Ronnie O’Sullivan’s childhood – from parents' sex shop to father being jailed for murder

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Ronnie O’Sullivan is one of the UK’s most enduring and successful sportspeople to ever fly the flag.

The 46-year-old has done it all in the world of snooker, a modern star of the game The Rocket has reached each and every one of the sport’s heights.

The current world number one has 39 ranking tournament wins and holds three records as the youngest player to ever win the masters at 19, the fastest ever to 147 and the most maximum breaks.

He went pro in 1992, and has periodically graced the top spot on the global leaderboard - he did it the first time in 2002. Now he’s back there again.

Awarded an OBE in 2016 Ronnie is a force of nature within the game, despite his multiple disciplinaries from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

But the Ronnie we see today has come up a long road, and a childhood outside of the norm played no small part in that.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s childhood



Ronnie O'Sullivan's dad made millions running Soho sex shops before 18 years in jail
Ronnie O'Sullivan's dad made millions running Soho sex shops before 18 years in jail

Ronnie O’Sullivan was born in Wordsley in the West Midlands to Ronald John and Maria O’Sullivan, who ran sex shops in Soho, London.

The Financial Times reported that when he was younger he could hear envelopes stuffed with cash thud as they fell through the letterbox of his home.

He grew up in Essex, where his dad kitted out their home with a snooker table.

Young Ronnie made his first century break aged 10, honing his skills in a shed based pool room his father paid for out of the proceeds of the sex shop, according to the Sun.



Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after his victory over England's Judd Trump in the World Championship Snooker final at The Crucible in Sheffield, England on May 2, 2022
Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts after his victory over England's Judd Trump in the World Championship Snooker final at The Crucible in Sheffield, England on May 2, 2022



Ronnie O'Sullivan has developed a reputation as a larger than life character
Ronnie O'Sullivan has developed a reputation as a larger than life character

Speaking with the publication he said: “It was one of those businesses where you could have gone to prison for six months for selling material you weren’t ­supposed to.”

Ronnie turned pro in 1992, but the year was likely bittersweet as his dad was jailed also for murder, following a nightclub brawl that the judge said had “racial overtones”, something Ronnie has strenuously denied.

Speaking about it to the FT, Ronnie said: “He’d do anything for you, shirt off his back”. He blames this willingness to help others for his dad’s sentence.

“That was one of his downfalls. That’s why he ended up going where he went; he was a protector, he was like, ‘If you’re in trouble, then I’m in it with you.’”

His dad would serve 18 years behind bars in total, getting let out of the slammer in 2010.

Ronnie’s mother Maria, who is from Sicily, was also sent to jail for tax evasion, which saw her spend a year behind bars.



Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan is England's finest snooker player

The troubles he faced didn’t slow him down though, becoming the youngest player to win the UK Championship in 1993.

He earned the name Rocket because of the remarkable speed he can take a snooker table from busy to empty,

When he won the 2022 World Snooker Championships at the Crucible, Ronnie Sr was watching as his boy returned to the top.



This post appeared first on Daily Star - Snooker.

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