My failed marriage; The whole truth – Jennifer Eliogu

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Jennifer Eliogu is a delectable actress that sparkles on and off
the screen.  Busty, gorgeous and gifted, multi-talented Eliogu, who
experienced a stellar rise to stardom via acting, is one actress who has
remained relevant in the make-believe world for over 16 years and still
counting. Today, her tentacles cut across acting, producing, script writing, singing,
motivational speaking, events anchoring alongside her Non Governmental
Organisation’s activities. However, despite wearing an ever-cheerful mien,
Eliogu is a woman with ‘a lot’ on her heart. The Anambra State-born mother of
ttwo, is sad and sulking for being perpetually made a subject of wicked gossips
and unfounded rumours. EXCERPT:
In fact, her alleged troubled marriage is just one of the many scars that have
consistently made her a hot subject on pages of newspapers and social media
platforms. In a recent enthralling encounter, the star actress of numerous hit
flicks, pours out her emotion and bottled up anger to Entertainment Express.
“The truth is that when I got married, I didn’t call anybody; I didn’t tell the
world. I only invited a few friends who came to witness the wedding. I will not
dignify people by running to press to respond to all that are said about me. A
lot of things are being said about me- some true, some false. If I haven’t been
in the habit of debunking everything said about me, why now? People are free to
insinuate and speculate, but the truth remains the truth, while lies remain
lies”, she fumes.
Eliogu painstakingly speaks for the first time- on the many falsehoods woven
around her person, especially the trending marriage break up, among other hot
issues. Enjoy it.

Recently,
you celebrated your birthday with the less privileged members of the society;
how did it go and why the choice of the less privileged?

It went well. I’ve been doing this for the past three years, that’s since
2009.  It’s part of what my NGO-Initiative for Development, Empowerment
and Absolute Stability-does. I felt that rather than have a party and pop
Champagnes, giving to those who already have, why don’t I reach out to the less
privileged ones. So every year, my NGO comes up with something different. Last
year, we took the party to the prison-Kirikiri Maximum Prisons-where we fed
about 200 female inmates. The essence is to interact with them and make them
feel that the worst has not happened. So this year, we decided to parley with
the beggars and physically challenged people on the streets, including
motherless babies’ homes. It was a beautiful experience; I feel fulfilled doing
that. I’m not doing it because NGOs are in vogue or because I need to make a
name for myself- of course I already have a name.
This is what I have passion for and it’s a good feeling when you give back to
the society. Basically, the idea is to give back to the society in my own
little capacity. Apart from just feeding and clothing them, most times we still
go with motivational speakers and a pastor to pray with them; it’s just all
about giving hope to the hopeless, making them understand that God has plans
for everyone of us.
Are you that spiritual as well?
I’m more of a spiritual person than I’m religious. People judge others and
believe if you are a born again Christian, you mustn’t wear trousers, or ear
rings. Nobody should judge anybody; let’s leave judgments to God. I have a
relationship with God. In my heart I know I fear God, and it shows with the way
I relate with people. It doesn’t mean I’m a superwoman, I’m not any less human,
I’m still human, so I make mistakes like every other person does but I try my
best to live well.
At what point did you start seeing yourself as a repented and
saved person?

I don’t see myself that way; I know I’m. I grew up knowing God, even though I’m
not the ‘holier than thou Christian’. I still dress and talk like me, it’s just
that you need to get closer to know the real me. I don’t mind what and how I’m
being painted.
Most movie buffs rate you based on what they see on screens and
what the media writes about you; so who is the real Jennifer Eliogu?

Jennifer is a very calm, lively and very jovial person who makes friends easily
and knows where to draw the line. I don’t like people telling me when to lay
down my gun. I can be friend to anybody, it doesn’t matter, even the bread
sellers on the streets. But I know where the friendship should end. In every
relationship, one should know where to draw the line. If you are my friend, I
know the kind of jokes not to crack with you; I know what not to tolerate from
you, and I make you know this is me.
 After so many years in the industry, you are still very relevant; when
and how did the journey start for you?
I started acting sometime in 1996, and till date I’m still acting. My first
movie really never saw the light of the day. My first movie that came to
limelight was entitled House on Fire, and that was in 1997. It was shot in Jos
and I starred alongside actors like Ejike Asiegbu, Gloria Young and a couple of
others.
How did you secure the role?
Then we had a situation where about so many people would be competing for a few
number of roles. Roles then were basically gotten on merits. You are being
auditioned in public, where you showcase the stuff you are made of. So
basically I got the role by merit.
Don’t you think that your beauty contributed to it?
I don’t know about that. I’m just hearing it from you that I’m beautiful
(Laughs).
In today’s Nollywood, do aspiring actors and actresses still get
movie roles by merit?

