These days it’s quite acceptable that celebrities knock out an autobiography that mainly consists of fluff and the odd salacious tit-bits that gets the tongues wagging, but certainly nothing that could ever compromise their seemingly endless career.
AP McCoy has bucked this trend considerably by launching a book that is so personal it has shocked quite a few people. Not one to shy away from what he thinks, McCoy has written a thoughtful, insightful book that gives the rest of us mere mortals a peek into the life of a professional jockey – warts and all.
The memoir doesn’t just chronicle the prowess and dedication of Ireland’s most successful jump jockey. It also reflects on his personal obsession with the sport and the punishing toll it takes on his personal life, which at times borders on the masochistic.
In a story that, surprisingly, many women will be able to relate to, while AP fought on the track to maintain his champion jockey title, ultimately it was at home where his then girlfriend and now wife Chanelle paid the price.
‘Riding horses and riding winners and being champion was my priority,’ he admits. ‘It was as if, once I had Chanelle near me, she ceased to be my priority. We fought, just a little in the beginning, then a bit more. We got to spend two days of the week together at most, and we spent a lot of the time fighting. It didn’t make sense. And the fights were usually my fault. If I had had a bad day — and I could usually find something bad to be down about even on the good days — I was certain to engineer a situation in which I could give out to her, make her cry.’
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Mail on Sunday, Chanelle has has her own say. In a very candid interview, she gives her side of the story: talking about what life with AP McCoy was like as he journeyed through the morose and self-centred years of his 20s, how she painfully watched as her husband became obsessed with work; and how she felt about the night AP caught her smoking and kicked her out of their home.
And despite all the pain she endured, Chanelle also tells how the experience has helped her grow as a wife and a mother… and she describes the loving, caring and sensitive side of the 37-year-old jockey who is now a caring husband and wonderful father.
The book is remarkably honest, if not occasionally painful to read at times as revealing such personal, intimate details on his relationship with his wife often feels voyeuristic and even mentally abusive. But kudos to McCoy for taking the shine off the perceived glamour of being a professional sportsman and showing us just how the reality day-to-day of a champion, even if it stings a little.
My Autobiography by AP McCoy with Donn McClean, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson is out now.