By Anene Godswill
Celebrity divorce which was previously viewed as a thing of the West is fast gaining weight in Africa, especially in Nigeria. The world has become a global village, so certain cultures and ways of life of people fade away and become replaced by another from a different group of people. We in Africa have mostly abandoned our culture and copied that of the Western world. It’s undoubtedly that divorce holds high constitutional rights in both the Western world and in Africa. This thus explicates the fact that divorce has come to stay in Nigeria.
It’s no doubt that divorce has held it’s ground in Nigeria, it is a fact that it has eaten deep into a particular sector which the country looks up to.The high unanticipated and unwarranted rate of celebrity divorce in Nigeria is becoming unprecedentedly alarming, rising and wary of as people look up to most of these people as role models. It will be quite a fact to say that celebrity marriage is more of a social contract than a sacred institution that remains for a life time.
African values and culture do not support divorce but we cannot overlook the fact that some unions are a living hell and only a separation can save some souls. We also cannot ignore the African values and tradition placed on women. Even the holy books also placed women in the same position. The quest for gender equality and the over-imposing nature of some men has left the institution of marriage seem like a mere object of mockery.
The quest for self satisfaction, independence of will and decision making, lustful exploration, fairytale lives have been the ingredients that engineer divorce among celebrities and other people in general. We cannot overlook what the bible said about divorce, that it could only take place only in the case of infidelity. But today a lot of reasons and non-reasons bring about divorce. One could wonder what the main attractions before marriage are, their purpose of getting married, their views on marriage and their expectations in marriage.These are the many questions that linger on minds of fans who always wish they would have or had such wonderful unions as that of celebrities before their marriages crash. It’s no doubt that these failed marriages sometimes devastates some fans who really love the unions.
Celebrity marriages always have the entire world glaring at them. So it takes two willing, unselfish, tolerating, loving and caring hearts to protect their marriage. Wealth and excitements are just a plus to marriages and not the main ingredients that holds marriages. The key to marriage is love, care, tolerance, faithfulness, trust and understanding.
The media has mostly been blamed for being the tool that have wrecked most celebrity marriages but the truth is that, the individuals involved failed to make the necessary sacrifices to keep their marriages. Popular footballer David Beckham faced the trial of his life when his mistress openly went on TV to expose their affair. Rather than filing for a divorce, his wife Victoria backed her husband and they are still married till date. Same thing happened to Wayne Rooney and his wife, Coleen who backed him and they are still married. So the media has got little or nothing to contribute to celebrity divorces.
There are a long list of Nigerian celebrities who got divorced within few years of their marriage. The reasons for the recurrent and sporadic trend of broken celebrity homes are not far-fetched. Many have assumed that it is a way for those celebrities who feel they have been caged or limited from living their free and flamboyant lifestyles to break away and become free once again.
From Fred Amata who married Inside-out host Agatha, whose marriage hit the rock due to infidelity claims. Nollywood’s Eucharia Anunobi and Charles Ekwu’s marriage also crashed after having a son. Monalisa Chinda is another person on the list; The Rivers state born actress who had featured in no fewer than 50 films married her hearth-robe Dejo Richards in a glamorous wedding. Few years into the marriage that was blessed with a daughter, they both went their separate ways through a divorce with reasons concealed to the public. We cannot talk about celebrity divorce without mentioning Funke Akindel, the talented actress and rave of the moment in Nollywood who went through a divorce few months after her marriage. Shan George also divorced her UK based Tony Nwaosisi when she found out he was married with kids. Princess, Nigerian comedienne and one of the best in the country and her movie producer husband Adeshola Jeremiah also ended their marriage seven months after saying “I do”. Princess confirmed and stated that they had issues right from the beginning but were hoping to work it out but apparently they couldn’t. Hence that was the reason for their separation.
Another high profile celebrity divorce is that of the beautiful actress Chika Ike and her husband Tony Ebireri. The marriage which produced a daughter went sour when Chika got separated from him amidst claims of domestic violence. The divorce case which lingered in court longer than expected was later ruled last year and the actress celebrated her freedom in what she described as a hell of a marriage. She took to the social media to announce her divorce. In her facebook update she wrote as copied, ‘Hi fans thank you all for your love and support over the years. It’s been an emotional journey and I want to announce to you guys that the court has granted me a divorce. I’m now officially divorced. Thanks’.
She got responses which mostly seemed to criticize her and she took it upon herself to write another update explaining her ordeals in the marriage she described as hell. The last we will talk about is that of a movie producer and director Tchidi Chikere and his wife Sophia. The marriage which produced three kids went sour amidst claims of infidelity. Tchidi got separated from his wife of ten years and earlier this year he got married to another actress, Nuella Njubuigbo.
Tchidi claimed his estranged wife never loved nor cared for him all these years. That she was an infidel to the core and went ahead to release pictures on twitter to confirm his claims. Sophia denied the claims through her message which was published on Linda Ikeji’s blog. She described the young man as just a friend and a business partner and blamed Nuella for breaking her marriage and taking her husband. So as it stands now their marriage of ten years is over and Tchidi now happily married to Nuella.
Moving from the Nollywood scene to the music industry, one major and popular divorce was that of Toni Payne and 9ice. The marriage which was an Artiste-Manager marriage went sour after 9ice claimed Toni was cheating on him with his best friend- Ruggedman. The marriage crashed with Toni having gained custody of their son, Zion.
With these few examples cited above, one cannot but agree that the rate of celebrity divorces in Nigeria entertainment industry is creeping in gradually and it would soon come to be accepted by all.