My wife doesn’t see me as a movie star - Emeka Enyiocha
Emeka Enyiocha is a Nollywood act of great repute. He has featured in many movies and is still waxing strong. He tells National LIFE how he met his wife and what the future holds for him.
How was your transition from boyhood to adulthood like?
I'm still a boy (laughs).
A boy even with a wife?
Well, it is all about your feelings, it is not actually your status now, it is what you have inside of you. So, I feel like the normal person I have always been. You know, with normal responsibilities. Nothing has really changed. The things that I do, I still do them because I don't do anything in excess and I just do the normal things that I should do.
What was your childhood like?
It wasn't that easy. I am an example of hard work, perseverance, believing in what you are doing and knowing that your tomorrow would be good. That is just an example of Emeka Enyiocha because I never believed I would have been what I am at this point. But the thing is, I identified where and what I wanted to do and what gives me joy. That is the most important thing because if you don't derive pleasure in what you do, I don't think financially you would be fulfilled. You would just be going back and forth and nothing would be stable. I found out that this is my calling and I have to do well. But I wasn't born an actor. Most people would tell you they were born actors. I wasn't born an actor, it was just that I got interested in acting and I learned the ropes. My first day on set was terrible. I just had to learn on the job and I'm still learning.
Were you born with silver spoon?
I wasn't born with any spoon at all and that has endeared and encouraged me. It has pushed and given me the mindset to succeed. Thank God for his mercies, though I'm not there yet but I'm sure if I continue the way I'm going now, I would succeed.
Are you a father now?
Yes, I am. I had a daughter a few weeks ago. Her name is Princess Adanna Matilda Enyiocha. She is beautiful. She's just a month plus.
What are your worst fears?
My worst fear is not being able to mould my children, my family in the right direction that when you see them, you identify where they are coming from. You tend to find out that these kids are well brought up and healthy. That they are focused and articulate. That is my worst fear. And that is why I do everything with the help of my beautiful wife to make sure that things are done properly and I try to make sure that I overcome those fears. By giving them what I ought to give them while growing up, though I never had the opportunity or the privilege of having those things when I was a kid. I want to train them to have African values. That is what I pray that they become. That is what I pray that I give to them. Not necessarily financial gifts, but moral values. Send them to good schools, make sure that I put up a foundation for them to follow. I believe in training a child in the way of the Lord and when he grows up, he would never depart from it.
How do you cope with fame?
When it all started, it was a bit tedious, it was a bit embarrassing but right now, it is like a way of life. When people come, you try to understand their psyche, understand the way they feel, sometimes some of them would get you pissed off but it is not their fault, it is because they appreciate what you're doing. You chose the profession and that is what comes with it. So, the thing is you will actually feel for them, because most of them do not know how to separate the acting world from your real life. So, you have to educate them. Some go to the extent of pulling your clothes to attract your attention while some others take offence thinking you failed to greet them properly because of pride not knowing that you can hardly recognise them. There are some beautiful ones that you would meet and you say thank God that I'm in this industry. They would treat you like the king that you are meant to be. If not for that, it is all about adjusting and getting used to the situation.
Can you pull by the road side and buy (Akara) bean cake like an ordinary man would do?
I try as much as possible not to let what others think about me control my life. I try not to let their thinking mould my personality.
You are a star now, aren't you?
Yes! But I do whatever I want to do as a human being. I often would come down from my car, mount a motor bike and go wherever I want, if I want to eat 'Akara,' I stop my car and buy 'Akara.' Yes, people would talk but what do you want in particular? It is not every time that you have money in your wallet or in your account. You wouldn't want to patronize a 'bukateria' around because you are not used to breaking the perception people have about you.
But the important thing is don't hide from yourself. Always identify the person you are, what you want to be, this is what you are and you remain that. No matter the hype, no matter what people would want to say. That is me. I don't allow that to bother me.
Ask for N5,000 assistance from anyone, you will understand that this life is tough. So you don't live the life that people expect you to live.
But you are a star?
