Laila Rouass makes her return on UK television in the Holby City series and, of course, the media have been at it, but not in a bad way.
Laila and Ronnie have been on Sunday Kitchen last week-end … if you wondered why he wasn’t in the ES studio at the Shoot Out here is your answer…
‘When he winds me up’ Laila Rouass jibes at Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday Kitchen
LAILA ROUASS jokingly mocked partner Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday Kitchen today as she revealed the food she cooks for the world snooker champion when he “winds her up”.
Saturday Kitchen: Laila Rouass on cooking aubergine for Ronnie
Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt welcomed actress Laila Rouass and world snooker champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, on the BBC cooking show this morning. In the usual fashion, the chef asked the guests what their food heaven and hell were but was taken aback when the actress joked she rustles up Ronnie’s least favourite food when the couple clash.
Matt introduced: “Morning guys, we’ve got a couple of guests today actress Laila Rouass and world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“You’ve both done the show independently before now we’re doing things slightly different today.
“[Laila’s] food heaven is [Ronnie’s] food hell and visa versa, is that right?”
Revealing her food heaven, the actress said: “My food heaven oh god what was it? I can’t remember. Aubergine and coriander.
“I love aubergine because my mum cooked it, it’s Lebanese food and my mum loves cooking Lebanese food. I’ve grown up with aubergine.
“But you’re not a fan, though?” Matt asked Ronnie.
“It’s very hard to get it right. If it’s right it’s okay but if it’s not I don’t like it and coriander is a complete no-no.”
“Some people taste coriander and they think it tastes soapy,” Matt said. “Ronnie, what’s your idea of food heaven?”
“I love fish cod is nice anything fishy,” the snooker champion replied.
“I hate cod I really don’t like I’ve tried to cook it,” Laila commented.
“It’s amazing you still get on,” Matt joked.
“She’s adapted her menu. I put a menu out every Monday,” Ronnie remarked.
“When he winds me up I just make aubergine for supper and then he just starves,” Laila joked.
Later, Matt quizzed the couple on their respective favourite foods and why they were drawn to them.
Laila revealed: “My mother was a chef and her speciality was Lebanese food so they roast a lot of aubergine and that’s something I grew up with. But [Ronnie] can’t stand aubergine.”
“It doesn’t do anything for me, aubergine it doesn’t have any flavour and coriander does the opposite for me it kills me,” Ronnie said. “My mate calls me the fish man because I always have fish wherever I go,” he continued. “Red meat can sit around too long whereas fish goes and I can get on with what I need to do.”
“That’s quite visual, thanks for that,” Matt joked and Laila added: “On a Saturday morning.”
Discussing her imminent return to Holby City as Sahira Shah, the actress said: “I left 2012 and so it’s good to be back. Sahira is a go-getter she’s really talented, she’s really ambitious. It’s like visiting an old friend going back to Holby.
“I was supposed to start filming in May but then we went into total lockdown so it delayed until October hence I only stopped filming two weeks ago.”
“If you’ve got to touch somebody they’ve got to be in your bubble so they bringing in somebody that’s in your bubble,” she explained.
“There was one day Ronnie wasn’t playing and I said Ronnie can come and they looked at his pictures and they said, ‘No, he’s just too hairy we’re never going to be able to match them’ so he didn’t come in in the end.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Laila Rouass’s new life – Buddhism, green tea and early nights
EXCLUSIVE Laila says the snooker champion’s rock and roll days are behind him as he now prefers green tea and turning in at 11pm
He’s not quite at the pipe and slippers stage but it looks like The Rocket’s turbo boosters have been turned down a few notches.
For years, snooker speed king Ronnie O’Sullivan grabbed the headlines for his booze and drug antics as well as his wizardry at the table.
But at 45, a father of three – and even a grandad – the current world champion really does have a more philosophical approach to life.
And he can thank fiancée Laila Rouass for that.
The Holby City actress has been researching the teachings and methods of the Buddha and Greek philosophers as part of her studies in wellbeing.
She says Ronnie has bought into the idea too and is a calmer cueman as a result.
Gone are the days – and nights – of living it up with rock giants like Ronnie Wood and Liam Gallagher.
