Jailed Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes still has the full support of his celebrity agent wife Robyn Gardiner six years after he was convicted of sexually assaulting girls.
Gardiner, who once represented actors Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Lisa McCune, will take her paedophile husband back into her home as soon as he is granted parole.
The couple intends living together in the United Kingdom where 69-year-old Gardiner and their daughter Jessica, aged in her early 40s, have been based for some years.
Hughes, who played the lead role in television sitcom Hey Dad! from 1987 to 1994, also has the backing of Jessica and her husband, who have two children of their own.
Gardiner told Australian authorities as recently as last month that Hughes would be ‘surrounded by family and support’ upon his eventual release, according to prison sources.
Onetime leading actors’ agent Robyn Gardiner, who represented Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Lisa McCune, still supports her Hey Dad! television star husband Robert Hughes who was jailed for molesting young girls. They are pictured with daughter Jessica during his trial
Cate Blanchett thanked Gardiner when she won the best actress Oscar for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine in 2014. ‘To my agent in Australia, Robyn Gardiner, I love you so very much,’ Blanchett said in her acceptance speech (pictured). Hughes was on trial at the time
Former co-star Sarah Monahan (pictured on Hughes’s lap) was molested by Hughes while playing his on-screen daughter in Hey Dad! She has said he should not be released from prison until he takes responsibility for his crimes. Hughes was refused parole on Thursday
She has always been in her husband’s corner, putting up $50,000 when he was first granted bail after being extradited from the UK, where he was arrested in August 2012.
Hughes, now 71, was found guilty by a jury in 2014 of committing 10 sexual offences against four girls between 1985 and 1990.
He had sexually touched children as young as seven, exposed himself on set and after forcing one victim to perform a sex act gave her a teddy bear and called her a ‘good girl’.
Hughes had pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of indecent assault, two counts of sexual assault and one count of committing an indecent act.
Gardiner and Jessica both both gave evidence at the trial on behalf of Hughes, stating they had never seen him act inappropriately with children.
After the verdicts Hughes’s then solicitor Greg Walsh said his client was a ‘broken man’ who would need to rely on Gardiner and Jessica ‘at this difficult time’.
‘They love each other very much,’ Mr Walsh said. ‘I sincerely hope that that bond can get him across the line.’
Gardiner told Australian authorities as recently as last month that Hughes would be ‘surrounded by family and support’ upon his eventual release, according to prison sources. The couple is pictured leaving Sydney’s Downing Centre court complex in March 2014
Among Robyn Gardiner’s clients were Anthony LaPaglia, star of the US television series Without A Trace, and Rose Byrne, who is also now a major Hollywood actor
The actor was jailed for a maximum ten years and nine months with a non-parole period of six years, which expires on April 6.
Hughes, who receives few visitors in jail, has always protested his innocence and unsuccessfully took a challenge to his convictions all the way to the High Court.
He has never attempted to show any remorse for his crimes and has not undergone any sex offenders’ programs while behind bars.
A FRIEND TO HOLLYWOOD STARS
Robyn Gardiner met Robert Hughes in 1975 and they have one daughter, Jessica Hughes, who has two children of her own.
In 1982 Gardiner started Robyn Gardiner Management which grew to be one of Australia’s biggest talent agencies. By the late 1990s she had 300 actors, directors, writers and voice artists on her books.
Gardiner represented actors Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Lisa McCune and Anthony LaPaglia as well as comedian Chris Lilley and radio personalities Amanda Keller and Andrew Denton.
She took on Blanchett when the promising young performer graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1992.
The pair was so close that Blanchett thanked Gardiner when she won the best actress Academy Award for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine in 2014.
‘To my agent in Australia, Robyn Gardiner, I love you so very much,’ Blanchett said in her acceptance speech. Hughes was on trial at the time.
In 2005 Gardiner moved her business to Singapore where RGM Media dabbled unsuccessfully in movie production. Hughes joined her and did voiceover work.
RGM Media was declared bankrupt in 2012 with debts of $28million. Gardiner sold out of talent agency RMG Artists.
