Australian pop star Vanessa Amorosi can’t remember the day her biological father finally left, but she remembers all too well the feeling of relief.
From the outside looking in, Frank Amorosi was a popular singer and entertainer.
Behind closed doors he was a monster.
The surprise revelation aired in the Supreme Court of Victoria this month, where Vanessa went to war with her estranged mother Joyleen Robinson over allegations she mismanaged the singer’s money.
This came as the growing feud in the Amorosi family was also exposed, with Vanessa’s sisters Natasha and Mellissa standing side by side with their mother every day when she appeared in court.
Vanessa had her big break in 2000 with her performance at the Sydney Olympics and hits like “Absolutely Everybody”.
Her father had also made a career of performing on stage, although it was of a minor magnitude compared to the heights that Vanessa had achieved in the last two decades.
Although Frank enjoyed some success as an artist, he often only appeared as a warm-up actor for real stars.
Frank Amorosi was a popular Melbourne entertainer for decades, but behind closed doors he was a monster
Frank (left) and Vanessa Amorosi (right) at the time she claims he brutalized her family
Vanessa Amorosi had her breakthrough in 2000 with a series of worldwide hits
The Glenroy RSL charged $8 a head to see him sing in 2014, the year he died aged 60.
Nevertheless, Frank was a popular regular in pubs, clubs and RSLs across Melbourne, and his talent agents promoted him as having a voice similar to legendary crooner Tom Jones.
In the 1980s, Smörgasbord lovers fondly remembered him performing cabaret music at The Swagman in Ferntree Gully.
In the spotlight, Frank was a dynamic personality full of fun melodies and charisma.
But in court this month his daughter Vanessa struggled to describe her relationship with her “violent” biological father – saying “difficult” was probably an understatement.
“I don’t know if you would say it was difficult.” “When Frank, my real father, and my mother separated, it was one of the best moments in my life,” she said.
Vanessa told the court she was too young to remember exactly when Frank left.
She explained that her stepfather, Peter Robinson, a humble electrician who remained close to her estranged mother, was the man she considered her true father.
“Peter came to us when we were really hurting and he really helped us build a better relationship with a male figure.” “It took a long time but he did it,” Vanessa told the court.
Vanessa Amorosi (pictured outside the Supreme Court in Melbourne) was forced to revisit memories of her violent biological father, Frank Amorosi
Joyleen Robinson (third from left) enters the courtroom accompanied by husband Peter (left) and daughters Mellissa (second from left) and Natasha (right).
Peter married her mother in 1994 when Vanessa was just 13 years old. The wedding took place at the family home in Emerald, where Vanessa grew up before Frank left.
“I have a lot of emotions when I talk about Peter because my real father was very violent,” Vanessa told the court.
Just the question of her upbringing brought the star to tears, forcing judge Steven Moore to take a break so she could calm down.
“I’m sorry, I’m very distracted when I think about my father,” she said – referring to Peter.
In his last year of life, Frank regularly posted old photos and videos of himself singing on social media.
He occasionally updated on Vanessa and basked in the reflection of his daughter, who despised him.
A post he wrote months before his death said: “Vanessa, when she was 8 and Mellissa (his other daughter) was 6, they used to watch me watching the production shows at the front on the sidelines dance.’Floor.’
“Now Vanessa is a big star in the US,” he wrote.
While Frank admitted that Vanessa didn’t want any contact with him, he wrote lovingly about her talent.
“Vanessa is great, never had singing lessons.” “I remember at age 8 Vanessa and Mellissa singing songs off the radio with perfect pitch and harmonies that were better than the original artist,” Frank wrote.
“My ex and I look at each other and say, ‘Where the hell did this come from?’ “We were both singers, but Vanessa and Mellissa’s standard was way above ours and better.”
Frank claimed he had the flu just days before his death in 2014 and told friends he was on the mend.
When he died in October that year, Vanessa was living in the United States and ready to start the feud with her mother that ended in a Melbourne court nine years later.
The civil case found the singer earned just under $1 million in 2001 after he exploded onto the Australian music scene during the 2000 Olympics.
But in late 2014, she was evicted from her U.S. property after apparently running out of money.
Frank and Vanessa Amorosi are pictured in a happy moment of their childhood
However, the happiness would not last, as Frank knew and openly admitted to his followers
Frank Amorosi spent his last years performing in retirement homes and bars for senior citizens
Vanessa was suspicious of her mother’s handling of her assets and had hired forensic accountants to investigate how she handled her assets.
In court this month, Vanessa said 2014 was a bad year.
“At the end of 2014, when I knew I was going to lose my house, there was a lot of unrest and I couldn’t find an answer to what really happened and why I was going to lose my house,” she said.
“And I also struggled with the fact that my real father died.”
The allegations against Joyleen had driven a hard wedge between Vanessa and much of her family.
Vanessa said that when she asked her mother to show her where all her money went, she turned it into a “standoff.”
“When I asked my mother this question, my siblings (Natasha and Mellissa) became very angry, so it started a war between the family,” she said.
Vanessa claimed that when she returned to Australia pregnant in 2015, she was denied entry to her own home.
“I questioned my mother over and over again, it made everyone pretty angry, and that was that.” “I realized I wasn’t welcome to come home,” she said.
The family had been a close-knit unit in the years following Frank’s departure.
Frank’s violent abuse was the very reason Vanessa’s mother claimed she gave her the Narre Warren North estate, which tore the family apart – his presence tormenting her even in death.
“When I was married to my first husband, I was mistreated as a wife. She always said she would build me a nice house and take care of me,” Joyleen told the court.
“I wasn’t going to take that much money away from my daughter, so we agreed that I thought she would understand that I would sell (my house) if she needed the money and that I would have to pay three jobs to do it. “
Judge Moore will announce his decision at a date to be determined.