Troubled ex-AFL superstar Ben Cousins has broken his 10 year silence on his fall from grace and long battle with drug addiction – and gone on a furious rant about the custody of his children.
No topic was off limits when the Brownlow Medallist and former West Coast Eagles premiership superstar, 41, sat down with Channel Seven presenter Basil Zempilas in Perth about his turbulent post-AFL life and several stints behind bars.
The candid interview Ben Cousins: Coming Clean shows confronting footage of a furious Cousins in the backseat of a car over the custody of his kids.
‘I don’t think a mother plays any more of an important role than the bloke does,’ Cousins says in the rant filmed last month.
‘It needs to be stopped. Every time I see the coppers I say to them ”You guys have let me down”.
‘The community has let me down. My family, her family. This has gone on for too long.
‘If I get to a point where and I’m going to pick a cause single-mindedly… or with that cause towards you – I want there to be carnage.
‘Blood will spill. So, it’s up to you guys so if you want to change this.’
Sporting long hair in a ponytail and a scruffy beard, Cousins admitted he’d ‘stuffed things up royally’ and that it was time to put things right.
But he gave an unconvincing answer when asked if he was still using drugs.
‘I’m just thinking how… I’m just not sure about how to answer that,’ he said.
‘My issues have been more greater and complex than my drug use.
‘In a perfect world, I would’ve have liked come out the other side a long time ago. That hasn’t been the case.’
Cousins laughed when asked about a nude photo the surfaced on social media last year.
‘I can’t believe that happened the way it did,’ he said.
‘I was trying to get a root.’
He was grilled about his tumultuous relationship with the mother of his children and former partner, Maylea Tinecheff.
In January 2018, Cousins was released from prison after serving 10 months of the one-year sentence for breaching a restraining order taken out by Ms Tinecheff.
He was back in jail months later following charges making threats and breaking a violence restraining order.
He spent eight months in jail until his release on bail last April.
Two charges of stalking and threatening to harm Ms Tinecheff were later dropped.
Cousins later pleaded guilty to the remaining 12 offences of breaching a violence restraining order and was sentenced to eight months in prison, which he had already served.
‘As you know, I wasn’t convicted of some of those things’, Cousins told Zempilas.
‘But I agree with you yeah, some of it is inexcusable.’
When asked if he was embarrassed about where he ended up, Cousins replied: ‘I’m not proud.’
He conceded he ‘almost had it all’ during the prime of his career with the Eagles in the mid 2000s.
‘It’s important for me to remember and remind myself of that because I am one of the lucky people,’ Cousins said.
‘I’m one of the luckiest people I know.’
Cousins’ eyes lit up at the mention of his children and spoke about his eight-year-old son Bobby’s love of football.
‘I haven’t pushed him into it or whatever, but he’s got a bad case of it at the moment,’ he said.
‘When I got out (of jail) last time I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here was on, so my boy he just loves f***ing spiders and lizards and snakes and everything.
‘I said to him, ”would you like dad to go on that?” He goes, ”I’d love you to go on that, dad”. But he said, ”I think you have to do something professional first”.
‘F***ing not far from the truth.’
He also addressed the cocaine overdose death of his best mate Chris Mainwaring, whom he saw just hours before he died.
Cousins had this message to today’s youth about taking drugs.
‘I would encourage them to think long and hard before they decide to go down that path.’
The program was Cousins’ first television sit-down interview in ten years since his 2010 documentary ‘Such is Life’, where he spoke extensively about his struggles with drug addiction during his career.
The documentary remains one of the most watched documentaries in Australian TV history.
In January 2018, Cousins was released from prison.
He was offered a job working with his former club the West Coast Eagles in a ‘community and game development’ role but left departed the role within months after reportedly failing to turn up for work on multiple occasions.
He was back in jail months later following charges of drug possession, making threats and breaking a violence restraining order.
He spent eight months in jail until his release on bail last April.
Cousins was in March fined $1,750 for possessing meth and hiding it up his anus.
Cousins played 238 games and booted 205 goals for the West Coast Eagles, where he won a premiership with the club in 2006.
He was later sacked by the club and copped a one year ban from the AFL.
The Richmond Tigers gave Cousins a second chance in 2009, where he played 32 more games and 12 more goals before he retired in 2010.
‘I’ll always regret what I’ve put my family through. There’s a lot of shame and regret. People wonder why I haven’t broken down or shed a tear (in public). My tears are something that I hold close to me; they’re for me and my family,’ Cousins said at his retirement announcement.
THE TROUBLED LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN COUSINS:
1996 – Makes AFL debut with West Coast and is named the league’s Rising Star
2001 – Named club captain of West Coast at age 23
2002 – Breaks his arm falling down a flight of stairs at a nightclub months after punching his teammate Daniel Kerr
2005 – (May) Is quizzed by police about association with underworld identities
– (September) Wins Brownlow medal as the AFL’s best and fairest player
Cousins after the 2006 AFL Grand Final
2006 – (February) Swims across a Perth river to escape a booze bus
– (September) Wins AFL premiership with the Eagles
– (December) Is arrested after passing out in front of Melbourne’s Crown Casino and spends four hours in jail
2007 – (March) Suspended by West Coast after missing training session
– (April) Goes to a drug rehabilitation facility in the US
– (October) Revealed to have visited fellow Eagles legend Chris Mainwaring twice on the night he died of a drug overdose
– (October) Arrested and charged with drug offences that are later dropped
– (November) Eventually sacked by West Coast and banned from the AFL for one year
2008 – AFL re-registers Cousins and he is signed by Richmond
2010 – Retires from the AFL but releases autobiography and documentary
Cousins has been charged with drug possession and refusing a drug test in 2007, but the charges were later dropped
2015 – Arrested three times before leading police on a slow-speed car chase
2016 – (June) Spotted behaving erratically and directing traffic on a highway
– (October) In and out of court over drug offences and breaches a restraining order taken out by his ex-partner
2017 – Jailed for one year for breaching restraining order by calling his ex-lover thousands of times
2018 – (January) Released from jail on parole just 10 months into his sentence
He takes up a community support role with the West Coast Eagles – a requirement of his parole conditions
– (May): Reports emerge he hasn’t been seen at the club for a month
The club confirms the he told officials in April he no longer wanted the job
– (August) Arrested and charged with drug possession and breaching a restraining order
2019 – (February) He was fined $1,750 for possessing meth and hiding it up his anus while in jail
(March) Cousins pleaded not guilty to 14 offences in court, including breaching a family violence restraining order and a count each of aggravated stalking and threatening to injure, endanger or harm
(April) Cousins is released from jail on bail after eight months inside.