The whole truth about my marriage — Ini Edo

Jan 20th 2010

Ini Edo

She started out as the stubborn child but her parents were determined to ensure she didn’t take the wrong turn in the road. They enrolled her in good schools and kept a good eye on her. Even when the family fell on hard times and school fees came late, her hard working father and sick mother trudged on. Fortunately, it all paid off.

But can you picture screen diva, Iniobong Edo, selling coconut? Well she used to be in that line of business. But it was just to buy extra Christmas dresses. Yeah, she had always loved good clothes. Mother luck guided Ini on the right path and today she is on top of her game, her name, Iniobong, meaning God’s time, seems to have come true and through for her in Nollywood..
After breaking a few hearts, she got married to Phillip Ehiagwina, a U.S.-based businessman last year. And this is the story of her life, her love, memories of her heart and all the terrible things you have heard and read about her. Excerpts:

I‘ve grown now and I’m trying very hard to do the things that women do and less of the things girls do
I mean I’ve really grown. You see I’m naturally a very playful person. I’m carefree, it’s not like I don’t care at all but I try not to let anything stand in my way. It’s like I’m just up and going. I don’t let anything weigh me down. It’s like what I want to do is what I want to do and it doesn’t really matter what you have to say and what you didn’t say. Naturally I’m a happy person, so I hardly allow things to depress me or to get at me. I always try to put myself first. You know right now (laughs), what I mean by I have grown is that I’m not as playful as I used to be. Before, maybe I did a little bit too much. I’ve stopped seeing myself like a girl and I’ve started seeing myself like a woman. So I’m trying very hard to do the things that women do and do less of the things girls do. For instance, though I don’t have a kid yet but I see myself like a mother to my younger ones. Before we used to be like friends but now I am more like a mother to them. Of course I’m still lively, but I’m more responsible now.

But I still go clubbing…
My dear, I can’t tell you there is no more clubbing. I won’t lie. I love to dance, so once in a while if I get a chance I do go to the club. You know it’s not something I can do every day or every time, but any time I get a chance and I feel like I go to the club.
Like I said, I’m trying to be more focused and more stable. l think I’ve gotten to that stage in my life when I have to. So right now I’m trying to do more personal stuff. I have my family to try to build and I just completed a movie. I just shot my own film, which I’m trying to release in February. All this while that’s what I’d been trying to put together…you know and I didn’t want it to be like the regular home video. It’s a big budget movie, so I am trying to see how I can put it all together to get it to some level of standard.

‘Memories of my heart’
It’s titled Memories of My Heart and it’s a love story. That’s why we chose to release it in February. It’s a Valentine package and basically a love story between Ramsey and I on set. It’s full of suspense. You know, my lecturer used to say a story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, which it has. The movie is not predictable . The story line is about a girl who was aspiring to be an actress. I’m sure everybody will love to see it because it’s a story we can all relate to. It’s a story that is close home.

My big budget film
Compared to the regular films that you see every day, this one is different. We didn’t just use the kind of cameras we use every day. I stepped up a lot in the technicalities. Though I don’t know anything about the technicalities, but I demanded for a camera that can give a high quality/definition video and they gave me one. It is a kind of film that you show at the cinemas. The picture and the sound are quite ahead of what we used to do. We will be done maybe in February, though a whole lot has been done already. My producer should tell you which cinemas we’d be taking the movie to that. I’d rather leave that to her. I don’t speak on things I’m not sure of. I’ll allow the people in that department to do their work.
If it works out fine, I might be more of a producer although I have to confess that won’t be an easy decision. The caste has my humble self, Ramsey and Uche Jombo. Desmond Elliot directed, Emem Isong produced and I am the Executive Producer.

Desmond Elliot’s now the director of choice
I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the few films Desmond has directed. I think he’s a revolutionary though I’m not saying other directors are not. They all are good, but I mean Desmond is great perhaps because of his exposure and the fact that he’s been an actor for a long time and he has this great exposure and he is a guy who has all it takes to take us to the next level. I think you should just see a couple of movies he has directed. You know most of them are not out, but I’m sure, you were at Uche Jombo’s premiere and you liked what you saw, didn’t you?