Now, says Laila, 49, her fella is more likely to be found tucked up in bed for an early night with a cup of green tea.
Having seen the effect on Ronnie, the former Footballers’ Wives star is now setting up a workshop, a website and an Instagram page to help others through the stresses of lockdown.
Laila, who has been with Ronnie for nine years, said: “I enrolled on a Yale University course on wellbeing and happiness which has led to me starting a new initiative about self-compassion.
“It’s been a lifesaver for me. I’m putting together a workshop using the likes of Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher, whose philosophy is about dealing with setbacks – like at the moment.
“To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control. We should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately.
“But individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through self-discipline.
“Buddha’s whole view was about what happens in life not being permanent.
“It’s about changing your mind state. That’s kind of what I’ve done through lockdown. In some ways, it’s been so useful for me to have this time.
“Our mindset also affects how we treat ourselves and how we eat.”
Speaking about how her new philosophy has affected Ronnie, Laila added: “I did the course but he’s kind of got into it as a result.
“There’s a thing called ‘Intuitive Eating’ which sounds a bit Gwyneth Paltrow/hippy dippy, but it’s based in scientific fact and research.
“It’s a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.
“Essentially, it’s the opposite of a traditional diet. It doesn’t impose guidelines about what to avoid and what or when to eat. It’s listening to your body and eating food that makes your body feel good.
“So Ronnie’s started realising, like me, that this stuff actually works. It’s just small practices that you can include in your daily life that make you happier.
“He’s started doing it and is loving it. He knows that if he has a big, fat Maccy D’s he’s not going to feel good afterwards.
“But it’s not easy to get into that mindset and break old habits. It’s easy to realise what it is, but it takes practice to actually do it.” It all seems to be having an impact on Ronnie.
Laila went on: “He’s so boring these days. He likes watching TV, going out for dinner.
“All those rock and roll days are well and truly over.
“Before the pandemic, I’d be like, ‘Let’s go out! Let’s go to the club. Let’s go downstairs and have a dance’. And he’d be, ‘No, mate, no, no, no’ – that’s what he’s like – so we’d be having our green tea at 11 o’clock at night.”
Charismatic Ronnie has long been regarded as the sport’s most naturally gifted player – and its greatest ever.
He has six world titles and many believe he would have more but for off-the-table distractions.
Ronnie has turned to sports psychiatrist Steve Peters over the years, with great success.
He has said that he fancies giving something back himself when he hangs up his cue, possibly as a drugs and alcohol counsellor or carer.
“When I finish playing I want to train as a counsellor. I want to understand the business and mental health side.”
Fans will hope a retired Ronnie is a few years off, of course. He has the small matter of the world championships to defend in April.
He doesn’t make himself favourite to win. But then he’s always been philosophical like that.
Laila might have got Ronnie into the Buddah, early nights and green tea, but she failed to get him on Holby City … and that’s because he’s too hairy!
Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘too hairy’ for Holby City role with girlfriend Laila Rouass
Sahira Shah (Laila Rouassa) will make her return to the hospital tomorrow to run Darwin Ward and over the weekend, Laila was on Saturday Kitchen with her husband and snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan.
With soaps using the two metre rule when filming, it means any scenes that involve two characters being in close proximity either have to be altered or, a family member must be called in to replace the other actor. During Laila and Ronnie’s appearance on Saturday Kitchen, they revealed he wasn’t able to be used as a body double because he was too hairy to be a patient.
Laila told presenter Matt Tebutt: ‘It’s so funny. What happens now is if you’ve got to touch somebody, like a patient, you’ve got to know them, they’ve got to be in your bubble. So they bring in somebody that’s in your bubble and just cut away. I was like ‘oh yeah Ronnie can come’ and they looked at his pictures and they said ‘no no, he’s just too hairy – we’re never going to be able to match them’.
Laila continued: ‘So he didn’t come in in the end. I think it would have been fun to have him as a supporting artist. I think it’s the Italian [in him].’
Well, having seen it close-up, I can’t argue with the”hairy” bit!
Now, surely that’s enough gossipy gossip for an entire year.
I promise, I’m back to snooker tomorrow!