Renowned actress and mother of four, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde strikes you as ‘one of those actresses who would hardly live with a man’. But you are wrong—never judge a book by its cover. Beautiful, playful and brainy, she has been married for 22 years to a man who has seen her from being nobody to somebody. Her beau, Matthew, said he ‘captured’ her when she was untouched.
In this interview with Kemi Ashefon, Omotola, who clocked 40 years in February 2018 reveals why she is still a Mrs.
How did he propose?
Omotola: That was when I turned 18. We had been friends for about two years. He was like a family friend then but I knew he had some plans. When I turned 18, on my birthday, he jokingly said, ‘babes you don grow o.’ He told me his plan.
Were you scared of getting married then?
Omotola: I wasn’t. I have always been very mature for my age. But otherwise, I had already known him for so long and was very comfortable with him. I just knew that life with him would be comfortable and easy. I didn’t know I would conform to a marriage setting because my mother used to tell me that I was very headstrong. I just thank God that I found someone who could understand me.
How has the journey been for 22 years?
Omotola: Nothing has changed really. It is still the same relaxed, easy-going relationship. There are times when we have misunderstanding but it is never anything serious or unbelievably scary. It has been the grace and fear of God. Everything results to what God thinks about the situations and we pray about it. Everyone is conscious of the fact that we must respect God in the relationship and then your spouse. We don’t just do things. Secondly, we are very grounded and real. We try the best we can to make everything as natural. We don’t just stress ourselves.
How did you manage the fame?
Omotola: It is just by God’s grace. If a couple cooperates with God, then He gives them the grace to tolerate each other.
How do you react to alleged scandals about your wife?
Matthew: I have heard and seen a lot that were untrue about her. I trust her. I know they will always write a lot of nonsense, why should I bother myself?
How do you feel when she plays romantic roles in movies?
Matthew: They are all make-believe. They are not real and most of her movies are pecks and not kisses. I told her not to cross that boundary.
What are the secrets of your successful marriage?
Matthew: It is God’s grace. We are disciplined and prayerful.
Omotola: It has to be God. There is no other strategy. One person can be perfect and the second person can be nasty. On our part, I’d say also that we don’t look at the relationship as something we can walk away from. We look at it as a life commitment. When your parents upset you, you cannot divorce them. Even the bible says you will leave your father and your mother and cleave to your spouse. Luckily, he doesn’t drink or smoke or abuse me. I don’t have any major thing to complain about, and I hope it is the same thing for him.
Do you quarrel?
Matthew: Yes we do. A lot. She is good at arguing and always wants to be right. You can never win an argument with her. But she is the first to apologise.
Omotola: When there is a quarrel, I usually apologise first. He doesn’t say sorry. Overtime, I have come to realise that it is an ego problem. Even when he knows he is wrong, he will rather do every other thing or buy things for me than say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Fortunately, the ‘sorrys’ are not too many. He is very responsible and more hardworking than me. By God’s grace, we have been able to understand our routine.
What is your advice to celebrity couples?
Matthew: Foundation really matters. Some people get into the relationship for one wrong motive or the other. Most of them live false lives. Couples that are in the same profession hardly last in a marriage. There is always competition. The best thing is to marry someone that is compatible with you.
What are the reasons for break up in celebrity marriages?
Omotola: It is really hard but you both have to feel extremely secure. You have to be extremely confident and trust each other. There are so many things to deal with, especially in this environment where some people just thrive on hurting other people. The weird part is that you cannot believe that people are capable of such wickedness. You are sane and cannot believe other people are insane. These are the things that cause break up in celebrity marriages. A lot of people are talking and saying nasty things that are not true. It is just as if there is a gang up to break you up once they know you are a celebrity or in a relationship. Most times, they are all lies! Celebrity lifestyle gossip is getting to a point where they are getting close to your kids and family. They try to put your relationship in jeopardy. Then, petty things that wouldn’t cause any problems become one. I hope that there should be legislation that will protect families.
Have you ever felt threatened by her success?
Matthew: There is no reason or room for it. When I met her, she was just Omotola Jalade, and she had done just one movie. I am happy for her. When I met her, she was just getting into the movie industry. I always encourage her and hope for the best. I don’t feel threatened in any way.
Read more How Early Marriage Helped My Career Says Omotola