Definitely, people still get roles by merit. But on the other hand, a lot of
producers, no longer call for auditions. They already know who is acting a
particular role when they are writing the scripts.
How true is it that movie roles are now majorly for those who can
pay with their bodies?

 That’s bull shit! Forgive my language. The truth is that if you are not a
good actress, it doesn’t matter how many producers you sleep with, it’s only
time that will separate the chaff from the wheat. If you see a girl that is
good and you know this is what you need for your movie, if you are thinking
like a businessman, the first thing that comes to your mind is not how to sleep
with her because you are investing money and you would want to get your money
back.
You are also a producer, so does this widely reported sexual
harassment really exist in the industry?

If they talk about sexual harassment, they don’t tell you how, who, and when.
For crying out loud, if you are approached for such why don’t you just say ‘no’
and go your way! Must you have a job to do with a particular producer? I think
a lot of young girls just want to talk for talking sake. I deal with facts, not
hearsays.  In as much as I seem not to believe some of those girls
screaming about sexual harassments, I would not also speak for the producers
because shamefully, a lot of them are randy. Besides, some of these young girls
are desperate to become stars; they are bent on doing anything to become stars
overnight. When you go to an audition half nude, what do you expect?
Are you saying you were not harassed while still growing in the
industry?

I’m not boasting; the truth is that I got all my movie roles by merit. You can
go and ask questions.  And besides, if you’ve followed my films, every
movie I ever starred in, you can tell that the character was actually meant for
me.
Currently, you are no longer a constant face on screen; what is
really happening?

There is nothing happening. It’s just that there are so many complications in
the industry. Besides, at a point I got married and relocated From Nigeria to
Switzerland.  And basically, I have gotten to a level in the industry
where I don’t have to feature in every movie just because I want to stay
relevant. What matters to me right now are storylines and then the casts. So if
a job comes with a good storyline and a commensurate pay, I will definitely
take part-emphasis now is on stories that add value. Unfortunately, it’s either
that such stories don’t come often or they don’t come with the right fees. In
recent times you have a lot of movies that don’t add values to lives.
Are you not worried that younger faces are taking over the
industry, a reason you no longer get much roles?

 I can’t be worried because whatever character I can play, someone else
can’t play it my way.  And if after 16 years of acting, I will be worried
that I don’t make movies as much as I used to, then something must be wrong
with me. Movie making is a platform to move on to greater things. The fact is
that there’s no age limitation in acting, a reason I will remain an actress for
life. Again, we are revolutionizing and going back to the era when people sit
down and come up with good stories, that is a reason you would soon be seeing
more of me again on movies-especially now that I’ve also started producing my
own movies. I take my time to write my own stories and produce same.
Very soon I will be releasing my first movie entitled From Within. It’s a
family story and I intend working on another one immediately the first one is
released. It has been released in the U.S and now we are planning to release it
in Nigeria, after taking time to ensure we leave no stone unturned. It has been
premiered in Lagos, Abuja and Asaba. Crossing over from an actress to a
producer was never easy; they are two totally different things entirely.
You seem to have your busy hands on different pies – acting,
producing, singing, scriptwriting, compere, etc – how do you joggle all these
with the home front?

It’s by His grace. Besides, I’m just multi-talented and I don’t do all these at
the same time. It’s always one after the other, and they are all within the
entertainment sector which I have passion for. Talking about compering events,
it’s not all kinds of events that I involve myself with. I restrict myself to a
kind of event where I can give my best. I once compered a birthday event
because of the calibre of the person his child was celebrating, but I found out
I wasn’t communicating. At a point they wanted me to start cracking jokes, but
I don’t, I’m not a comedian. Though you must have a good sense of humour when
compering events, but that does not make you a comedian, they are two different
things.
With all these ingenuities, you must be coming from somewhere
academically; what is your academic background like?