By then Gardiner and Hughes were living in an apartment in London’s trendy Bryanston Square. He was arrested by London police in August 2012.
On Thursday, the New South Wales State Parole Authority (SPA) refused Hughes after a closed meeting where it was determined he still presented an ‘unacceptable risk to community safety.’
The SPA revealed Hughes, who until recently was a dual Australian-British citizen, had wanted to be transferred to a prison in the UK to serve out his sentence.
Australian and British authorities had approved that move under the International Transfer of Prisoners scheme, allowing Hughes to remain in a UK prison until granted parole.
Former celebrity agent Robyn Gardiner, who has always supported her husband, is pictured outside his child sex crimes trial
Once that happened Hughes would have been supervised until his maximum sentence expired on January 6, 2025.
His family had promised to accommodate him and provide financial support.
However, three months ago Hughes suddenly renounced his Australian citizenship and withdrew his international transfer application.
While New South Wales and the UK have reciprocal arrangements for prisoners, no such system exists for parolees.
That meant that if Hughes was released on parole he would immediately be deported to the UK.
Under those circumstances Hughes could not be supervised, electronically monitored or forced to comply with any other conditions such as staying away from children.
Denying him parole, the SPA decided without ‘structured post release plans’ and parole supervision Hughes presented as an unacceptable safety risk.
The SPA also refused to grant Hughes an automatic review of its decision, which would have allowed him to present evidence at a public hearing.
He must now submit an application and satisfy the SPA that a review hearing is warranted, otherwise he will not be reconsidered for parole again until next year.
Actor, writer and director Chris Lilley (left) was signed to Robyn Gardiner’s RMG Artists books, as was television and radio star Amanda Keller (right)
Hughes has previously accused some of his accusers of making up their allegations against him in paid media interviews.
Former Hey Dad! co-star Sarah Monahan, who Hughes molested while she played his on-screen daughter, has said she and his other victims feared ‘reprisal’ once he was let out.
‘Since he has said that we’re horrible people for doing this to him, we don’t know if he’s going to want revenge,’ she told A Current Affair.
Monahan believed Hughes should only be released back into the community if he finally took responsibility for his crimes.
‘If he’s going to get out early it should be because he’s admitted guilt,’ she said.
‘The question is whether he admits he’s guilty, or if he still think he’s the innocent victim here.
‘If he still thinks he’s innocent, then he probably should spend some more time in prison thinking about it.’
Eighteen women testified against Hughes during his trial but he was only convicted of abusing four of them. One of those victims was his own niece.
Eighteen women testified against Hughes, including fellow Hey Dad! actor Sarah Monahan (pictured with Hughes), but he was only convicted over the abuse of four of them
‘Robert Hughes grabbed me, tickled me and touched me inappropriately, including on my breasts and genitals on a number of occasions,’ she said during the trial.
‘He also exposed himself to me on a number of occasions and touched his genitals in front of me.’
Two women told the trial Hughes had entered their rooms naked during sleepovers with his daughter Jessica and exposed himself or sexually assaulted them in bed.
Former colleagues who worked on set with Hughes also gave evidence, testifying he would repeatedly expose himself.
In sentencing Hughes in the NSW District Court, Judge Peter Zahra said the actor had not expressed any remorse.
‘His conduct continued over 20 years,’ Judge Zahra said. ‘[Even] after he was questioned by police in 1986 it continued.’
‘The offender took advantage of when he was with victims in social settings in his home or at victims’ homes.
‘He lacks insight into his offending and he is unlikely to access treatment programs.’
When he was found guilty Hughes screamed ‘I’m innocent’ in court.
While he was in Goulburn prison authorities had to build a barrier to stop fellow inmates pelting milk cartons filled with faeces and urine at the reviled paedophile.
He is now housed in Long Bay’s Metropolitan Special Programs Centre.
One of the four woman Hughes was convicted of abusing was his own niece who said he ‘grabbed’ and ‘tickled’ her before touching her ‘inappropriately’. Hughes is pictured being confronted about his behaviour by A Current Affair at a set of traffic lights in Singapore