Vanessa Amorosi breaks down in tears as she accuses her mother of turning her family against her and swindling her fortune

Vanessa Amorosi has accused her estranged mother of manipulating her into handing over her fortune before turning her own family against her.

The Australian singer on Thursday entered the witness box in a Supreme Court trial in Melbourne to describe how her mother, Joyleen Robinson, had allegedly mismanaged her finances.

Amorosi, 42, filed her lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2021, claiming ‘unconscionable conduct’.

Singer Vanessa Amorosi (pictured)  filed legal action in the Victorian Supreme Court against her mother Joyleen Robinson, claiming she had lived solely off her career earnings

The court heard the singer believed her mother had exploited her wealth during the height of her popularity when she was just a teenager.

Amorosi told the court she had been brainwashed into believing her mother was the only person to be trusted to handle the millions of dollars she earned after becoming a star in 2000.

‘That had happened since (I) was young. No one was to be trusted. Like that is something that is just … not your crones, not your best friends, not your management, not your step dad. The person at the end of the day that you are to trust is your mum,’ Amorosi said, breaking into tears.

‘She’s there because she really loves me and doesn’t need anything else from me other than for me to be her daughter. And so as time progressed, and I made more money, and I became more successful, everybody became the enemy.

‘Boyfriends were enemies, husband was the enemy. She was to be the only one there with the right intentions, and I believed it.’

Amorosi, who flew to Australia from her home in Los Angeles to attend the trial, had become suspicious of her mother’s dealings with her fortune in 2014 when she engaged forensic accountants to start looking into her mother’s handling of her wealth.

Ms Robinson (pictured outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday) has been accused of ripping off her daughter

Ms Robinson (pictured outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday) has been accused of ripping off her daughter 

Seven years later, she engaged lawyers, filing a 213-paragraph statement of claim with the Supreme Court.

Mediation between the parties saw that claim significantly reduced, but a dispute remains over two properties Amorosi claims her mum is not entitled to.

One of those homes is the Narre Warren North shack that was recently raided by police.

The second is Amorosi’s home in the US, which is owned by a family company that also owes $650,000 to the Westpac bank.

Amorosi’s barrister, Philip Solomon, KC, told the court the singer wants control over both properties and the debt.

Amorosi’s original statement of claim alleged that her mother took advantage of her finances in September 1999 when she was 17 and had just had her big break.

But in a counterclaim denying that she deprived her of the funds, Ms Robinson alleged the singer breached an agreement they made over the Narre Warren North house.

The court heard Amorosi made just short of $1million in 2001 after exploding onto screens during the 2000 Olympics.

But by the end of 2014, she was booted out of her United States property after seemingly running out of cash.

The Amorosi shack in Narre Warren North had once acted as her studio

The Amorosi shack in Narre Warren North had once acted as her studio

Amorosi told the court when she questioned her mother about where all her money had gone, she was accused of spending it all herself.

‘I couldn’t get the answers to what was really going on and why I was losing my house … she said I spent it all. She said I spent all the money and that I should come home and get to work. I should go back to touring,’ she said.

Amorosi said when she asked her mother to show her where all of her money had gone, she turned it into a ‘stand-off’.

‘Asking that question to my mum had my siblings very angry so it started a war between the family,’ she said.

Amorosi said when she returned to Australia in 2015 while pregnant, she was refused entry into her own home.

‘I kept questioning my mother, so it made everybody pretty angry, and that was it. It was very clear to me that I was not welcome to come home,’ she said.

In opening the trial, Mr Solomon said his client had been ‘enormously’ successful over the past 25 years.

In 1999, while still a teenager, Amorosi’s mum organised for her to see managers before advising her that her income ought to be protected with numerous trust funds.

A company named Vanjoy was created, which received Amorosi’s royalties and paid her expenses at the height of her fame.

The court heard Amorosi’s career peaked in 2000 and the years immediately after when she released a swag of successful singles.

Mr Solomon said Amorosi was entitled to a larger slice of the Boundary Road property and the trust holding her Californian home.

Vanessa Amorosi etched out an impressive music career across the world from 1999 onwards

Vanessa Amorosi etched out an impressive music career across the world from 1999 onwards

Ms Robinson and her husband Peter, whom Amorosi treats as her father, continue to live in a McKenzie Lane property, in Narre Warren North, which the couple purchased in 1997.

Mr Solomon said the Boundary Road property, which was purchased in 2001, was currently owned equally by Amorosi and her mother, but he argued she ought to own it outright.

The shack had originally been used for the singer to write and practice her music before falling into a state of disrepair.

The property had been purchased off the back of more than $3million earned by Amorosi that went into Vanjoy in the early 2000s, Mr Solimon said.

Amorosi denied she had ever gifted the property to her mother, who she said had always referred to it as ‘her dream home’.

‘There was never a conversation that I was going to give her a house as a gift. She had a house. We all lived in it … but I knew that Boundary Road was her dream home and it was 20 acres and it was the house she loved and so we all moved there as a family and we had numerous conversations over the years when I purchased things on coming to an agreement where we could do swaps … but never this agreement of giving me $650,000 as an exchange 20-something years later,’ she said.

In November of 1999, Vanessa Amorosi released the hit track Absolutely Everybody, which catapulted her to instant music stardom

The court heard Amorosi’s mum had been trusted to set up and protect her daughter’s finances for her benefit.

‘These were structures set-up – Vanessa was told, and it is plain, for her benefit at a time in her career where she was extraordinarily successful; and young and if different structures had been set out, or if those who ought to have been protecting her had done so honestly, there wouldn’t be any controversy 22 years later,’ Mr Solomon said.

The experienced barrister said Amorosi wanted the Boundary Road property and her stepfather removed as trustee in control of her US property.

‘At the relevant time in issue, Vanessa was between 18 and 20. She was entitled to form the view that her mother was doing what she said, which was protecting her interests,’ Mr Solomon said.

Amorosi endured hours in the witness box, battling through tears as she recalled her violent father and her love for her stepfather Peter.

The singer had hit the big time in 1999 with the release of her debut single, ‘Have a Look’, which reached gold status in Australia.

The following year, she achieved international success with her debut studio album, The Power.

Amorosi performed at both the 2000 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies in Sydney.

Her performance of ‘Heroes Live Forever’ at the opening ceremony gained international acclaim.

But it was her song ‘Absolutely Everybody’ that became an unofficial anthem of the games and went on to be a major hit in Australia and many European countries, including the Britain and Germany.

Her combined album and single sales have surpassed two million worldwide.