Grace Edwin-Okon, an actress and producer, has been married to Alex for a decade. The couple talk about their marriage
Have you always been friends?
Grace: We met in 1999 at his brother’s house in Surulere, Lagos. I went there to rehearse with a theatre group, Rhythm of the Black Man, which I belonged to at the time. We got talking and he found out that aside from acting, I was also into business.
How did the relationship develop?
Alex: The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) had just been introduced into Nigeria and there was a boom in the payphone industry. I offered to assist with her telecoms business because we were in the same line of business. At first, we were business partners and later we became became lovers.
What attracted you to each other?
Grace: It was not a case of love at first sight because I was more interested in his intellect- he is an extremely intelligent man. He always had a solution to every issue. He is a very sound and well-grounded man. I call him my opposite because he complements me. I am extremely playful while he is very calm. We are a great team. We also invested in three different businesses during the period we courted and they were all successful. Following that singular action, I realised he was the one ordained for me.
Alex: Aside from her acting prowess, I was attracted to her business acumen. I discovered we had similar interests. We lost contact for a while and I didn’t see her for almost a year. One day, I returned home to meet a note she left for me and I was very excited.
At what point did you discover that you had developed feelings for each other?
Grace: In 2003, he visited me at the Delta State University where I was schooling at the time and all my friends took an instant liking to him; they called him my husband.I think he used lovely texts and love notes to woo me. I didn’t give him a chance because I was in a relationship at the time and so was he. I also share the same name with his mother-her name is Grace Edwin-Okon
Alex: I wasn’t in a serious relationship when I asked her out. I basically fell in love with her persona.
How did he propose?
Grace: He never did. All he said was, “I want to see your parents.” Since he is extremely shy, I presume that was why he didn’t propose to me in an elaborate manner.
Alex: I did ask her to marry me at her dad’s house. I knew she wanted something grand but I didn’t do it that way.
Did you have the blessings of your parents?
Alex: My family is a very liberal one so they didn’t have anything against our union.
Grace: My dad is from Delta State while my mum is from Rivers states(her mum is a native of Akwa Ibom) so it felt like I was going back home. My husband is a native of Akwa Ibom State.
How would you describe your marriage?
Grace: We have been married for 10 years and it has been an interesting journey. In the course of our marriage, we have learnt tolerance, love and submission.
What do you love the most about your spouse?
Grace:I wanted to go behind the scene as a producer or writer shortly after we met but he didn’t like the idea- he wanted me to remain an actress because he felt it was safer. According to him, I won’t have to bother about the finances and welfare of my cast; he doesn’t like me taking risks. He invested a lot of money in my first movie- Heavy Beauty and we had done some children’s productions together
Alex: I am comfortable with her career as an actress and I know some people think that is unusual. I didn’t even know she was a former beauty queen or a famous actress. When we go out together, the focus is always on her while I am content with being in the background.
How do you cope with the attention she receives from the opposite sex?
Alex: They woo my wife in my presence and most times, they don’t even know I am her husband. I don’t do or say anything whenever this happens. Even when she attends some events in my absence, they ask her out and when she returns home, she tells me all that happened. Whenever I accompany her to some red carpet events, people flock her for photographs and autographs but I am not bothered because I am enlightened.
Grace: Admirers think he is my brother. Some are not bothered that I am married.
What don’t you like about your spouse?
Alex: My wife can be very disorganised and I am the exact opposite. I don’t like it when a space is littered with items. A lot of the times, I have to help her put things in order.
Grace:My husband is a perfectionist and it can be annoying.
Do you run a joint account?
Alex: Yes, we do because we are also business partners. We are both signatories to the account.
Do you have access to each other’s phones and social media accounts?
Mercy: Yes, I do because I am very open. I don’t have secrets because I have nothing to hide. My husband knows my ATM pins and social media account passwords. e
Alex: My wife doesn’t even know her car number plate and that of her parents. I know all of that by heart. Sometimes, she asks me for people’s phone numbers and I give to her.
Does he help out with the house chores?
Alex: Yes, I do and I cook once in a while. I also shop for groceries and she does not have to ask me to before I do so.
Who is first to apologise after a disagreement?
Grace:I don’t bear grudges but instead of apologising, he buys chocolates to appease me.
Alex: She is a God-fearing person and my wife doesn’t keep records of wrong. After a serious argument, she resumes talking to me almost immediately. It’s usually as if nothing happened and that upsets me. I have since realised that it is her personality.
Do you watch
movies she is featured in?
Alex: Yes, I do. I have a collection of her films because she doesn’t keep her movies. At some point, I shopped for all the movies she has featured in and kept them for posterity.
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