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Ronnie O'Sullivan Remembers Family Struggles Which Led To "The Mad Seven Years"

Ronnie O'Sullivan Remembers Family Struggles Which Led To "The Mad Seven Years"
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Ronnie O'Sullivan has carved out an outstanding career in snooker - but it came off the back of a tumultuous period at the backend of his teenage years, which he powerfully discussed on Friday's Late Late Show.

Promoting his new book 'Unbreakable,' O'Sullivan was one of Ryan Tubridy's guests on Friday night, and was as entertaining a presence as always.

He said that he was not used to the talk show element of fame, but that he was happy to spend some time in Dublin and enjoy "a few Guinness."

Earlier in the segment, O'Sullivan discussed the legal issues surrounding his parents which had led to him going "off the rails" for a period of nearly seven years, and explained how it had begun to affect his career as his wild lifestyle escalated.


Ronnie O'Sullivan on Late Late Show


Ronnie O'Sullivan's childhood was defined by two major incidents involving his parents.

The most significant came when he was 15 years old, and his father - Ronnie Sr - was convicted of murder after stabbing a man to death. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and O'Sullivan's mother would be jailed three years later for tax evasion, leaving Ronnie Jr tasked with caring for his younger sister.

Speaking on Friday's Late Late Show, O'Sullivan revealed the torment that had followed his parents' convictions, and how he was driven to a life of "mad" partying with no one around to hold him accountable:


I was 15 - he [his father] was a massive part of my life. He was my rock, my mentor. He trained me to become - hopefully - a world champion one day. Big character, huge character. Massively [flamboyant], he'd take over the room.

That rocked me, I was only 15 at the time, and I found that quite difficult to deal with. I lose my way a little bit - about three years after that my mum went away for tax evasion. That was when I went off the rails a bit.

I tried [to care for his sister], but it was hard.

Then I started drinking and partying and all that sort of stuff. With my parents, I always felt accountable to them not to misbehave because I didn't want to disappoint them. Then, when my dad went away...and my mum went away, there was no one around to keep me in check.

Those six months I went off the rails and I didn't really recover for about seven or eight years. I went wild, really.

I was getting involved with the wrong crowd. A lot of people used to say that I was easily led. My mum would say, 'oh, you shouldn't hang around with them, they're no good for you.' I was the one instigating it so I couldn't blame anyone other than myself. I went on a mad one, really.

O'Sullivan went on to say that the "mad seven years" weren't all bad, and that he enjoyed many of the parties in the first three years particularly.

He noted, however, that it began to take a toll on his career, as he was disqualified from a tournament for smoking cannabis, and began to skip tournaments when he anticipated he would fail a drug test.

It was a powerful segment, and O'Sullivan would go on to discuss his new book, and the successes he has enjoyed in the years since. He has gone on to become one of the most successful and beloved snooker players of all time, and his Late Late Show appearance will only have endeared him more to sports fans across Ireland.


SEE ALSO: Memorable Scenes As Mark Selby Achieves Snooker Immortality With First 147 In A Crucible Final

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