Award-winning actor and producer, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, who is happily married to hubby Lanre Gentry has opened up on the controversies that have trailed their union. She also told their love story, see excerpts from her interview with punch newspaper below:
How did you meet your wife?
Lanre: I met her through one of my friends eight years ago. When I told her I fancied her, she waved it aside. She also told me she already had a fiancé in Malaysia, whom she loved and did not want to let down. One morning, she called to tell me she was at my office. When I got there, she told me she had agreed to marry me. I asked about her fiancé and she told me she only did a bit of leg-pulling. She told me she used to be married and already had a child .That was a non-issue as far as I was concerned.
How did he propose to you?
Mercy: He took me to an eatery and when we finished eating, he popped the question. I was surprised because I was not expecting him to ask me to marry him. He had not taken me out for a long time so I was stunned when he said we should go out. In fact, I teased him that he had changed, not knowing he had something up his sleeve.
How long did you date for?
Mercy: We dated for about two years.
Were you sceptical about the success of the marriage?
Lanre: I was not. When you are in love with someone, you ignore their flaws. My wife’s heart is clear as crystal and she is a honest woman. I do not pray to have any other woman in my life.
Were your families supportive of your relationship?
Mercy: Yes, they were.
Were you worried about getting married again?
Mercy: Yes, I was. That was why I said I was not expecting it. I had a bad experience the first time, so I had some reservations and I just wanted to face my career, even though I loved him. I decided to put my trust in God and just go with the flow. I was happy and scared at the same time.
What lessons did you draw from your first marriage?
Mercy: Then, I was young and naive. Now, I handle issues differently. Also, the major reason my first marriage failed was because my ex-husband’s mum did not want him to marry from another tribe.
Is it true that you left your ex-wife because you wanted to marry Mercy?
Lanre: Not too many people know me or how I live my life. Mercy was not instrumental to the breakup of my first marriage. We had been divorced for almost three or four years prior to the time I met Mercy.
You have had your share of controversies and scandals, how have you handled them?
Mercy: I do not think I have had any controversies since I got married. They were just misconceptions. People thought I married a married man and I was a second wife. What they did not know or care to know was that he was already a divorcee when we met.
You must experience domestic issues…
Mercy: There is no home where spouses do not have issues. There is no perfect marriage anywhere in the world. It is normal for husbands and wives to have little misunderstandings, but I have never had any major issue.
Is it true you always embarrass her in public?
Lanre: How can I embarrass my wife in public? I never do that because I respect her as a person, wife and mother. A short time ago, a blogger reported that I beat my wife. I was very angry because I could not understand why I would want to condescend that low. I don’t beat my wife and I have never beaten a woman. I don’t even know how to argue with people.
What are the secrets of your successful marriage?
Mercy: I would say God. This is my second attempt and I decided to leave everything to my creator. I have handed over my marriage to him so He is in charge. That my marriage has been a success is not my making, even though I have had a role to play in it.
I made up my mind to stay in my husband’s house, irrespective of what happens and we both agreed to stick together as a couple irrespective of whatever challenges we might encounter.
As a busy woman, how do you create time for your family?
Mercy: My family comes first in everything I do. My career as an actress and my fashion business are secondary to me. Even when I am working, I always take a break to catch up with my kids on anything I might have missed. I cook and pamper my husband like I do for my son. My daughter is a teenager, so I ensure we spend time together during which we talk about everything including sex and boys. Let her hear from the horse’s mouth and not get misinformed outside.
How would you describe the marriage so far?
Lanre: It has been wonderful. She is a wife, mother and sister. She is very honest and always there when I need her. I try my best to encourage her in her career.
What are some of the challenges you have had since you got married?
Mercy: I am lucky to be loved by my in-laws. We are different individuals with different values and backgrounds. We do disagree to agree sometimes but it is usually nothing to worry about. We are always quick to laugh such off.
What does she do to get you angry sometimes?
Lanre: She likes to argue and shout, especially when we are watching a movie.
What could be the cause of some failed celebrity marriages?
Mercy: We are always under scrutiny by the public, and things which are normal with non-celebrities become a big deal when celebrities are involved. People should give us a break. They think celebrities are perfect and do not make mistakes. There is so much pressure on celebrity marriages and that brings about problems.
How can celebrities save their marriages from collapse?
Mercy: I have taken the time to study celebrity couples like Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva who have been married for a long time. They keep their private life away from the public. If celebrities can do that, it would help. Also, they must fight for their home and marriage.
How do you run the home when she is away on set?
Lanre: We have domestic employees who assist with the chores. My wife cooks and ensures things are in place before she leaves home for a production.
How do you spend time as a family?
Lanre: We spend some time out attending events, going to cinema or beach. We rest at home on Sundays.
What pet names do you call each other?
Mercy: I call him Alade Mi, or Cupcake when I need something from him.
Lanre: I call her Biodun and she calls me Lanre when she is not happy with me.