In the last few days, Solomon Akiyesi whose name did not a ring a bell to many before then, suddenly became the most spoken about actor when he tried to contract another marriage in Lagos while his marriage to Lillian, his wife in Port Harcourt subsists. That the wife stormed the church and the proceedings were disrupted is tired news already. Findings have also pointed in the direction that Akiyesi actually had a wife before he met Lillian. He was said to be married to one Ezinne and as of the time he married Lillian, his previous marriage had not been dissolved.
Though the unfolding drama has given the actor the image of an unrepentant funky husband, his is not the first marriage scandal in Nollywood, even if it appears to be the biggest at present.
Failed marriages and romance scandals have become a recurrent decimal in Nigeria’s highly rated movie industry. Just before the Akiyesi incident in Lagos, the media had been awash with tales and allegations of husband snatching levelled against Foluke Daramola who is now married to Kayode Salako whose ex-wife, a Pastor, has alleged that her husband was snatched using diabolic means.
Interestingly, Foluke Daramola-Salako too has had her share of a failed marriage. For about four years, she was married and she seemed happy about it. Insiders disclosed that the first major rift in her first marriage occurred barely two weeks into the marriage but the couple went on hoping to be able to patch things up until the centre could no longer hold.
And before the Foluke Daramola issue came up, perhaps the biggest scandal that rocked Nollywood in recent times was the Bisi Ibidapo-Obe and Dino Melaye saga. The actress claimed to be carrying the politician cum activist’s baby, a claim he denied vehemently. The issue further led to aspersions being cast on Nigerian actresses.
One other actress who has not had it rosy when it comes to marriage is Shan George. Her first marriage was contracted while she was still in her teens and lasted about 9 years. After years of being single, she gave marriage a shot again. Sadly, her marriage to Tony was short lived.
Like Shan George, Bukky Wright too is one successful actress who had to go through a failed marriage. As she moved on, her relationship with Bolaji Saheed was widely reported, their break-up enjoyed even much more media attention when it happened.
When Clarion Chukwura added the suffix “Abiola” to her name, many thanked God for her. The name was reverted without publicity later. Not a few people also remember her marriage to London based Femi Egyptian, a union that packed up not long after it was contracted.
Ayo Adesanya’s romance with Wasiu Alabi Pasuma was not a secret while it lasted. When she married Goriola Hassan, the two were hot in the make-believe industry and were seen as an ideal couple by many upcoming acts then. But like others with irreconcilable differences, the relationship came to an unceremonious end.
Many had thought with Monalisa Chinda and Segun Dejo-Richards’ knowledge of the showbiz world, they would be able to cope as husband and wife, alas, they were wrong. Both have since moved on, there are reports of alleged cracks in the marriage Segun went into after his divorce with Monalisa.
Eucharia Anunobi, Sandra Achums, Kate Henshaw, Regina Askia and Stephanie Okereke are actresses among those on the long list of Nollywood actresses that have moved on after failed marriages.
While some have blamed the actors and actresses who many see as role models, some have been quick to point out that though they are role models to some people, what is happening to the famous actors and actresses is just a reflection of what is happening in the larger Nigerian society. “Their break-ups only get more attention because of the fame. It is not as if marriages do not break up on a daily basis. Thousands of people divorce daily in Nigeria. It’s all as a result of the gradual loss of sanity and societal values”, a respondent told Street Journal.
Another observer also pointed out that the long list of failed marriages in Nollywood doesn’t mean actresses and actors are not capable of keeping homes. Examples of Aluwe and Peju Ogunmola, Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva as well as Nobert and Gloria Young and Jide and Henrietta Kosoko all of who are actors and have been married for decades, were cited to drive the point home.