When our Nollywood source had notified us of this story a few weeks ago, we had prayed that the couple would work out their differences and remain married. I make a full disclosure here that Stella Damasus is one of the top Nollywood actresses that I genuinely like, and whose talents and grace even in the face of adversity she never betrayed or compromised. In an industry that is defined by all manner of shenanigans and conspicuous consumption of things flesh and flashy, Stella Damasus has truly carried herself with a unique aplomb and self respect.

In our April 2009 edition, we had broken the story of her engagement and eventual marriage to Mr. Emeka Nzeribe – a close relation of the infamous Nigerian politician – Arthur Nzeribe who single handely helped annul and truncate the march to democracy that the 1993 presidential elections had embodied. In the story, we had quoted her close friend who told us that she, like many other friends of the popular actress was worried by the fact that Stella may have foreclosed the prospects of remarriage, following the death of her first husband – Jaiye Aboderin from heart attack five years ago. They were heartened when Stella told them she had found love again in Emeka Nzeribe and had crowed about his gentlemanly tendencies and what a great shoulder to lean on he was! Emeka we had concluded in that story had moved into Stella’s home in Lekki – a choice neighborhood on Victoria Island-Lagos, Nigeria and the couple had appeared destined for a happy life together. However, according to an authoritative source – one that was privy to the couple’s marital challenges, the six-monthold marriage has collapsed and the husband – Emeka has already moved out of their matrimonial home.

The dissolution of the marriage has shocked and saddened many in Nollywood and her close friends. Stella Damasus, as I stated earlier is one of the few Nollywood Alist actresses that has not had a lot of unsavory stories of sexual dalliances ascribed to her. Before she got married to the late Jaiye Aboderin, she was linked romantically with two other people: Richard Mofe-Damijo – a frequent co-star and top musician – Sammie Okposo. Though it remained merely speculative about her alleged romantic relationship with RMD, she had not discounted the rumor – neither did Richard – giving fuel to the rumor that they indeed, had a fling. Her romance with Sammie Okposo – a talented artiste, who had also dated top actress – Kate Henshaw, previously, was a known fact. When she got married to the late Jaiye Aboderin, many had celebrated the union as close to a perfect one, given the manner they had celebrated their marriage, and the fact that both seemed not to have enough of each other. Unfortunately, Jaiye died five years ago, following a massive heart attack, and Stella’s world almost crumbled. After mourning her husband for years, she threw herself back into the industry, and actually played a real life role in the movie – “The Widow”. It was in the course of this, that she met her second husband – Emeka Nzeribe and six months ago, they got married.

The question many are asking is: how did a marriage that had so much promise fail so soon? What happened? According to insider accounts, the marriage was all but certain to collapse. It was just a question of time. “Stella did not quite know Emeka very well before she got married to him” a source told us “She was probably carried away by his good looks, and possibly family pedigree. It turned out that Emeka was none of what he had purported himself to be. Continued on page 10. Stella Damasus, during happier times with her first husband – the late Jaiye Aboderin. First and foremost, he moved into Stella’s Lekki home, and became totally controlling. Before he came into Stella’s life, she had a responsibility to her siblings. With Emeka in the picture, there were tensions and Stella was torn between filial fidelity and fidelity the husband. If Emeka had shown the capacity to compromise, it would have been easy to resolve, but he wanted to assert his rights as the husband, and was unwilling to accept anything else. Soon, the children from Stella’s previous marriage to Jaiye began to feel the tension and that was where Stella put her foot down. Her children, she had maintained come first and if Emeka was not ready to deal with that, he could kiss the marriage goodbye. Soon, the couple began to inexorably drift apart and people started noticing Stella going out without wearing her wedding ring.” Another sore point in the sixmonth old marriage was that Emeka did not totally fulfill some expectations of a man who should be the head of the household. “Stella was the one who brought home the bacon, while her husband was content to enjoying the fruits of her hard work. Stella did not quite mind this, initially, but when he started to question her relationship with her business associates – implying other motives, Stella felt very offended, especially given the fact that she did not compromise her marital vows in all her business dealings.” Another source told us, infidelity was a major issue that torpedoed the marriage. According to this source “With the tension that was building up in their marriage reaching a boiling point, the two were hardly intimate and were sleeping in separate beds. Emeka, our source said, stated to have affairs with other women and did not seem to keep it under wraps. He flaunted the affairs openly, angering Stella who also, allegedly reached out to an ex-boyfriend and resumed an affair with him.” Her reasoning in resuming an affair with an ex-boyfriend our source stated was “to deal with the devil you know as opposed to the angel you cavort.” With the two openly having affairs and showcasing it, it was all but time for the charade that was their marriage to finally collapse like a deck of cards. According to our source, Stella is done with marriage. After two “attempts at fulfilling this sacred responsibility – the first one due to her husband’s sudden death, and the second collapsing under the heaps of deceit, insecurity and infidelity, she has decided to devote her time to her children, her career and her business in marketing and events management. Maybe, marriage was not meant for her.”

Story culled from the March edition of The Diasporan Star.