•His Wife, LADY DIANE Tells City People Their Love Story
His reak name is Charles Oputa. But he is better known as Charly Boy. Some others call him His Royal Punkness, while others simply call him Area Fada. This enigmatic gentleman represents different things to different people. To many, he is perhaps one of the most consummate artistes to come out of this part of the world.
His artistry, his stage presence and the depth of his craft remain his biggest strength as an artiste. To some others, Charly Boy would probably remain one of the most creatively gifted individuals they have ever known. He has also been variously described as one of the incredibly brilliant minds the creative industry has ever produced.
His ability to transit seamlessly from an accomplished artiste to a celebrated television presenter/personality and then to a social commentator and human rights activist, leading the line of protests with the likes of the late Gani Fawehinmi, has been nothing short of impressive. This is why till date, he has remained the authentic voice of the down trodden.
But to Lady Diane, his gorgeous looking wife of 42 years and still counting, Charly Boy simply remains the most adorable human being and husband she could ever have wished for.
The big news is that Charly Boy, the convener of the popular #OurMumuDonDo Movement is turning 70 on June19, 2020.
His family, colleagues in the industry, friends and well wishers, are all gearing up to celebrate him one way or another, even as the Covid-19 pandemic has made it impossible for a grand event to be organised in his honour. As we speak, a number of programmes have been rolled out to run through the next few days and climax with the release of a musical collaboration with Oritse Femi.
Everyone is excited at the news that this Icon of the music industry is turning 70. Many even find it hard to believe that His Royal Punkness is that far gone in age because he doesn’t look anything like a 70 years old man. He looks more like a man twenty years younger than his actual age.
He is still very strong, looks refreshingly young, enjoys sound health and remains active as an activist. Yet, this amazing father of nine resourceful and successful children is a grand pa sixteen times over!
Perhaps the most excited person about Charly Boy’s new age milestone is his lovely wife, Lady Diane. All through the last 42 years, she has been with her man and stood by him through thick and thin. She is super excited and thankful that her dear Charles, regardless of all the storms they weathered together, is actually turning 70, and she is still standing beside him, loving him all the way into his old age.
In this interview with City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290), Lady Diane, who hardly grants interviews, opened up on her 42 years marriage to Charly Boy and shares with us all of the joys and challenges of being married to a famous and controversial personality like her husband. Enjoy excerpts of the interview.
What was the thing that attracted you to him when you first met him?
His uniqueness of course, and the fact that he is a gentle man, very sensitive, passionate, loving and a giving person. I must also add intriguing and adventurous because that was the first thing I noticed about him.
People say there is a whole lot of difference between courting and marriage, did you experience that in yours?
If people are saying that, then they are sure right. There is a big difference between courting and marriage. As boyfriend and girlfriend, you don’t have much responsibilities, you stay just focused on each other. After marriage comes a lot of responsibilities, children, in-laws, income, bills and a lot more. Marriage is a time to take charge and be serious, it is no longer a play thing. But if you have managed to be friends during courtship years, it makes the journey a bit easy. Courtship is playful, marriage is serious business. That is just the simple truth. We have for over 40 years taken care of business.
How have you guys managed to last longer (42 years) than a lot of other celebrities?
I have been able to manage very well because of the man I got married to. Charles is a strong family man, a decent gentleman one who puts his family first before anything else. He has been a wonderful husband, a good father and a wonderful son to his parents. Charles is the husband every woman dreams about. He is sensitive, he listens, the first to apologize if he is wrong. I love his never say die spirit. I think we were ordained by God to marry each other because we both want the same thing. We are committed to our marriage.
Like they say, it takes two to tango. However our marriage has not been a bed of roses, we have our issues and challenges, but because we are best of friends, because we are loyal to our commitment we always resolve whatever issue that comes up, to move forward. We don’t have a perfect marriage, no such thing in this world, but we have a friendship that has endured through time. It has been a long journey and we have had ups and downs within the 42 years that we have been together. But we are happy together. A lot of couples haven’t got that far-we are really privileged. I thank God.
At the time CB became immensely popular and you were always by his side, how did you deal with all the female attention he must’ve been getting back then?
