble.
He says, "It just naturally came to an end.
"Livvy saw it was not progressing. She knew he was drinking, she probably didn't want to deal with it."
Emerson adds that McDermott was depressed for months leading up to his disappearance while on a fishing trip in California - but he believes he is more likely to have died in a drunken accident than staged his disappearance or committed suicide.
He adds, "It doesn't take much to fall off a boat and drown."
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