- AFL star to attend Brownlows for first time in years
- Has stayed out of trouble since his last stint in prison in 2020
- Recently revealed as Seven Perth’s sports presenter
Former AFL bad boy Ben Cousins has recalled the moment his turbulent life changed.
Once one of the code’s biggest stars, the former prime minister and Brownlow Medal winner was jailed six times in the space of 13 years for a string of serious offenses.
He finally realized enough was enough when he was released from prison in December 2020 following a seven-month stint behind bars when he was found guilty of harassing and intimidating his former partner.
Nearly three years later, Cousins, 45, has never been in trouble.
He returned to playing football in the park, re-established good relationships with his two young children and, a year later, was back on the red carpet attending AFL functions.
His path to redemption was sealed earlier this year when he landed a full-time job at Seven News in Perth presenting the morning sports bulletin.
Cousins says he feels alive again in his first sit-down interview in years before attending the Brownlow Medal on Monday evening.
Ben Cousins (pictured with Kelley Fergus in 2021) has turned his life around since he was last released from prison almost three years ago
This will be the first time that the 2005 winner has attended the awards ceremony in Melbourne.
The former West Coast Eagles star admits he wasn’t ready to work full time after his longest stint behind bars.
He teamed up with a community football club, Queens Park, with which he had no prior involvement.
What started as several off-season workouts over the summer turned into a few months in front of 1,000 fans.
“I know I’m coming a long way, but I needed to feel like I was making a contribution,” Cousins said. The Australian.
“I was out of my comfort zone and meeting new people. It was football for me that was a constant. I like to get a kick out of it and that’s what got me involved in the community again. This played a very important role in my recovery.
“I felt like I was able to work full time and it was just a really good lesson and a reminder for me, for everyone, of the important role that local football clubs and the community play in life people.
Ben Cousins reads the morning sports bulletin for Seven News Perth weekdays
Cousins spent six stints in prison over the course of 13 years. He is pictured at Fremantle Magistrates Court.
Cousins acknowledged that he had been given more than his fair share of chances to turn his life around.
“I was given a third, fourth and fifth for some reason. But it’s what we have to do. I want to make sure that other people in this kind of situation have the same understanding and support as I did throughout my journey,” he added.
Cousins regularly sees his son Bobby, 11, and daughter Angelique, 9 and now prefers reading a good book before bed rather than going out all night to party until all hours.
Seven News colleagues believe his children are the reason Cousins will not reoffend.
Cousins revealed he was “learning every day” after making his debut as a Seven News sports presenter in June.
‘It was funny. A journey, but I’m learning every day,” said Cousins, who was already contributing to Seven’s AFL coverage as an analyst.
“I can tell you that as the words go by, it’s harder than it looks.”
Ben Cousins (left) celebrates with teammate Chris Judd after the West Coast Eagles won an AFL grand final in 2006.