Ronnie O’Sullivan’s wife has opened up on the ‘soul destroying’ reality of watching ‘demons’ dictate the mood of her husband throughout a tumultuous snooker career.
O’Sullivan is one of the finest sportsmen of his generation, and yet in his upcoming Amazon Prime documentary, Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything, the snooker star sits down in one scene with his wife Laila Rouass to talk about his struggles away from the baize.
Sitting down together after O’Sullivan lost 6-4 to Neil Robertson at the Masters in 2022, Rouass explains how ‘hard’ it has been to see her husband go on an emotional rollercoaster.
‘I want you to do what makes you to be happy,’ she says. ‘I don’t tell you to stop or to carry on. I would never put you in a situation like that.
‘I am OK with it. I just think it’s about management. There’s so much self-criticism involved and a lot of time on your own 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 on his turbulent family life and his determination to continue
O’Sullivan, who speaks so candidly in the film about topics such as his dad going to prison on a life sentence for murder, chimes in: ‘But I think I am much more comfortable with it now than I have ever been.
‘If I didn’t stop before, when I was really uncomfortable, why would I stop now if I feel more comfortable with it? It is as if I have overcome my demons in a way.’
Rouass is able to extract a poignant and honest reflection from O’Sullivan that snooker has taken as much from him as it has given.
‘I think that’s your mood today,’ she responds. ‘When you see it in a romantic way. But the reality is it’s hard to watch somebody go through that emotionally. That’s when the questions come in.
‘”Jesus, why is he doing this? Why does he put himself through it?” It’s like so soul-destroying. But that’s because I think you do love it, as much as you maybe hate to admit it.’
There is an acknowledgement from both that the release of his dad, Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr, had a positive impact on him.
His wife says the release of his dad (left) from prison allowed O’Sullivan to focus on snooker
In a new documentary, O’Sullivan details his dad’s parting message as he went to prison
O’Sullivan was just 16 when his father murdered Bruce Bryan – the driver of Charlie Kray, brother of notorious gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie – in a Chelsea nightclub.
His dad was released from prison in Derby in 2010 and Rouass is convinced that closure allowed her husband to turn a corner with snooker.
‘It did help. It helped having him out, and knowing he’s alright,’ O’Sullivan added.
‘I have done my time. He did his time. We did it together. Now he is out. He’s happy. Phew, alright, I can just play snooker now because I want to play. Just working stuff out for myself. This is actually good for me.’
‘It’s just keeping on top of that,’ Rouass added. ‘Otherwise it’s like self-sabotage or self-harm, which you have gone into.’
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything premieres exclusively in cinemas across the UK on Tuesday, featuring a live Q&A with O’Sullivan, executive producer David Beckham and director Sam Blair, hosted by Alastair Campbell.
The documentary is then released on Prime Video in the UK & Ireland on Thursday before opening in select cinemas nationwide on Friday.