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When Actresses Cry

This year has seen the public breakdown of a number of marriages involving women in the entertainment industry in Nigeria. While the breakdown of marriages in itself isn’t news per se, it’s the reason given for the breakdown of the marriages.

From Tonto Dikeh-Churchill to Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, domestic violence has been named as the precursor to the demise of their marriages. Complete with video interviews in which both women wore sombre looks and sobbed their hearts out, they have informed viewers and listeners of how they had been pummelled for the lengths of their marriages. Them, there’s the social media angle that would make voyeurs of misery smile … and make others wonder just how people navigated marital and mid-life crises before social media.

Don’t get me wrong; social media provides, among other things, a platform for people to express themselves. And self-expression is an opiate of sorts; absolutely necessary. If you bottle things inside, it can lead to catastrophic results.

But when the news you’re sharing negates what you put out before?

Tonto Dikeh and her husband, Olakunle Churchill in happier times

We had Ms Dikeh on Instagram, gushing about her (now estranged) husband and how he was the best thing since … since she was born, in pretty much every post.

Mercy Aigbe – Instagram pic

Then, there’s Ms Aigbe who continuously posted pictures of her and her husband and gave soppy interviews, even though a blogger reported that she had been beaten by her husband in 2013. Of course, this was strenuously denied by Mercy’s camp and there was a (rather silly) badly-done video created to make nonsense of the blogger’s story.

Tonto Dikeh – photo from Pulse

Now, both women have returned with alternative stories of severe violence they suffered at the hands of their husbands. Ms Dikeh has displayed scars on her legs, while Ms Aigbe released medical reports online before the story broke. All very harrowing.

The reasons they gave for staying are the ‘same old, same old’; the one about staying for children is a well-worn and insulting line. But there’s a different element that makes some feel sorry for these women. Yet, there’s the other question of “Why did you act like everything was dope? And why did it take you so long to leave?”



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