By Ekerete Udoh
With four beautiful children and a rock-solid marriage, sexy actress, Omotola Jalade- Ekeide is a success story especially in an area where some of her contemporaries and colleagues have failed miserably – the matrimonial department. She is one of the few actresses who have successfully combined the rigors and excruciating schedule of acting while keeping the home front stable and happy.
She has been married to her pilot husband – Mr. Ekeide for over two decades, and the union is still defined by love and deep feeling of affection. Not for her has been the usual drama of rumored infidelity and emotional backstabbing that seems to define relationships and marriages in Nollywood. Of all the scoops and tips on Nollywood’s shenanigans that we are daily deluged with, none has ever been linked to Omotola.
When the sexy actress visited New York some time ago, and at a reception I had arranged for her at the TROPICAL GRILL restaurant/lounge, I informed her that I would love to have an honest and candid interview with her, with the sole purpose of finding out what has been the source of her martial success and the challenges she may have faced remaining true to her values and vows in an industry where infidelity where such vows are sacrificed at the altar of conspicuous consumption edged on by the rich and the powerful who regards popular actresses as trophy acquisitions.
I had told Omotola that my interview with her was going to be decidedly different – it was going to dwell primarily on her personal life and nothing else – a declaration she had enthusiastically agreed to “Thank God it is going to be different from all those hackneyed and generic line of questionnaire I have been used to” she had told me as we sat in her hotel room in Yonkers, New York.
I started by asking her what has been the secret of her success in marriage “I have been favored by the Lord” she began. “I am truly blessed to have been married to one-of-a-kind husband who appreciates what I do, encourages me to excel at my craft. Let me tell you this: I take my marriage very seriously. If you treat your marriage with levity and careless abandon, you will reap the rewards for such bad behavior. My husband is an angel, brought by God to my life, and it has been a blessing having him as my husband.”
As one of the most desirable and sexy actresses in Nollywood and knowing how persistent men of power and influence can get in wanting to have celebrities as trophy lovers, I asked Omotola if she had received material things from men who desired after her. “Sure, I have received lots of goodies from my male admirers.” She deadpanned. So what gives – what is the qui pro\quo? “Nothing” she replied. “I do not give anything in return. I always tell them that I am married and would not compromise my martial vows. If after making that point clear, they still continue to shower me with gifts, maybe believing that something will break in the future, then I cannot help them.”
Asked if she has ever met men that she genuinely took a liking to, and was tempted to sacrifice her marital vows, she answered “Absolutely. I have been tempted many times to cheat on my husband by men I really liked. But when you think of what you stand to lose, the destruction of all you have labored to build, when you weigh all the options, you are left to conclude that it is not worth the trouble. I know some women will find this somewhat objectionable, but if they want to be truthful to themselves, they will agree with me that as married women, we have all faced moments that I have just described.”
Do you feel emotionally detached as a result of many years of marriage? Or to put it differently, has your passion for your husband cooled with time? “Of course, it has” she said matter-of-factly. “Which married woman who has been with her husband for years will in her true state tell you that the feeling has remained the same as it was the first time or the first year she met her husband? It is bound to cool off. What I recommend to women is what I call “Temporary Separation.” You will make yourself unavailable to your husband. Go somewhere – go on vacation with your friends, do something bold, lose weight, look different and after weeks, you come home, looking drop dead gorgeous, and I bet you the fire of passion will be mightily rekindled and you guys will feel brand new again. I have applied this principle in my marriage and it has worked wonders.”
Asked if the desire to rekindle her passion was responsible for the huge weight loss that is very noticeable about her, she countered by saying “you have to love yourself first. I do not see the weight loss you are talking about “she said smiling as if to say “yes I did it and I love the way I look.”Omotola went on to advise women that they “should learn to appreciate the fact that you can live without anyone” and that the “world would not come crashing on you if you did so. I think women should empower themselves while still remaining true to their marriage and husband. If a marriage is stressful, emotionally destructive, I think we should be strong enough to walk away from such damaging unions.” Asked to confirm the widely held notion that she is difficult to work with she answered emphatically “Yes I am difficult. It depends on whom I am dealing with. If you are not focused I bet you, I will be your nightmare. People who are professional about what they do, have no problems with me.” Omotola was full of love for her Caribbean fans “Tell them I love them with all my heart and thank you my Caribbean fans for your love and steadfast devotion.”