While the life an Olympian and Love Island champion might seem like an absolute dream, Greg O’Shea is determined to be honest about the realities. Opening up about his experience on The Late Late Show, the Limerick man revealed just how hard being thrown into the spotlight was for him.
Greg shared how he went through an extremely tough period in his life, after retiring from rugby, feeling lost without the sport which had been such a major part of his life and daily routine.
Revealing how tough it was to retire after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he told host Ryan Tubridy: “I retired from a sport I didn’t want to retire on. The issue with Rugby Sevens is it just doesn’t bring in the money.”
“I really struggled that I felt like I lost my identity. All I did was go in and train for the guys and when you’re a professional everything is done for you. I’ve lost all that and lost all my mates that I saw every day.”
“I’ve lost the reason to get up in the morning I’m living in a big city by myself which is one of the loneliest cities to live in the world and I also had a relationship at the time where we were never compatible.”
During this time Greg was also dealing with a lot backlash from his Love Island days. Following his breakup with Love Island beau Amber Gill, Greg was subject to a wave of online harassment, which impacted not only him, but also his family, friends, and teammates.
As he said: “Throw in I went on the biggest show in the UK and won it and I’ve been cancelled for the last two years and I haven’t allowed myself to process and in those two years I’ve been getting abused with death threats, losing thousands of followers ever day.”
“Then they start texting my mam DMing my parents and my sisters and my teammates. I remember one teammate got a message saying: ‘when you get to training you should stab Greg in the back’.”
The 27-year-old also revealed the challenges he faced when trying to speak with others about his feeling. Citing a time he confided in a close friend, only to be cut off shortly after, which left Greg hesitant to tell people about how he was struggling.
Explaining: “On the face of it I had everything and what they say to do is talk to people but we don’t speak and it’s such an issue. Men don’t speak to each other.”
It was due to all these factor that left Greg with suicidal ideation. Bravely opening up, he said: “It’s quite upsetting but I was driving around Rathfarnham and I’m in convulsions of tears and I just wanted it all to end. I was just so done and I was like ‘what’s the point’.”
Thankfully Greg opted to seek medical help, and is now sharing his story to help others.
Previously speaking about his battle with mental health, Greg told Doireann Garrihy on The Laughs of You Life podcast what help through this tough period.
Confessing that he began taking medication, and also followed Doireann’s advice of “No one gives a f**k about you,” which she had shared in the past.
As he explained: “I sat down with a piece of paper and a pen and I started writing down the things I cared about, my family, my friends, fitness, presenting.”
“I decided those were my pillars, I’m going to surround myself with my family and friends, I’m going to do my best presenting and hosting and I’m also going to create a fitness app and I’m just going to go hell for leather”.