Saturday, 22 October 2016

Actor Jnr Pope Says ‘Most Celebrity Marriages Crash Because They Are Flirts’

Nollywood actor, Junior Pope Odonwodo and wife, Jennifer speak about their two-year-old marriage

How did you realise you were meant for each other?

Jnr Pope: It was quite difficult because I had a lot of ladies around me. We dated for four years, had our fights and each time there was any disagreements, Jennifer would scream at me whenever I shouted at her. This was unlike other ladies who tried to please me by weeping. It dawned on me that I wanted a lion for wife and not a lamb. 
Jennifer: I realised how much he really loved me in November 2011 after we attended Mike Ezurounye’s wedding. He stumbled on a text message from a guy who had been asking me out and we had been dating for more than a year. I was afraid to keep other guys at bay because I wasn’t too sure about his intention. I tried explaining to him because he felt really bad. I tried apologising yet he refused to eat and was weeping. I didn’t know when I also started weeping with him. After the episode, I decided to give him my heart. 
Were your in-laws receptive when you met them officially?

Jnr Pope: They were skeptical and even after the marriage they were still asking questions. My mother-in-law would call and say, ‘Please we know actors, can you please take care of my daughter? Can you just stay away from those Nollywood girls?’ I would reply, ‘I have a reputation to protect.’ I tell my wife, ‘I will flirt but I will never cheat on you and I’m no angel.’ She has the password to my Facebook and Twitter accounts but she doesn’t access them.

Some entertainers are said to lose fans after marriage, does this also apply to you?

Jnr Pope: I discovered that I got more female fans after marriage. They see me as an example and they were also blown away with the fact that I was in the labour room when my wife had a baby.

How did it make you feel?
Jnr Pope: Before she pushed, I had posted on Instagram, that a ‘woman should feel no pain at all except the pain of childbirth.’ After she delivered my baby, I went back to Instagram and withdrew that statement—no woman should experience the pain of childbirth.

 How do you cope with the demands of his career?

Jennifer: Initially, whenever ladies called him, I would be jealous and angry. But I realised that he is in the eye of the public. What I needed was trust and he explained to me the nature of his job—the girls are his fans and he would not have anything to do with them in order to respect me.
But he acts in romantic movies…
Jennifer: He makes me understand it is just make-believe and there is no form of intimacy. I have been able to cope with the demands of his acting career job because of the way he carries me along. Today, when I see him kissing a lady in a movie, I could either fast-forward it or just let it play on.

Could you have married an actress?

Jnr Pope: No. The reason is because I know what they do in Nollywood. I always tell the upcoming actors and fans who care to know that the entertainment industry is where the devil has chosen to take a good seat. Most celebrity marriages crash because they are flirts. I know what some actresses do and I pity them. Crashed marriages aren’t peculiar to Nollywood alone. This is one of the reasons why I will do anything and everything to make my marriage work.

Do you visit him on movie locations?

Jennifer: I used to when we were dating and I was once his personal assistant. Ever since we wedded, I have not gone to any location with him. I went then to see if I would catch him with any girl.

 How do you feel about your husband’s large female following on social media?

Jennifer: It does affect me to an extent but thankfully, he made me understand the nature of his career. I do see some of the comments they drop on his social media accounts but I understand that without these fans, there will be no him; they are the ones who buy his movies. I can’t be his only fan but I am his number one fan.

How do you handle disagreements?

Jennifer: He apologises first whenever we quarrel.

Do you run a joint account?

Jnr Pope: Yes, we do and it was my idea because I plan for the future a lot.

Jennifer: I told him that we must have an ATM card and he has the first four digits of the pin and I have the last two digits. None can withdraw money without the consent of the other.

 Is there anything you will like to change about your spouse?
 Jnr Pope: None.
Jennifer: I want him to opt for another profession. He studied accounting and turned down a job offer in the Central Bank of Nigeria because of acting. As an actor, he is always travelling. I can’t get to see him when I really want to and the best I can do is to speak with him on phone.

Can you quit acting to save your marriage?

Jnr Pope: Yes, if that is what will save my marriage, I will quit. But I know it won’t come to that because I don’t want to quit acting. I am more responsible as a married actor but my wife isn’t so comfortable with my romantic scenes. I no longer go to that extreme when interpreting such roles just to respect her.

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