Marriage comes with rules, restrictions and limitations, which sometimes piss you off, but generally it’s been fulfillment for me
Really, marriage has changed me a lot. I’m more responsible and committed. Before now, as a single girl, I could just get up and go wherever I wanted but I can’t do that anymore. Even if my husband is not in the country, I can’t just wake up and go anywhere. I need to take permission. I need to confide in him and tell him I’m going here and there and sometimes he will say okay go but be careful. So, I used to be a free person, waking up when I liked and going anywhere I liked. Now, there are rules and restrictions, and limitations. Sometimes it pisses you off, but generally it’s been fulfillment for me. But spending time with my husband, just being together…just me and him makes me happy.

It’s not convenient living apart from my husband
I tell you it’s not convenient at all, but we are trying to see how we can meet each other half way. It’s not just my work, I have the whole of my family here, and I am like the center of my family.
My younger ones, everyone for that matter, they are all looking up to me. So I need to be abreast of things and I need to keep up with my work. I have a lot of responsibilities, and not just that. Basically, I have one or two projects that I’m doing. I have to oversee them and my husband also has his work that he cannot leave for a long time. So what I do is like if I’m here one month, I am there two months and if I’m there two months, I’m here one month. I try to! You know the disadvantages of always being on the road. It’s not convenient actually but we are trying to resolve how we are going to settle it permanently. Maybe when I’m done with everything I am handling. It’s not just that it is expensive jumping on a plane all the time, it’s also because we have to make some darn sacrifices but these are sacrifices we have agreed to make.

I have one of the most successful marriages
I have no idea. I think I have one of the most successful marriages because my husband is my friend, he understands me, he knows me more than anybody else. So, I don’t know where it came from. Recently, I have come to understand some people go out to tell lies about artistes. I was in the States with my husband when we started receiving calls and people were asking why we broke up. My husband got pissed off. He needed to know where the rumor was coming from, so he started making calls and we found out that it was actually an artiste that fed them the information. It’s very sad. Nothing is wrong with my marriage at all. Maybe once in a while we quarrel and it doesn’t last up to an hour. We talk for like six or seven hours a day. When I’m not with him, I let him know where I am and what I’m doing. I tell him practically almost everything I do. As I speak, he knows I’m here.

I don’t care about what my husband is doing when I’m not there
I don’t care about what my husband is doing when I’m not there. I can’t sit down and think about what he’s doing. If I don’t trust him, I wouldn’t have married him. It is what I see, I take. I leave the rest to God.
Yes, people lie about their whereabouts. I can be here and tell you I’m home. So, it is all about trust. I have that trust in him, and he trusts me , otherwise, he won’t let me come to Nigeria and spend some time. So, as long as I have my respect, I still have the love that I have from the beginning, I still feel that love. As long as I don’t see it, I don’t believe it.

If I catch my husband cheating…
I don’t know what I’ll do but if the evidence is very hard, bad things will happen. I don’t know what I will do because you can say you can do this and you may not be able to do it. But instead, you’ll do something else. However, I don’t think that can ever happen. One thing people don’t know about my husband is that, he is very religious. So, I don’t care about what people say.

I can’t cheat on my husband
Before I got married, if I caught my partner cheating, I simply walked. I didn’t talk about it. It just ended like that. I’m a loyal person and I can’t cheat on my husband. I can’t, I don’t know why I should. This is marriage, not a boyfriend, girlfriend affair.

