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Asher Keddie reveals how she fell for her husband before suspecting he was hiding a dark secret

Australian actress Asher Keddie fell instantly in love with husband Vincent Fantauzzo after passing each other by chance in a Melbourne street, but she soon realised he was hiding something from her when their relationship blossomed.  

Fantauzzo was a celebrated artist who rubbed shoulders with prime ministers and world-famous celebrities, painting the likes of the late Heath Ledger and Lionel Rose.

But unknown to even his closest family, he had been diagnosed with severe dyslexia, a condition which made some of the most basic life skills a challenge.

Australian actress Asher Keddie has revealed how she fell in love with her famous artist husband Vincent Fantauzzo, but knew he was hiding a secret. (Pictured: the couple at the Fantauzzo Hotel launch in May)

Fantauzzo is a four-time Archibald People's Choice prize winning artist who's friendship circle includes ex-Prime Ministers and A-list Australian celebrities including Matt Moran and the late Heath ledger

Fantauzzo dropped out of school at the age of 13 without reading a single book and once carried a gun as he 'hustled' his way through life.

'I spent my life hiding and hustling, feeling ashamed, not being good enough, not being smart enough and pretending to be someone I wasn't,' he told the ABC's Australian Story. 

Fantauzzo saw Keddie on television and asked his friend, celebrated chef Matt Moran, if he knew that 'hot' girl because he wanted to paint her.

A few phone calls later, Keddie agreed.   

But Fantauzzo was late to their sitting and she had no time to waste due to her television commitments, so she hit the road.

Fantauzzo (pictured with model Jessica Hart) at his 30 Portraits 30 Days exhibition at The National Arts Club in New York in 2010

In a twist of fate, the pair happened to bump into each other in the street as Keddie was leaving.

'I was walking towards him and I absolutely felt connected on a level I'd never felt connected to anybody in my life,' Keddie said.

The pair married in 2014, becoming one of Australia's most glamorous celebrity couples and had a son, Valentino, who is now four years old.

But Keddie, who starred in Offspring and Love My Way among other hit TV shows, knew something was not right with her talented husband, who suffered persistent memory issues.

But he still didn't let on.

'He was trying to manage it himself and falling short. I started really demanding the truth, I suppose... I pushed pretty hard, which was uncomfortable for him and uncomfortable for me,' Keddie said. 

Fantauzzo with his famous portrait of Heath Ledger. The portrait was painted in the weeks before Ledger's death to highlight the depth of Ledger's mental struggle

Fantauzzo finally revealed to the love of his life that he had been diagnosed with severe dyslexia in his 20s. 

'Once I understood that memory is a genuine issue for him, I just started to let it go myself and my frustration started to dissipate,' Keddie said, adding that in ways, her husband turns the condition into his strength. 

'He has an extraordinary way of thinking and delivering in life. I'm kind of envious of it in a way. I look at him and I think, ''God, you just think about things in a way that my brain doesn't'',' she said.   

Fantauzzo grew up in various housing commission homes in Broadmeadows and Glenroy in North Melbourne with his four siblings and single parent mother after his father left when he was a boy. 

He admits, he never liked school. He associated it with shame and embarrassment as no matter how hard he tried, he could never understand the work. 

Celebrity chef Matt Moran poses with Fantauzzo and his portrait of Moran, which won the Packers Award in 2011

Memory issues are a side affect of his dyslexia. He struggles with retaining simple information, like the order of the months in a year.

Fantauzzo can go to the supermarket to buy tomatoes and walk out with baked beans instead.

At school he would lose his temper with reading and math. And said if he had a test, his focus would be on how to get out of it.

He hid his disorder through humour or bad behaviour as he would prefer to be kicked out of class than caught out not knowing how to do the work. 

When he realised how easy art came to him, he got himself kicked out of school. 

What is Dyslexia? 

Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with reading and spelling despite having the ability to learn. 

Individuals with dyslexia can learn, they just learn in a different way.

Cases can be mild to severe.

A common trait of dyslexia is a weakness with memory tasks.

Art gave him the confidence he never had with traditional school work. 

Fantauzzo was drawn to art from an early age, sketching cartoons as a boy before making caricatures of his teachers at school and developing his style and confidence in his artistic approach.

Fantauzzo's famous works include striking portraits of Julia Gillard, Baz Luhrmann and Heath Ledger, with his work highlighting the depth of Ledger's mental struggle was revealed one month after his death in 2008.

The artist has a hotel in Brisbane named after him, which is filled with his paintings. 

Fantauzzo, a four-time Archibald People's Choice prize winning artist, likes to spend time with his subjects before painting them, adding a personal relationship to his creative idea before putting his brush on the canvas. 

Keddie believes that these personal encounters give life to Fantauzzo's paintings by letting his subjects feel warm and comfortable with him to produce his imagery.

'He is very vulnerable, a lot of his life has been spent hiding,' Keddie says. 'Yet he seeks the truth in his art and in his relationships.' 

Keddie (pictured with Fantauzzo) suspected that her husband was hiding something from her

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