Five Star Music CEO, Emeka Okonkwo, popularly called E-Money and his wife, Juliet, talk about their love story
How did you meet your spouse?
Juliet: I met my husband at a video shoot by Julius Agwu, in 2003. I was at the shoot to support Agwu as a long-time friend of his. Prior to meeting my husband, I was already friends with his brother, Kcee.
Was your first impression of him favourable?
Juliet: He bore a striking resemblance to Kcee, so I imagined they were twins. I liked him when we met for the first time and we started out as friends. We dated for four years and decided to get married afterwards. He was very mature for his age and had a kind heart. He was very reserved, welcoming and spoke affectionately about his family.
E-Money: When we met, I was a young man who was struggling to make ends meet and she was equally very young. She was in her sophomore year at the university. Because she was my first girlfriend and the first woman I ever loved, I remained faithful to her. I was looking for a God-fearing lady who wasn’t excessively concerned with material possessions and who I could plan a future with. Fortunately, I found those qualities in her. Even though I lived in Ajegunle, with my brothers at that time, she visited me on several occasions. I remember that on one of those occasions, she fell into a gutter in a flooded street.
Why did it take you so long to propose to her?
E-Money: I was only waiting for the right time to ask her to marry me but I knew where the relationship was headed from the outset. I had met other ladies in the past, but they all lacked the qualities I mentioned earlier.
How did you propose to her?
E-Money: I presented her with a car as an engagement gift.
Why did you accept his proposal?
Juliet: My family and I were on the verge of relocating to the United Kingdom, but I was happy that I was already in a relationship with him. I felt it was a good reason to always visit Nigeria given that I had fallen in love with him and his personality. On one occasion, I was cash-strapped and he willingly parted with the last N1,000 he had on him. I was completely taken aback by that act of generosity.
Did you think he would become this wealthy?
Juliet: When we started dating, my friends were surprised that I sidestepped all the rich guys in Lekki, where I was resident for a man who lived in Ajegunle but I was not bothered. I looked forward to getting a good job upon my graduation from the university. He didn’t even have enough money to take us back to Lagos after our traditional marriage.
E-Money: Kcee was the one who lent me N20, 000. I used it to pay our fare to Lagos.
At what point did you begin to experience a turnaround in your finances?
E-Money: We were on our way to Lagos when I received a phone call informing me that I had been awarded a $2m contract and that is how our lives changed forever.
Did you face any challenges owing to the differences in your backgrounds?
Juliet: My parents were already deceased when we met but other members of my family blessed our union.
You do not live in Nigeria…
Juliet: I’m a British citizen and I love the environment over there. I like the quality of education which is good for my children. I tried to settle in Nigeria but I could not fit in. When I am away, my husband and I have unhindered communication. It is so good that we do not really feel any vacuum.
He visits us every two weeks and he’s actively involved in the lives of our children. We are okay this way.
How do you handle disagreements?
E-Money: We don’t invite anybody to act as a go-between; we manage to resolve disagreements ourselves. I won’t say we are saints or angels but we hardly ever quarrel. I may want to be by myself whenever we disagree, but she won’t allow it. We always find a way to resolve our differences amicably.
Juliet: A lot of people don’t know that my husband is a closet comedian; he always finds a way to cheer me up when we disagree. I owe the success of my marriage to Kcee; he understands me so well. Although we hardly invite a third party to intervene when there are issues, but I invite Kcee sometimes.
What would you want to change about your spouse?
E-Money: I don’t want to change anything about her; I love her just the way she is.
How do cope with advances from the opposite sex?
Juliet: We laugh about it and sometimes, I tease him about his female admirers. If anyone gets a bit out of hand, I step in and put them in their place. We operate an open-door policy.
Do you have access to each other’s social media accounts?
E-Money: Yes, we do but we don’t have any reason to go over each other’s account. She controls our social media accounts.
Do you both run a joint account?
Juliet: We do and I was the one who initiated it. My husband doesn’t like to carry cash so, I control and manage our finances. I am very involved; I know who he works for, his clients and other details of his business.
Can you keep secrets from each other?
Juliet: No, I don’t and if it is something that would affect him, I make sure I go about it in a diplomatic manner.
E-Money: I don’t keep secrets from her because I don’t have any reason to do so.
Describe your marriage?
Juliet: Our marriage is built on the fear of God and founded on love. We are friends to ourselves, children and staff. He has a heart of gold even though some people like to take advantage of him. There is nothing I have asked for that he has not provided. Sometimes, he makes things available even before I ask.
E-Money: Juliet is God’s gift to me.