Ronnie O’Sullivan has spoken about his convict father’s encouragement at the start of his snooker career when he was just 10.
The world famous player, 47, has opened up about his battles with addiction and fighting his demons in a access-all-areas documentary made by David Beckham’s film company, which is set to hit cinemas and Amazon Prime next month.
Speaking to the camera on Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything, the star revealed his father Ronnie Sr told him in the early days of his illustrious career: ‘You’re gonna be the best player in the world’.
Soho sex shop owner Ronnie Sr’s name became notorious in its association with his son, after he was jailed in 1991 – when Ronnie Jr was just 16 – for the brutal stabbing of Bruce Bryan, a driver to the gangster Charlie Kray, in a nightclub in Chelsea.
While the documentary centres around Ronnie Jr’s career and his own demons, viewers caught a glimpse of his father in throwback footage, as he joked with a pundit who interviewed a 14-year-old Ronnie.
An honour: Ronnie O’Sullivan has spoken about his convict father’s encouragement at the start of his snooker career when he was just 10
Opening up: The world famous player, 47, has opened up about his battles with addiction and fighting his inner demons in a new access-all-areas documentary made by David Beckham ‘s film company, which is set to air on Amazon next month
Speaking out: While the documentary centres around Ronnie Jr’s career and his own demons, viewers caught a glimpse of his father in throwback footage, as he joked with a pundit who interviewed a 14-year-old Ronnie
An honour: Ronnie Jr is pictured with his mother Maria, who also spent time in prison
Family affair: Ronnie Snr. made millions running sex shops in Soho but was imprisoned for murder in 1992, before being released in 2010 (pictured with son Ronnie)
Ronnie Sr made millions running sex shops in Soho in the Eighties but was jailed when his son was just 16 for the murder of Bryan, a driver to gangster Charlie Kray – the brother of notorious criminals Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
Then aged 37, Ronnie Sr had been ‘binge’ drinking on champagne with a friend in 1991 when he went ‘looking for trouble’ at a club in the King’s Road.
He set upon Bryan and his brother Kelvin, allegedly hurling racist abuse at the two black men. Pulling out a six-inch hunting knife, Ronnie Sr stabbed him to death.
Kelvin later said: ‘It was like a horror movie. He turned on Bruce and began stabbing and slashing at him with a huge knife. My brother had his arms up as protection but O’Sullivan was in a frenzy.’
Ronnie Sr then turned on Kelvin, stabbing him in the stomach. He has always argued the attack was not racially motivated. Ronnie Jr has stood by him, insisting his father has ‘never been a trouble maker’.
The star, widely regarded as the greatest talent ever to play the game, dedicated his first of three world championships to his father. He has battled depression, which some have suggested might even be linked to his father’s absence.
When he was 19, both his parents were in jail after his Italian-born mother was given a one-year sentence for tax evasion. Ronnie had to look after the family business and younger sister, Danielle, while rising to the top of his sport.
Following on from his imprisonment, last year it was revealed Ronnie Sr is living in a campervan with a woman half his age – a spirituality and ‘clean living’ enthusiast who went to the same private school as Holly Willoughby.
Starring role: The Edge of Everything, which will air on Amazon Prime Video next month, charts O’Sullivan’s bid to win a record-equalling seventh World Snooker Championship title
New beginnings: Ronnie Snr. has hit the road with entrepreneur Tiffany Kushner, 34, after splashing £94,000 on a luxury Mercedes motorhome
He hit the road with health drink entrepreneur Tiffany Kushner, 34, after they became ‘bored with comfortable living’ and splashed out £94,000 on a luxury Mercedes motorhome.
In a social media video at the time, Tiffany detailed how she went from ‘browsing napkin rings’ on the Harrods website to embracing ‘full time van life’ in a bid to ‘let go of the myth that owning property and possessions’ represents success.
She says her and Ronnie Snr’s long-time ambition is to ‘get our own plot of land to live sustainably and grow our own food’ – although in the meantime they are enjoying Waitrose deliveries and David Lloyd gym memberships.
At one point they are seen meeting members of a ‘peace commune’ whose Instagram page includes a photo of a man in a t-shirt describing the Covid vaccine as ‘poison’ and another post comparing lockdown advocates to Nazis.
Looking back: Tiffany went to the same posh West Sussex school as television presenter Holly Willoughby
Aspirations: Tiffany wrote: ‘It’s the best decision we have ever made, letting go of that myth that owning property and possessions is seen as achieving something’
Tiffany praises them for doing an ‘amazing job raising awareness of the Covid vaccine, if you can even call it that’. It’s not clear when the couple met but there are photos of them together from as far back as August 2020.
Ronnie Jr’s troubled life and incredible work is set to be documented in the new show, with particular attention on his battle with addictions.
In the trailer, he is seen saying: ‘My addictions are good in many ways because it drives me on – but it needs to be managed. People could see that I was imploding. I wasn’t very good at having this stuff locked inside me…
‘I never want to go to those dark places, but sometimes you have to.’
His fiancée Footballers’ Wives star Laila Rouass, says: ‘There is just so much self-criticism involved and that is just soul-destroying.’
‘The Rocket’ allowed the cameras to follow him everywhere during his bid to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven modern era Snooker World Championship titles.
This included affixing a microphone to his waistcoat during matches to capture his monologues under pressure.
The documentary was made by Studio 99, the production company owned by England and Manchester United legend Beckham.
Their other work includes the recent Beckham Netflix documentary and the Paramount+ series Fever Pitch: The Battle for the Premier League.
O’Sullivan’s documentary features interviews with his close friends including artist Damien Hirst and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones, as well as snooker legends Hendry and Jimmy White.
Snooker star Ronnie has opened up on his battles with addiction and mental demons in a new documentary about his extraordinary career
Using never-before-seen family footage, it charts his rise to snooker stardom from precocious teenager through struggles with mental health problems, to the accomplished and adored player he is today.
The filmmakers received their dream finale when O’Sullivan beat Judd Trump 18-13 to win his seventh world crown.
O’Sullivan said: ‘My highs and lows have been well-documented by the media but I felt like now was the right time to do something more definitive – something that I can look back and reflect on as I contemplate retirement.
‘Going into my 7th World Championship I wasn’t sure I had it in me but allowing the cameras in ended up driving me on in many ways and gave me a different perspective.’
Director Sam Blair said: ‘Throughout the making of this film, Ronnie allowed his charisma, complexities and contradictions appear naturally – he was profoundly himself, raw and unfiltered, and that made the often awkward and complicated situation of making a film simple for me.
‘My job, as I explained to Ronnie, was to do justice to his story and his experience, and to do that we had to find ways for the audience to grasp the full bandwidth of his experience – from rapture to meltdown…
The Edge of Everything, which will air on Amazon Prime Video next month, charts O’Sullivan’s bid to win a record-equalling seventh World Snooker Championship title
‘I see the film as a collaboration with Ronnie to achieve that aim, and I think its power is that we get to see that full range unfold in the present tense…
‘It is a film about a great artist at work, but also about a person struggling with themselves and the factors in their life that are out of their control.’
Nicola Howson for Studio 99 said – ‘Ronnie is a complex genius who defied convention and captured the hearts and admiration of snooker fans over many years.
‘His story is quite simply remarkable and will have deep resonance with audiences. We’re grateful to Ronnie and Sam for creating this unflinchingly honest and raw account of what it takes to be a champion.’
Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Edge of Everything is available exclusively in cinemas across UK & Ireland on November 21 and launches on Prime Video on November 23. Theatrical release includes LIVE Q&A featuring Ronnie and very special guests.
The documentary was made by David Beckham’s production company Studio 99