Nollywood Actor and Director, Kunle Afod, has been married to his better half, Adesola, a civil servant, for 12 years. In this interview with BUKOLA BAKARE, the couple share their love story
How did you meet?
Kunle: Her brother was one of my students. We met at an eatery in my area around Egbe, Ikotun, Lagos, back then and he told me that he was interested in acting and I asked him to join us. A week later, he brought his sister along because she wanted to say hello. He told me that she was a fan. Although she had a small stature, she was a student of the Lagos State University, Ojo. We met at a time when I was facing a challenge and she rescued me.
Adesola: I am a civil servant and I work with Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture. I met my husband through my immediate elder brother who now resides in the United Kingdom. We started dating in 2001.
What were some of the things that attracted you to each other?
Adesola: For me, it was love at first sight when we met and I vividly recall that my husband did not propose to me. He did not go down on one knee with a ring in his hand, like most men do when they want to propose.
Kunle: I like blunt and straightforward people, as well as those who don’t hide their feelings. I also like people who are intelligent. She exhibited all these qualities the first time that I saw her.
So, why didn’t you propose to her?
Kunle: The word, ‘propose’ is deceptive in nature and it is not a word for Africans. Many marriages collapse because the parties involved are just interested in the business of getting married and not how to foster their relationship. It is the rapport between couples, whereby couples hold each other in high esteem; that is important.
How would you describe your marital journey?
Kunle: We have our challenges and when people see us smiling, they don’t know what we pass through. For me, facing challenges is a way of life and I see them as part of what we have to go through as humans. Whatever comes our way, I always pray to God to avoid destruction so that in future, we’d be able to look back and say, although storms came our way, we were able to hold ourselves together.
Adesola: Let me state clearly that there is no marriage without the attendant hiccups and, as a couple, we are not an exception. I would say that we have been able to sustain our home through God’s unending grace. When we got married, I made up my mind that, come what may, I am not going to leave him. No matter the situation, I resolved within my inner self that I was going to stay with him through thick and thin. My mother passed on in 2004 and shortly afterwards, I married my husband. Thereafter, my father called me and said, “This place that you are heading to, do not have it at the back of your mind that you are coming back to my house.” Those words reverberated in my head and stuck with me from that moment. I made up my mind that my marriage must work, against all odds. We have our disagreements here and there, just like every other couple, but it has never crossed my mind to leave my husband. We are still waxing stronger today and I remain eternally grateful to God for that.
When you disagree with each other, who apologizes first?
Kunle: I am a very stubborn person and so is my wife. Sometimes, we may not even apologise to each other until after three months. Since she won’t apologise and I don’t like to do same, I always avoid squabbles. Our disagreements often end naturally. On a scale of 100, she will apologise once, I’ll apologise nine times and God takes care of the remaining 90 per cent. We don’t allow third parties to settle our squabbles because you’d realise that the person that you share your problems with has more difficult issues to contend with than yours. He or she will only proffer solutions from his or her own perspective.
Adesola: Luckily, my husband is not a troublesome individual and he doesn’t like fights. When we disagree, most times, I keep to myself and we don’t allow a third-party to settle our squabbles for us. Whatever situations arise when we have our disagreements, we sit down and talk about it. At first, he may want to prove a bit stubborn, but with time, we reach a compromise and settle things amicably.
Your husband is a celebrity and many ladies will certainly flock around him. How do you handle such situations?
Adesola: I handle such situations with maturity and my husband has assured me that I am his all in all and no one is going to take my place in his life, so I do not have cause to worry. More so, it is not even easy to marry so many wives. We have three children already and I’m expecting the fourth one.
Kunle: If you know my brand well, most of my fans are children and people who are much older than I am. I have kids as fans because I’ve acted the role of a teacher in films such as Ijaomode and Ewe Orun, which were kid-oriented plays. I even shot a movie three years ago which had an all-kid cast, so I’m not one who is typecast as a lover boy.
In your view, why do you think most celebrities cannot keep their homes as the spate of break-ups seem to be on the increase?
Kunle: To be sincere, marriages break up everywhere so it’s not limited to that of celebrities. Technological advancement is destroying homes. These days, wives would be on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and other social media platforms, such that they forget to prepare meals for their children. On social media, they also make friends that their spouses don’t even know. Before some celebrities became popular, their parents didn’t even know the chairman of the landlord association on their streets. By a stroke of luck, they become popular, meet influential people in the society and begin to misbehave. It is a woman who holds the home and not the man.
Adesola: The development is quite sad, but I think in order to sustain a marriage, God is the most important factor that couples need. In our own case, it’s been God all the way and we wouldn’t have come this far without Him. We recognise that fact in our daily lives. Truth be told, it is the woman who always upholds a home because you would definitely see so many things along the way; trials and tribulations will come but your ability to manage the home is the very essence of marriage. I strongly believe that my ability to manage my own home is a contributory factor to our success in marriage.
How do you celebrate your wedding anniversary?
Adesola: Upon my request, my husband takes me out on our anniversary date, but as you know, he is a very busy man due to the nature of his job. If I tell him what I want, he will endeavour to give it to me, as long as it’s within his means.
Kunle: Most times, I am always on location during our anniversary and she is at home with the kids.
Do you watch your husband’s movies and how do you react to his romantic scenes?
Adesola: I still watched one of his movies a few days ago, but when we are quarrelling, I don’t watch them. I don’t feel somehow when I watch his romantic scenes because I know that he is just carrying out a job and there is nothing to it. However, I criticise him when I watch his movies. Even when he works as a director on a particular project, I criticise him too and he is someone who listens to corrections. Most of the time, when he returns from a location, he shares his experience with me; I appraise what he has done and tell him the areas he could have done better.
Kunle: For a long time, I didn’t accept romantic roles because of my wife. She has been with me for a while and even before we got married, she usually accompanied me to locations, so she knows all that happens there is all make-believe. Some of my colleagues attended the same secondary school with my wife. Your spouse should be able to ask you questions about your job and you must make sure that it doesn’t break your home. She must know the dynamics of your job. If I am a doctor for instance and a patient comes in with lumps on her breasts and my wife visits me while attending to the patient and she meets the same patient two weeks after in my office, she might begin to think otherwise. Nobody wants to marry a man who won’t succeed in his career, so whatever the profession warrants; you just have to do it.
Would you have preferred your husband to take up a different profession?
Adesola: Not at all. He is doing what he knows how to do best.
As parents, how impactful are you in the lives of your children?
Adesola: As a mother, I am a disciplinarian to the core and my husband is quite busy with work so I’m always with the kids and the three of them are boys.
Kunle: I thank God for the children he has given me. Fatherhood is a good thing, especially when your kids are your friends. When you turn yourself into ‘Voltron’ in the midst of your wife and children, there’ll be problems. I pray that my boys grow up faster so that we can hang out together, have discussions and build an empire together.
How do you unwind when you are not working?
Adesola: When we are not at work, we are always at home.
What is your husband’s favourite meal?
Adesola: My husband doesn’t really have favourites, but I know that he loves to eat eko and vegetable, and sometimes, yam too. He also relishes eba and okro soup.
What are three things every marriage needs to survive?
Adesola: God, love and trust, in that order.
In your view, what is the importance of finance in marriage, does it supersede love?
Adesola: From a personal standpoint, if there is love in a marriage, finance becomes secondary. Once there is love and endurance, I believe finances will grow.