Being a star is just doing my work and my work has propelled me into trying to also change people's lives because your actions on screen affects them positively. So don't let the environment change you, the environment should actually adapt to your own life style, that is what I believe.
Though you are happily married but babes would still want to have intimate relationship with you isn't it?
Yes. Women are lovely people and they love where things seem to be okay, even if it is not okay. The blink-blink kind of life. My pastor would call it blink-blink, tomorrow it would fade. When you see a woman she would all be blinking, tomorrow when the outfit is washed, it would fade and they move on. So, they would always want to go to where it seems or looks perfect. But the thing is not because you are the best, but because of the kind of job you do. Maybe you have affected their lives positively. For someone to want to have an affair with you despite your status as a married man you must have affected their lives positively. Women are like kids; you pet them to do what you want them to do. Diplomacy is just the key word because when you harass them, you are losing some fans and when you lose fans like that, you are out of job because whether you like it or not, if you are rising tomorrow, they are the people that would make you rise. So, I try to also cajole them to understand that what they are looking for cannot work because someone has taken me. We can be friends. You can be my fan, why not? But the thing is you are not driving her away so that she would not see you in bad light. If she should see you in a bad light, the rest of her friends would also see you that way. And just like that, you are losing fans. So, the thing is, my wife understands. Sometimes when they call me she would want to listen and I do tell her that she can't stop them from calling. After all, they didn't send me to become a movie star. I have to relate with them the way they won't get hurt, so that they would still remain my friends because they are women and they are like kids. With chocolates and toys you can get a kid to do whatever you want him/her to do. They are just like that. Make them feel good, they have not got what they wanted, yet they are still your friends.
Tell me about your wife?
My wife is a lawyer. Her name is Barrister Stella Emeka Enyiocha.
What fascinated you the first time you saw her?
Well, when you see a wife, you would know. She rightly said that she is not my fan. She doesn't see me as a movie star. We met and got married two years after courting. We got married last year. We met at an event and became friends. We started being close, then, she was in the law school. What tripped me about her was that she was so much involved in her education, her books. That was the first time I was seeing an individual and a woman for that matter, a beautiful woman having lectures on phone midnight from 12 to four in the morning with her colleagues on a daily basis. That tripped me. Another thing about her is that she is stubborn.
You mean your wife is stubborn?
Oh yes, my wife is stubborn but she is not annoyingly stubborn. She is a very firm person, she's a disciplinarian as well and I love and respect her a lot for that.
Does she nurse the fear that somebody would want to take her man?
Sure! Every woman does have that fear on daily basis. A lady friend of mine called me this morning and my wife said I should call her back and put it on the speaker. I asked why? She said it is about building trust. I said what are you building trust for? I decided to call the person back to show her I wasn't doing anything with her and my wife also spoke with her. This was laughable but I had to call the person to save the situation. My wife is a wonderful person. She is God sent to me.
Many married actors are known to have strayed, are you going to do same?
There is no way you can keep a relationship outside with an intelligent wife or well bonded family. It is not possible. That woman you keep outside may want to come in. You see, the emotional trigger of women is like air. When engrossed, they would just forget that you're married. That is why many people have problems in their marriages because the other woman does not see you as a married man. She sees you as her own and she cages you and treats you like hers forgetting that there is somebody at home. So, it would blow up.
You have a daughter now, how many more children are you planning to have?
Just one more. I want two kids.
But you are not Oyinbo, you are Igbo. So how come you want to have just two children?
Yes, just two. I want to be able to also have fun with my life.
What if the second baby happens to be female, are you still going to stop at two?
Well, I don't mind. I would still stop at two.
But don't you need Emeka Enyiocha Jnr?
I don't mind. There are so many guys that have become useless today. So, it doesn't really matter to me if it is a guy or gal. People attach too much importance to that. I don't care if it is a boy or a girl. Are these fraudulent leaders we are seeing not guys? So, what importance have they attached to their families? I don't care about who bears my name. If you are dead you are dead and gone. What matters is what have you done to make a mark?