Friday 24 October 2014

Keith Duffy's wife Lisa praises him for holding it together after daughter's autism diagnosis

Published 26/03/2014 | 12:19

Keith Duffy,Lisa Duffy with kids Mia Duffy and Jay Duffy  pictured at Keith Duffy's Masquerade Ball in aid of Irish Autism Action and Saplings School Rathfarnham
Keith Duffy,Lisa Duffy with kids Mia Duffy and Jay Duffy pictured at Keith Duffy's Masquerade Ball in aid of Irish Autism Action and Saplings School Rathfarnham
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, on a recent visit to the ABACAS school for children with autism in Kilbarrack Dublin, where she met Keith Duffy and his daughter Mia
Mia Duffy with her father, Keith, mother, Lisa, and brother, Jordan

Keith Duffy's wife Lisa has revealed that the former Boyzone star held their marriage together when their daughter was diagnosed with autism.

Lisa was working for a clothes store in the Westbury Hotel two decades ago where she first met Keith.

But Lisa said she wasn't initially impressed with his charms.

"The first time I met him, I tried to set him up with a friend of mine," she revealed.

"He used to call in to the shop and have the chats.

"He said that Louis Walsh had his eye on him for a band. I said to myself, 'What's this fella up to?'"

Keith (39) was a budding architect when he decided to go for the opportunity that Louis Walsh presented to him -- to become one-fifth of Irish boyband Boyzone.

But for Lisa, she thought that the idea was unstable. "He used to show me the shots he had to get done for the audition process," she said. "I was kind of saying to him, 'Are you mad to do this?'"

The mum-of-two said that she tried to play it cool with Keith but said he literally swept her off her feet one night.

"I went to nightclub POD and after a while, I spotted him there and was kinda playing it cool. He had come from Take That that night and he was trying to play it cool with me," she said.

"Then he just came up, picked me up and spun me around the place, saying, 'I'm just delighted you're back (from holidays).'

Lisa said she credits their strong relationship with a high level of trust. "The understanding we always had for each other was that when Keith went to work, I wasn't going to go following him everywhere he went," she said.

"It was hard to be apart but there was a lovely understanding when he came home."

In April 1996 they had their son Jay and went on to marry two years later.

And Lisa said she felt her perfect family was complete when she delivered a baby girl in March 2000.

But when doctors broke the news to the couple that their little girl Mia was on the austim spectrum and she might never talk, Lisa said her world collapse.

"I fell apart and Keith wouldn't allow himself. His strength was finding out everything he needed to find out. Keith was not going to give up on getting her the right, appropriate education.

"He said to me, 'We're her voice now and we're going to get what we need for her.

"Even in the midst of all the sadness and the despair, we still like to laugh together. Keith knows me better than I know myself. He can read me like a book and that's what the years have done for us."

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