Spike often said his first love was an Italian women named
Marie Antoinette Pontani (‘Toni’), whom he met
during a European tour of the Combined Services Entertainment
in 1946. He left her to return to England later that year.
Spike married June Marlowe at Caxton Hill in Victoria on
26 January 1952. There were three children from this marriage
– Laura, Sean and Sile.
In mid-1959, Spike travelled to Australia for the second
series of Idiot Weekly. During his stay, he received a letter
from June saying she was leaving him and taking the children.
He was devastated. During the voyage home he took an overdose
of sleeping pills. But he forgot that he’d invited
the ship’s doctor to his cabin for a drink. He was
given a stomach pump. When he arrived home the house was
Spike’s divorce came through in March 1961 and he
was given custody of the children. June was seen as the
guilty party as she had started a new relationship. Spike
took the children home, "fully realising that I had
parted them from a very good mother". The trauma and
guilt about this haunted him throughout his life.