Gbenro Ajibade, a Nollywood film producer, has denied claims he married Osas Ighodaro, a Nigerian-American actress who doubles as his ex-wife, to acquire a US passport.
Both film stars, who are now divorced with a child to show for their once blissful union, had given fans a reason to worry after Ajibade publicly accused Osas of habitually neglecting their two-year-old daughter to party with friends.
Following indications that the dou were, perhaps, no longer together amid Ajibade’s hiatus from the Nollywood scene, conspiracy theories had cropped up as to why the couple would be divorcing after only four years of being together.
Speaking in an interview with Ebuka Uchendu, a Nigerian TV presenter who doubles as the official host of the BBNaija reality show, Ajibade denied ever marrying the film star to mooch a “blue passport” off her as an American citizen.
He hedged that, had that been the case, he wouldn’t have bothered spending so much money on traditional marriage, involving both families, and staging a luxurious white wedding to celebrate the union in New York.
“People are entitled to their opinion. Those are the bullets I’ll always have to take. I wear those shoes, I know what it feels like. I’m trying to be that responsible man. Regardless, I’ll always be there for my daughter. Right now, I’m trying to focus on work,” he said.
“If it was about that, I won’t go through doling a traditional wedding, involving families, doing a white wedding in New York and all that. Do you know how much I spent? It was way away from that. That just popped up when we started having kids.”
While commenting on how he’s getting along with Ighodaro after their altercation, Ajibade said he’s still in good terms with his ex to provide “cool parenting for the child” and would even do a movie with her if that came up.
“We were married. It didn’t work out. We went our separate ways. We’re divorced. It happened while I was in Atlanta. There’s no need to always bring back old wounds. No hard feelings. Till tomorrow, she’s still the mother of my child. I still got respect for her,” he said.
Ajibade, while recounting his experience in Atlanta, narrated how he had to “drive lifts” and do “a number of odd jobs” — including factory work — to make ends meet and “pave the way” for his daughter as a US citizen.
“I was in Atlanta, I had my Hollywood debut ‘Hip Hop Holiday’. It premiered on BET and I’m still grateful for that. I also did ‘Shadows’. Those were the few I was able to squeeze out with the tight schedule of work. A couple of days after I got back to Nigeria, I’ve got on set,” he said.
“In Atlanta, I attended a Hollywood actress with Tarsha Smith. We became close and we’re working on something Hollywood-Nollywood. I’m even bringing her to Nigeria.
“Imagine putting aside the fact that I’m a Nigerian actor. I had to do jobs like working in the warehouse just to provide for my family. It got to a stage where I started driving for lifts. I don’t even feel bad about it because there’s no shame in making money for the family.
“I met a few Nigerians in the process. At first, I felt kind of funny. I was driving a lift and got passengers who were Nigerians trying to figure out who I’m. And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s me. Guess what, I’m about to send your money back home.’ I feel proud about it.”
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