I’m a graduate of English Education from Lagos State University. I went to
secondary school in my hometown in Anambra State, but I was born and breed in
Lagos. It’s the background that matters, once your background or foundation is
right, its right, if it’s faulty, it’s faulty.
Tell us more about this your family background and where are your
parents currently?

 My father is still in Lagos while my mum just relocated to Asaba. I grew
up in a beautiful Christian family, with a very strict father and a lovely
mother. We used to call our father ‘Ghadaffi’, even though he never knew. My
family had values that everyone was to forced to embrace. While growing up, we
didn’t receive visitors, and we never went visiting others. We had all the
space in my house, lots of toys to play with but as we grew up, we began to
make friends. We used to be seven, but lost one three years ago, so we are six
now and we are like a bunch of broom- very close. If there is another life, I
would want to be part of the same family.
What major lesson did you learn from your father?
My father became something from nothing. His father was a carpenter but he made
up his mind never to live in poverty. So he worked hard and was able to send
his children to school; even when he didn’t get too much of education. He
always told us to learn how to make money before learning how to spend money.
He would tell us to forget the fact that he had provided us with everything-which
means we should work hard to make our own. To me, that was a big lesson that
shaped my life.
Does it mean you are from a wealthy family?
I think we were just ok. My father was into the importation of cosmetics- till
today, he owns a shop in trade fair. He was just hard working and succeeded in
making a decent living for his family.
What has life taught you over the years?
So much! Life has taught me to put my trust in God and God alone. After God,
the only people I trust are my family members because they are the ones I can
open up to, they are the ones I can tell all my problems and they either
criticize me constructively or they encourage me in whatever I choose to do. So
life has taught me to trust only God and my family.
The issue of your marriage breakup has been in the news; why have
you not come out to set the record straight?

 The truth is when I got married, I didn’t call anybody; when I was in
that relationship, I didn’t tell the world. When I got married, I only invited
a few friends who came to witness the wedding.  Have you ever seen my
husband’s picture anywhere? You won’t because we want a private life; a life
away from the movie and the press. I chose to keep it that way. I will not
dignify people by running to press to respond to all that are said about me. A
lot of things are being said about me- some true, some false. If I haven’t been
in the habit of debunking everything they have been saying about me, why now? I
have a right to my privacy and I want to keep it that way. People are free to
insinuate, and speculate, but the truth remains the truth, while lies remain
lies. It only takes time.
But this issue has been lingering
And since then what has changed? I’m still me; I’m still concentrating and I’m
still doing positive things.
A lot of your fans would really want to know if your marriage is
still intact?

I don’t own them that! What I own them is to continue to shoot good films,
adding values to lives-that I will keep doing but my private life remains
private.
We are just being concerned, it was reported that he abandoned you for a Swiss
woman and we wondered if you were not good enough for him?
 Like I said, I have a right to my private life and I will not discuss my
private life-not with you or with any other person. Looking at a woman, you can
tell whether she is happy or not and I know that I’m a happy woman…are you not
seeing I’m happy?
So how are the two children coping?
They are blessed, and are doing wonderfully well.
How are they coping?
Coping with what?
Coping with the absence of their dad.
You really think you are smart? Listen, like I said earlier on, I’m a happy
woman, and my children are doing beautifully well and their father as well is
doing well; whatever insinuations you have, whatever speculations, it’s
unfortunate that I don’t care, I have a right to my privacy and please let’s
discuss something else.
But what actually led to that rumour?
You are in a better position to tell me because you are a press man. I don’t
know where you heard it, I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know why you
are still dwelling on this, you can go and find out where and how because you
are the investigator.
Most celebrity marriages seem to have one problem or the other;
what do you think is the major cause?

