Mark Selby made history at the World Snooker Championship, becoming the first player to make a 147 break in the final. Still, it wasn’t enough to secure victory. Luca Brecel, the Belgian Bullet, won 18-15, his first victory in The Crucible. After the match, Selby praised his opponent and announced that his wife, Vikki Layton, was sick. 

The nature of Vikki Layton’s illness is unclear

“I didn’t finish how I wanted to, but with things going on off the table as well, not just with me but with Vikki as well you know, obviously I realize that health is more important,” Selby said. 

Selby revealed that Vikki was ill but didn’t disclose the nature of the illness. Luca Brecel used his acceptance speech to comfort Selby and Vikki: “I just want to say ‘stay strong’ because I’ve heard some news and I don’t know if I should say it but I just wanted to say ‘stay strong Vikki’.”

Vikki has played a crucial role in Selby’s successful career. A former pro snooker player and captain of Ireland for a decade, Vikki met Selby at the World Pool Championships in 2006. “She knows what it takes to get to the top and what you have to do. In that way, it’s obviously great and that’s why we’re close and we work,” Selby told The BBC

The pair got engaged in 2010 and were married in Mexico in May 2011. In 2014, Vikki and Selby welcomed their first child, Sofia. 

Vikki improved Selby’s game and his mental health. Selby has opened up about his mental health struggles and Vikki’s pivotal role in his recovery. He told The Daily Mail that Vikki was the first to notice his mental health decline. 

Selby was prescribed antidepressants, which worked until he relapsed before the Masters. After dropping out of the 2022 Masters at the quarter-final stage, Selby tweeted:

“Just want to apologise to all my friends and family for letting them down. Mentally not in a good place at moment, had a relapse and trying to bottle it up and put a brave face on is not the way. I promise I will get help and be a become a better person. #mentalhealth.”

Before the 2023 Masters, Selby talked about his struggles and their effect on Vikki. He explained that though Vikki tries to stay strong, she sometimes struggles to cope with his mental health declines. Selby said:

“That is something the psychiatrist made a real point of – telling me that whatever I was feeling, those closest to me would be feeling the effects as bad or worse. And she has been a rock, I genuinely think but for her I might not be sat here now. I owe her everything.”

Everyone in the snooker community is praying for Vikki’s quick recovery. Selby hopes to have her by his side soon, claiming he plays better in Vikki’s presence. He told BBC:

“If I could, financially, I would take her to every single tournament I play in, because the majority of the time, every tournament she comes to I tend to do well, get to the latter stages, if not win it. When she’s not there, I’ve not done so well.”