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 25 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 43 years in February reveals why she is still a Mrs despite attempts by detractors to crash her marriage
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 25 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.By God’s grace I have been gifted with a very, very wonderful partner. I can credit him more than I can credit myself, to be honest. Because I won’t lie I am not the easiest person to deal with. But he is a very, very strong and disciplined person. Sometimes I wonder if he is human. It’s unreal. And he is very humble, more humble than I can ever be. He is very understanding and very mature. So I am just grateful for the partner that God has gifted me. Yeah, those are the things that I can say. And so for that reason and because of our values and everything by God’s grace we’ve been able to bring up children who also believe in the same values.