In the beginning it was women, women, women! My gosh! Women everywhere. Charles is a charmer, he’s a flirt. But I know where his heart is at. During his hay days as a performer, his acts were sometimes so overboard that I will refuse doing his background vocals and we always argued/quarreled about that. But as the years rolled by I found ways of calming him down, and curing my high blood pressure. I later found out that the women were more for his hypes and pons, Some on stage and others off stage. Like the charly’s virgins. One thing I knew from the beginning was that my husband always wanted to be a family man, after all he grew up seeing both parents together for sixty something years before papa/mama passed on. He comes from a very stable family. Much later the women thing totally fizzled out, like he has outgrown several stuffs.
In the beginning I wasn’t too sure how to deal with all his children from different women, but trust Charles, he knows how to put his family together. That’s how I overnight became a mother of 9 children plus my last three. The only thing that he still does that pisses me off till tomorrow is his silence, when he is angry about something. He will lock himself in his room and may not talk to me for few days. I can’t deal with that because we talk all the time. Our communication is on point. He always says he doesn’t want to say the wrong things when he is angry. Otherwise, Charles is the best thing to happen to me and I thank God for that. He is my rock, Charles knows about commitment, respect and friendship.
Your marriage has lasted well over forty years, why do you think many other celebrities have not been so lucky with theirs?
Celeb marriages are not different from any other marriage, however, the bottom-line is that both parties have to know what they want from the start. For most young people, it’s about the packaging and never the content. Marriage is about two people who want to stay married no matter the weather, if one person wants it more than the other it won’t work. The ingredients for a fairly decent marriage, will be mutual respect, good communication between the couples and good friendship. Thank God that today what we have most, is old fashioned friendship. My husband is not your typical Nigerian person, above all he listens and he is very sensitive to how I am feeling as my friend and it’s all mutual.
Has your trust in him ever been shaken?
Yes, especially in the beginning, lets say the first maybe 15 years, too many drama that I was dealing with. It wasn’t easy at all but I also matured along the way. I began to see things for what they really are not for what it looked like. Experience has taught me how to separate the boy Charly from my man Charles. Charly is an incorrigible botton pusher and that will never stop, but my man Charles is also an incorrigible introvert and that’s who I married. A few times he has reported himself to me and he is not good at lying. Being fulfilled in marriage is guaranteed when your spouse is supportive, understanding and sensitive to your feelings and most importantly, when he is always looking for creative ways to keep the fire burning. I also matured over the years to know what’s important and what’s a distraction. He both have made heavy emotional investment in this marriage and like he says, “We both die here.”
What keeps your marriage alive?
Hummm!!!! Charly can be an unrepentant romantic when he wants to be. Though he hasn’t pulled any stunt to sweep me off my feet recently, but he can be full of surprises. The last time, he asked me to escort him to the airport to receive a certain business partner from the Carribean. Before I knew what was happening, I was on my way to the Bahamas, Sweden and Dubai, with nothing but my purse. He knows I love romance and from time to time he figures ways to sweep me off my feet. That’s why we try to keep it as youthful and as fresh as we can. We really work at it. It’s not easy but we are determined. Charles woos me with his outlandish and elaborate stunts, and I like it. I always look forward to my birthdays. We are like two buddies.
Is your husband religious?
Charles has always been spiritual, has always given himself to service. He has always been an inspiration to millions of frustrated Nigerian youths. His life style has made thousands chase their own dreams and never gave up on themselves. Yes, people were not too sure what to make of him, because he kept confusing people who couldn’t see the humour or the sense in how he was putting out the different things he was doing.
He has always been about how he can add value to his environment and the people he meets. He may not have been a regular church goer but was a Christian by his actions. I guess the difference now is that the press seems to be reporting more of his works and the value he promotes than all the stunts he pulls to keep the people guessing.
But, yes, he is more calmer now, more at peace now and more spiritual. Like they say, there is a time and season for everything. He has been there, done that and seen that, what else can be new to him? So, I guess the best of his spirituality is pouring out. He is doing what God wants him to do and living his life on purpose.