I received the following email from a journalist from one of the most reputable media houses in Nigeria, The punch, to do an interview. I have kept away from doing interviews lately but I obliged, even dragged my wife who is constantly avoiding media attention into it.
“How are you doing. My name is ***** *******. I am an entertainment writer with PUNCH Newspapers. I got your email from your Twitter handle.
We would like to have an interview with you and your wife for one of our entertainment pages. It is called Celebrity Couple.
It is a page for celebrities who are married. They talk about marriage, love, experiences and advice to other couples and intending ones too.
It would be nice to have the interview Sir. Would that be possible. Thanks a lot.”
The article was finally posted this morning with the following title: “A nude picture won’t excite my husband – eLDee’s wife”
I am disappointed that a reputable newspaper would seek such a distasteful headline from an interview about the celebration of love and marriage. Please read the interview below. I may be a little upset because I dragged Dolly into it but I expected some class from Punch and its editors…or maybe I’m overreacting. First of all she meant that as a joke, not literally. Secondly, why taint a beautiful thing with negativity just to get page views? If I can’t trust Punch’s editors, who can I trust to uphold the integrity of simple journalism?
How did you meet your wife?
eLDee: I met her at the University of Lagos where I studied for a degree in Architecture. She was a student of Urban and Regional Planning, so we shared some faculty resources. I saw her through the window of my architecture studio one day and she was with a friend of mine. I dropped my drawing instrument and went to say hello to my friend, knowing he would introduce us. He introduced us and later, he told me she is a good person to marry.
How did the relationship develop?
eLDee: We spent a lot of time together while we were students at UNILAG; some people thought we were siblings. When I moved to the United States of America in 2002/2003, she stayed back to finish her bachelor’s degree and then travelled to the United Kingdom for her master’s degree. We travelled back and forth often to visit each other, and shortly after she graduated, I proposed. We’ve been together since we met in March 1998.
How long did you date before you got married?
eLDee: We dated for about nine years. We were practically functioning like a married couple, just not under the same roof, and we didn’t have children until after the marriage.
How did he propose to you?
Dolapo: From the outset, he made it clear that he wanted me to be his wife. However, he presented me with a ring while I was holidaying in the USA. I had just completed my master’s degree dissertation, and I was trying to unwind. I had no doubt that it would happen one day. I really was shocked when my breakfast in bed turned out to be a beautiful ring.
Did you date other ladies before you met her?
eLDee: Yes, I was a bit of a playboy but everything changed when I met her. From our first week together, I knew she was my soulmate.
What were the initial attractions?
eLDee: Initially, I was attracted to her beauty but as time went on, I realised she is also intelligent. It was easy to tell she was raised in a great home. She is honest, enlightened, open minded, brilliant, and truly caring.
Dolapo: His sincerity and integrity got me attracted to him.
Were there oppositions from family members?
eLDee: I found my soulmate and we became inseparable. Our families could not have stopped us from being together.
Do you regret not marrying an entertainer?
eLDee: I am glad I did not, because someone would have to look after the home, while I am on tour. I am particular about being always there for my kids, so one of us would have had to quit to make that happen. In fact, I decided to take a break from active touring in order to spend more time with my girls, because I did not enjoy being away from home. It would have been tougher if both of us were always away.
Has marriage deprived you of the liberty to do certain things?
eLDee: Marriage only deprives you of things that weren’t good for you in the first place. I don’t feel restricted or deprived by my marriage at all. I am married to the best woman in the world.
Was it easy to adjust as a married woman?
Dolapo: I had to put my career on hold in order to dedicate myself to family life; that was quite a challenge, but it was easy because my family is my priority. When you love your family, putting their needs before yours comes naturally.
What would you like to change about each other?
eLDee: I know this sounds cliché, but my wife is perfect. If every man had a wife like mine, the world would be a better place.
Dolapo: If you truly love someone, you would love them the way they are. Change should not be imposed on anybody.
How would you describe your marriage?
Dolapo: It is genuine and filled with lots of love and respect.
Do you have access to each other’s phones and social media accounts?
eLDee: There is nothing to hide. She knows my passwords, I know hers too but we do not feel the need to check up on one another. We have been together for 17 years and not once have we hidden our phones from each other.
Dolapo: It’s a non-issue. We respect each other’s privacy, but there’s never been anything to hide.
How do you spend time together?
eLDee: We have our own mini book club. We read lots of business and self-development books together. After reading, we discuss and analyse the author’s perspectives. Sometimes, we go out with the kids to a neighbourhood park or shopping arcade. At other times, we stay at home and talk about any and everything.
Do you operate a joint bank account?
eLDee: Yes, and I believe it is important. Absolute honesty about finance is necessary in a marriage. It eliminates false expectations and builds trust.
What is the secret of your successful marriage?
eLDee: We have stayed happy by staying true to each other. I married my best friend. We hide nothing from each other. She expresses herself without fear of retribution and so do I. The sacrifices we make for each other are borne out of genuine love and respect, and it helps us work through any difficult situation we encounter.
What are the challenges of being married to someone who is in the public eye?
Dolapo: I am a private person, so sometimes I cringe at media attention.
What causes quarrels between the two of you?
Dolapo: I would say impatience.
How do you make up when there is a quarrel?
Dolapo: If it is not a fundamental issue, we let it go and move on. But if it is a serious issue, then I was obviously right and Lanre was wrong.
eLDee: We hardly ever quarrel about anything. Every couple has little fights or arguments, but what is important is that you both continue to make efforts to be better for each other. One rule we have is we never ever go to bed upset. No matter how big or small the issue is, we must resolve it and make up before going to bed. It works.
What causes failure in some celebrity marriages?
eLDee: Sometimes people don’t understand the simple rules of matrimony. What a man wants the most in a relationship is to be respected, and what a woman wants the most is to be loved. If there is a swing in the balance of those two things, the relationship is unlikely to survive. Celebrities must leave that persona outside of their home. Either spouse who earns more must honour the love and respect balance if they want their relationship to survive.
How did you feel about the nude picture that was allegedly tweeted at your husband by his colleague?
Dolapo: Celebrities are easy targets for scandals. I know eLDee and a nude picture is not something that would get him excited. If it had been a nude microphone, perhaps I would have been worried.
What pet names do you call each other?
eLDee: I call her Babe, Baby or My love.
Dolapo: I call him Baby or Husband.