I don’t know what causes problems in other people’s homes! I don’t live with
them so I don’t see how I’m supposed to know. It’s unfortunate that marriages
are breaking up, but it’s not synonymous with the industry. It happens in every
sector. When two people are not compatible or having misunderstandings, there
might be break up, sometimes they make up eventually and sometimes they don’t.
But asking me what the problem is, is what I don’t know. I think it’s just the
devil at work.
Apart from the issue of compatibility and the devil being at work, don’t you
think there might be something else?
I keep to myself a lot. The friends I have don’t even know where I live and I
don’t know where they live. We meet at events, we go to some occasions
together, and we talk on phones. I don’t pry into peoples’ affairs unless they
open up to me. I don’t pry into other peoples’ affair because I don’t
appreciate them prying into mine.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to
you?

I’ve received so many beautiful advice, one of them that I will never forget
came when I got married. Aside the normal gifts from her, she gave me a letter
in an envelope and said to me ‘don’t open it until you get home and then when
you want to open it, make sure you open it with your husband’. The letter contained
a plain sheet of paper, pencil, eraser, and a small letter on another paper. I
was wondering what is this suppose to mean and then when I opened the letter,
it read: “My beloved, I advice that anytime you have problems and you are very
angry, do not write with an ink because you can’t erase it, but write with a
pencil from this plain sheet and when that anger goes away, and you are sober,
take your eraser and clean it off. In that way, you don’t carry yesterday’s
anger into another day”. I cried after reading it because I didn’t think
anybody could give me such an advice, and to a large extent, I tried to
practice it.
From what you are saying, does it mean your marriage is still
intact?

Next question please, move away from my family!
You are busty and a lot of people see you as someone who flaunts
what she has; have you changed?

No! I have not changed. Flaunting means different things; I don’t know your
idea of flaunting. If dressing the way I like is what you mean, then the answer
is no because I haven’t changed. I still have to look as good as I want to
depending on where I’m going, depending on my mood, and depending on the
occasion.
After two kids, you are still this beautiful and charming; what could be the
secret?
In the first place, I give God the glory for creating me the way He did. You
can’t change yourself, so you just learn to appreciate yourself for who you
are. I look like my mother, and I also took after her in terms of voice. There
is no secret; I don’t even have cosmetics range that I use.
I’m tempted to ask how old are you?
If I tell you how old I am, you might not even believe it. Some people think
I’m older, while others think I’m younger. I think people lie about their ages
when they don’t have much and they are looking forward to having. If you truly
have much, you have no reason lying about your age. So as for me, I haven’t
done badly; I give God the glory.
What do you have to say about a certain picture of yours that
exposes a bit of your boobs which keeps resurfacing on the internet?

It’s unfortunate that I have nothing to say. People should just get a life; I
have moved on, so I expect people to move on as well.
Considering your beauty and how sexy you look, one wonders how you
cope with admirers?

Even the ugly ones still have a lot of male admirers. It doesn’t matter what a
woman looks like, there is always someone who sees something beautiful about
her. And men will always make passes, it is a natural thing. It depends on what
one wants as a woman. And I think I handle it well, I try to be as friendly as
I have to be, and maybe my approach makes them go away like that. Everywoman is
beautiful, even the ones you feel nobody can make passes at, people still make
passes at them. How many men are you going to date no matter how beautiful you
are? I feel good when you to say I’m beautiful, that means God has done a
wonderful job on me.
What about your fellow women that are attracted to you?
I’ve never been a lesbian. Sometimes, I don’t hold it against them because I
see them as having psychological problems. In as much as I don’t cast them
away, I also don’t keep them as friends. I don’t condemn them; it’s not for
anybody to judge. Some people has just found themselves in that position, being
trapped in that situation, so I don’t think it’s something you say ‘okay kill
the person’, some people need counseling, because some went into it through
rebellion, some through frustration, looking for acceptance, some were lured to
it, whichever way it is, it’s a problem and I don’t think the best thing to do
is to celebrate it. I think it demands prayer.
Now that your man might not be close to you, how do you cope with
your sexual feelings whenever it comes?

Don’t be too rude! Can you please move to another thing! A woman is a woman; we
know how we cope with our feelings when it comes.
Share with us, how women generally cope with such kind of feelings
No I won’t. This is a private thing. But somehow, we get over it. If you make
it an issue, it becomes an issue. If you allow the thought to dwell, it dwells.
When you are occupied with a lot of things, you give no room to the devil.

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