Ronnie O’Sullivan’s wife opens up on ‘soul destroying’ pain of watching him battle his ‘demons’ over a rollercoaster career – as snooker star claims his dad getting out of prison after a murder charge ‘helped’ get him back on track
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s wife has opened up about the ‘soul-destroying’ reality of watching ‘demons’ dictate her husband’s mood during a tumultuous snooker career.
O’Sullivan is one of the best athletes of his generation, and yet in his upcoming Amazon Prime documentary: Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everythingthe snooker star sits down in a scene with his wife Laila Rouass to talk about his struggles off the bat.
As they sit together after O’Sullivan lost 6-4 to Neil Robertson at the 2022 Masters, Rouass explains how “difficult” it has been watching her husband go on an emotional rollercoaster.
“I want you to do what makes you happy,” she says. ‘I’m not saying you should stop or keep going. I would never put you in that situation.
‘I’m okay with it. I think it’s just about management. There is so much self-criticism involved and a lot of time for yourself to think.’
Ronnie O’Sullivan (left) and his wife Laila Rouass (right) have addressed his ‘demons’ in his upcoming new Amazon Prime documentary, Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything
The superstar has spoken freely about his turbulent family life and his determination to carry on
O’Sullivan, who speaks so candidly in the film about topics such as his father going to prison with a life sentence for murder, says: ‘But I think I’m much more comfortable with it now than I ever was before.
“If I didn’t stop before, when I really didn’t feel comfortable, why would I stop now when I feel more comfortable? It’s like I’ve conquered my demons in a way.”
Rouass manages to reflect to O’Sullivan in a poignant and honest way that snooker has taken as much from him as it has given.
“I guess that’s your mood today,” she replies. ‘If you look at it in a romantic way. But the reality is that it’s hard to watch someone go through that emotionally. Then the questions come in.
‘Jesus, why is he doing this? Why does he let himself do this to him?’ It’s so soul destroying. But that’s because I think you love it, even though you may hate to admit it.”
There is recognition from both that the release of his father, Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr, has had a positive impact on him.
His wife says the release of his father (left) from prison allowed O’Sullivan to concentrate on snooker
In a new documentary, O’Sullivan describes his father’s farewell message as he went to prison
O’Sullivan was just 16 when his father was murdered Bruce Bryan – the driver of Charlie Kray, brother of the infamous gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie – in one Chelsea nightclub.
His father was released from prison in Derby in 2010 and Rouass believes the lockdown allowed her husband to take snooker one step further.
‘It did help. It helped that he was free and doing well,” O’Sullivan added.
‘I’ve done my time. He did his time. We did it together. Now he’s out. He is happy. Phew, okay, I can just play snooker now because I want to play. Just figuring things out for myself. This is actually good for me.’
“It just stays on top of it,” Rouass added. “Otherwise it’s like self-sabotage or self-harm that you’ve gotten yourself into.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything premieres exclusively in cinemas across the UK on Tuesday, with a live Q&A with O’Sullivan, executive producer David Beckham and director Sam Blair, hosted by Alastair Campbell.
The documentary will then be released on Prime Video in the UK and Ireland on Thursday, before opening in select cinemas across the country on Friday.