Barry Hall reveals why his father refused to talk to him for YEARS and reveals the struggles after AFL
Barry Hall has opened up about the rapid deterioration of his relationship with his father after he retired from boxing in his youth – and his struggles to adjust to life after football.
The 43-year-old was outspoken about his tumultuous relationship with his father, who refused to speak to him for ‘years’ after chasing his dream the AFL.
Hall grew up in Broadford, north of Melbourne, where his father Ray wanted his son to become a boxer, a gym that he excelled at as a youngster.
But the AFL’s allure proved too strong for the 289 game veteran, sparking a heartbreaking conversation with his dad – and the start of their rocky relationship.
Barry Hall (pictured with wife Lauren Brant) has opened up about his childhood and mental struggles after his AFL career
Hall clashes with Travis Gaspar of the West Coast Eagles during the Sydney Swans 2005 AFL Grand Final win over the MCG
Hall films Paul Gallen with a clean left hand during their Code War boxing match in Melbourne in November 2019
‘I was boxing at one point and was 15 and about to turn 16. I really didn’t want to do it. I wanted to play footy because my friends were, ”Hall recalled The Herald Sun Fired podcast.
‘I told my father I didn’t want to fight anymore. And that’s when the s ** t hits the fan.
‘After that, he hasn’t spoken to me for years, which you may find exaggerated. But sitting at the table, (there were) no words, nothing. ‘
Without any support from his parents, Hall was selected to play for the Murray Bushrangers in Wangaratta when he was 16 and fought his way to the AFL.
He made his debut for St Kilda in 1996, kicking 746 goals in his illustrious football career, culminating in leading the Sydney Swans to a premiership in 2005.
Hall said he always imagined as a kid lifting the premiership cup in his backyard with a block of wood as a trophy.
“I got injections to play games, so it was quite a struggle to keep the cup up,” he said.
‘It still makes me emotional now. It’s something that no one can ever take away and the Swans have it in their trophy cabinet (forever). ‘
Hall’s 16-season career has been highly controversial, with his aggressive style of play working on the field in several ‘brain fart’ incidents, including his brutal blind punch against Brent Staker in 2008.
Hall threatens Brisbane Lions player Chris Johnson during a game in August 2003. Hall’s aggressive nature on the field was a hallmark of his career
‘I immediately regretted it. As soon as I looked at it on the big screen, I was like, “I’m in a bit of trouble,” Hall said.
The father of two believes his troubled childhood led him to develop issues of anger, sparking some explosive reactions on the footy field.
“It was one of those days when it was a ticking time bomb,” he said.
Hall was suspended for seven games for hitting Staker and hit another game off the sidelines before attempting a strike back at Collingwood’s Shane Wakelin in his second game.
Hall was fired from the Swans in 2009 after his behavior on the field led to a falling out with Swans coach Paul Roos.
“It got a little heated,” he said. ‘I was the captain of the club’s premiership and (Rose) didn’t answer my call.
‘I knew something had to be done from a club perspective. I was upset because it strained so many relationships. ‘
Hall signed with the Western Bulldogs for the last two seasons of his career, where he was treated for depression before retiring in 2011.
Hall celebrated with Western Bulldogs teammate Ben Hudson in the last game of his career in September 2011
Hall suffered an identity crisis after Footy, in which his weight exploded to 125 kilograms due to poor food choices and heavy drinking.
‘Your whole structure is gone, your identity is gone. You get into a state of depression, (thinking) “What am I if I am not?” ‘, He said.
“I ate crap, I drank every night, and when I drink I don’t just have a few, I stick them.”
Hall’s mental health and identity issues only got worse during his retirement, including his resignation from Triple M in 2018.
Hall and his Triple M colleagues spoke of former St Kilda star Leigh Montagna’s partner, who had recently undergone a medical procedure known as a ‘sweep’, which can induce labor.
‘The doctor was a handsome rooster, about forty years old. He swiped his fingers and then licked his fingers, ”Hall said on live radio.
He was immediately fired by the radio station for his comments and soon apologized for what he said was ‘a silly thing to say’.
Hall (pictured with wife Lauren and children Miller and Houston) suffered an identity crisis after footy where he drank heavily
Hall was fired from Triple M after making insensitive comments about former St Kilda star Leigh Montagna’s partner (pictured left) before giving birth
‘It is not a reflection of who I am or what my views are. I am a proud father and devoted partner and have nothing but respect for women, ”Hall said at the time.
The phone call dried up his income, leaving Hall, his partner Lauren Brant and young son Miller in a difficult space.
“All the notes I had and every other income stream I had was gone,” he said.
‘I had no money. We weren’t broke. We had a roof over our heads and food on the tables, but it was a challenge. ‘
Hall and the former Hi-5 singer welcomed their second son Houston in May 2019.
“I kiss my kids 20 or 30 times a day,” he said. ‘I love them so much. I just don’t know how you couldn’t do that as a father. ‘
Hall with his sons Houston and Miller. He believes his childhood was the root of his anger issues in later life
Hall is using his time in the coronavirus pandemic to help Victorians grappling with ill mental health in a program called Blokes United.
Launched by Hall, former Fremantle player Richard Maloney and North Melbourne star Shaun Higgins, the initiative aims to lower suicide rates among men.
The men offer help via online conference calls to their 13,000 members, who give tips and tools with different guests every week.
‘It’s almost like a therapy for me. I enjoy helping people and it makes me feel good about myself, ”Hall said.
Hall believes his troubled childhood led him to understand his anger issues later in life and how to take responsibility for his actions.
“You have to understand to fix it,” he said.
‘It took me to get fired (by the swans) to go to the Western Bulldogs to really do something about myself.
“I was finally ready to listen and open my mind and take responsibility.”
Hall and wife Lauren pose during former AFL star’s training camp for his boxing match with ex-NRL player Paul Gallen in 2019