My husband, his former wife and I
Before I got married, I have had many relationships. I wasn’t frustrated and I wasn’t desperate to get married when I got married. That’s me. There are certain people that have certain impressions about me that are nothing close to who I am. I’m not somebody that jumps to conclusions when it comes to judging people.
It is what I see I believe and I don’t just believe anything because I have to do my own investigation. When that drama was on, I did my homework on it and I knew what I found out. I am not saying this to praise him, but I think he is the most decent man I have ever met.
One thing I have discovered in this life is that, if you can’t get what you want to get, most people try to destroy you. If-I-can’t-have- this- nobody-else- can attitude. If you are like that, you are likely to resort to blackmail. Let me use myself as an example, how many people will I call and explain that I am not what they think I am? You just live your life. As long as relationships are concerned, he is the most decent man I have met. People that know me know the kind of person I am when it comes to relationships.

I’m going to get pregnant and have kids when I want to
I was not pregnant at any point and it’s not because of my career that I have not started a family. I just got married and I believe I will get pregnant and have kids. I am a married woman. I am going to get pregnant and have kids when I want to. People are just looking for ways to destroy others. I am not God. You will see when it happens. I will take pictures of me when I am pregnant so people can see.

The problem with celebrity marriages
If you watch those people that got married before either of them became a celebrity, it always succeeds, but when you become a celebrity before marriage, people come to you for different reasons. Most guys and girls that come to you come for the wrong reasons and if you get married to a person that came with the wrong reason, it won’t work. Sooner or later the reality will come out because you can’t pretend forever. The real self will show one day and you won’t even understand who you have been with because they have come for the wrong reason. Yes, I got married when I’d become a celebrity but we are all taking chances and hoping to God that we are doing the right thing. You can never be sure, you just do your thing and hope that God makes it work. We are human beings; you cannot be 100% sure. We just see the physical; there are so many things we don’t see. I’m just trusting God to make my marriage work

Nothing wrong in actors giving back to the industry they’ve benefited from
It’s not every actor that is now a producer. Just a few of us are. For me, it’s just something I said I should try. I see a nice storyline that I like and I said let me see how it works. I like diversifying. You see, there is no harm in actors making their own movies because it is about giving back to the industry we’ve benefited from for so long. So if an actor decides to give back to the industry by bringing his own money, I don’t see anything wrong in it. Everybody has different reasons why they are producing movie. I want to try something different. Do you understand? If it works out the way I expect, I will probably be thinking along producing more movies because I can’t jump from Asaba to Enugu and to every nook and cranny for the rest of my life. I’m getting older and I will not always be able to run from one state to the other shooting films. There is going to be a time in my life when I won’t be able to do these things anymore. I am trying to plan for the future, to see what I can fall back on when I’m done running around.

I’m not very good at exercise
Let me be honest, I am not very good at exercise. Most times, before anyone wakes up, I’m out of the house and I come back late at night. But I try to dance a lot… that I can say I like to do. I used to go the gym but there is no more time for that now. Samuel, look at me very well. (Stands up and turns around) I have even lost weight. My weight fluctuates actually. I was size eight before I got to where I am now…I used to be size 10. Now I am targeting size 6.

God has been very kind to me
I am the second child in my family. I have three siblings; a younger brother and a younger sister and also my cousin that has been with us for a while so he’s my brother too. My sister works in Ota, Ogun State at a brewery. It’s not easy picking the bills of many people. It’s tiresome but on the other hand, I see myself as blessed, chosen and I feel that it is because of these people that God’s blessing me, taking me from one level to another. I have been in this industry, and I have made progress because so many people have come and left without anybody knowing their whereabouts but yet God has kept me. I think ‘Thank you, God bless you’ goes a long way.

I do what I can do and where necessary, I go out of my way to do them because I just feel that is how God designed it because everybody cannot be very comfortable otherwise we won’t have the rich and the poor. I believe these things are designed that way and that I should take care of these people and sometimes when I want to say my prayers, I will ask God to give me the resources to take care of these people. Trust me, it is hard because I could use the money to take care of myself, but what if you stop getting the money? I keep asking God why do I keep getting these blessings after the allegations that have been made against me; but for some reason, God still has mercy on me.

My father used to work with Mandilas before he joined politics
Growing up was fun. I grew up with very strict parents. Even up till now, you can’t visit my parents and stay out till ten. My father will harass the hell out of you and even my elder sister. It is a very religious home at Eket. My father used to work for Mandilas before he resigned and went into politics. He contested local government chairmanship poll, but it was aborted. My mom was a teacher then. Though it was rough, yet they made sure that we went to very good schools, which I am still very grateful for till date. I did my diploma at UNIUYO and my degree at University of Calabar. We all went to Catholic secondary school.

It was tough when my father’s election was aborted
Though I was a kid then, but I was very rough. The bad thing that happened was that, my mom had resigned and you know how a civil servant was, we just had to survive by selling things. It came with sickness. Some people got sick. It was really rough anyway. I was in Cornelia Boarding College when it happened. I was like a black sheep; I was stubborn. I have always been at the center of everything right from my childhood. If a glass got broken and there were five of us, I would be the prime suspect, the first person they would mention. My younger sister and my elder sister are very calm. It was just my brother and I.

When the hard times came, my parents tried to shield us from it. A time came when they didn’t have enough to send us to good schools but they didn’t withdraw us to a public school, instead, they struggled to make things work. Of course, the pocket money started reducing and my mom was very ill at that time but God intervened. The regular visitation reduced, school fees were now delayed but we were never sent out of school and I use to go to the village to get some things at the end of the term and take them to the market to sell.

My grandmother used to give us these big coconuts; so, I would just put them in a bag, take them to the market, keep them in the neighbors store or sometimes put them outside the house. So, during Christmas, when everybody was having one dress, I would have like three because I would have used my money to buy two. I never had to do it to sustain myself, but I had to do it to get good things for myself

Omotola, Genevieve, Mercy Johnson and I
It is not true that Mercy Johnson and I don’t get along well. Of course, you don’t have to get along with everybody but we are cool. We still spoke sometime ago.
And I never said I would never work with Omotola or Genevieve. Everybody is entitled to his opinion. I never said anything like that. Those are people that I love their work. I look up to them. Not only that, I admire what they do, those are the people that I saw and I got into the industry. Anybody that knows me will know that I will never say that.

The biggest lesson life has taught me
I have learnt not to trust anybody but to continue being a good person. It doesn’t matter what you get, don’t let anybody turn you to evil because sometimes people can frustrate you and turn you into an evil person. Just stick to your nature and allow your battle to be fought by God.

Success is when you achieve your heart’s desire
Success for me is when you achieve your heart’s desire. Success is when you are able to feed the people around you through your hard work, when you know you genuinely worked for it and then you sit back and reap the fruits of your labour. That’s success and when you go to sleep, you can have a nice rest, not haunted by what you did to get to where you are. And I would say I am successful, yes. Failure is just the opposite of success.

I have failed before
Yeah. You can’t have it all. Sometime you want some things so bad and you can’t get it.

Top actors and actresses I’ve worked with
Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ramsey, Desmond, Michael, K.O.K, Olu Jacobs, Yemi Blaq, Jim and many others. Gene, Omotola, Rita, Uche, Tonto, and many others

How I became a Glo Ambassador
I was just God because I wasn’t in the country when the deal was sealed. My name was on the list and everyone claimed not to have my contact. So, when I got back, I have this friend that works with Glo and she said to me, your friend came to sign and it was my boss’ birthday, and because I was also going to the island, I followed her. When I got to the office, I met her boss and he said he heard that I was married and pregnant and that I had put on more weight, which may cause me not to do my work effectively. I just told him that I don’t know what he was talking about, although I was married and out of the country but I didn’t know anything about being pregnant or having a baby. So, he told me that the board thought I was out of reach and that he was going to find out if it’s not too late and the next thing they called me. That was it.

In 2010, I’m keeping my eyes on the ball
It is going to be a year of fulfillment. I have a deal with God and I told him that the deal has to come to an end this year. I am very particular about keeping my eyes on the ball and getting the ball because I need to do all I have to do and settle on my family. So, it is going to be a bright year for me. It has been manifesting from the first of January till date, so it is already a good sign that it is going to be a good year.

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