Sequel to varying reports of what really triggered the separation of star actress Tonto Dike from her husband of less than two years Olakunle Churchill, Tonto has granted a video interview to give a detailed account of what really went down. Read the transcript as adapted from Stella Dimoko Korkus
How did you feel when your son was handed to you after birth?
The feeling was really strange. It was like carrying my own heart in my arms. I heard his heartbeat. I was so overwhelmed but I enjoy every minute of it till date.
When you had him, did you care about your career or it wasn’t important at that moment?
Truthfully, I didn’t have any other thought apart from being a mother. I just dedicated my life to going through my pregnancy, coming to terms with it and giving birth. I knew that I was not going back to work immediately because of the love I have for my son. I knew it was impossible to leave him at home. I have always told myself that when I give birth, I would like to breastfeed my child for a year and not go anywhere. I breastfed him for a year and a week.
What do you miss most about being single?
You really do not miss anything. Life is in stages. When it is time for you to be single, you’ll be single. When it is time for you be married, you’ll be married. When it is time for you to be elevated into another stage of your life, you will be elevated. I wouldn’t say I miss anything being single. My single days were my single days. I did what I did during my single says, that was what was expected but now, I don’t miss it.
What has been your greatest challenge as a mother?
I have never had any challenges with motherhood. I have a competent nanny that takes care of my child properly even when I am not there. Even if I didn’t have a nanny, the welfare of my child would have been one of my greatest worries. I do have the best workers. I work with the best people. Anytime I am away which I am hardly ever, I know my son is safe.
There’s been much publicity lately on your foundation. Can you tell us what it is about?
Well, my foundation wasn’t launched recently. It’s been around for 10years now. What you have been seeing is the “Tonto Dike Back to School Project”. Basically, we are sending children back to school, focusing on the girl child , not forgetting the boy child too. There’s a saying that goes “children are the leaders of tomorrow”. I believe in change and if it has to come, we need to invest in the children who are going to bring about it. That’s what the initiative is all about. I go to random schools that need me.
Is it marriage or motherhood that is preventing you from continuing your career?
I actually slowed down way before marriage due to personal reasons. I found myself thinking about what I really wanted. I was blocked emotionally and spiritually. There was this veil covering my face and I needed to identify with something greater which is God. I left my career to find God. I haven’t gone back to acting because of my son. That’s not to say that I am off the screen forever, I am coming back.
Lately, there have been many stories concerning the happenings in your marriage. What do you have to say about this?
I have heard and read about it. Words cannot quantify how I feel about it. Like you rightly said, the whole issue is out there because I am a public figure. In all of these, I am just praying for strength, wisdom and everything else I need to move in and grow. It is a bitter experience for me to air. It is not easy. I am here because I believe I’ll be helping someone out there by sharing my experience.
Do you have any regrets going into the marriage?
I try to live a life of not regretting my actions. I see every stage I am in as an elevation. I feel like I am going through this fire to come out stronger than I was. For now, I do not regret my marriage.
What has been your most embarrassing moment as a celebrity?
There has been a lot of moments. I cannot pinpoint any particular event. Just sitting down and reading something ill about your self is embarrassing.
If you had your way, what story about yourself would you like to delete from the Internet?
If I had a way, I’ll like to delete my whole existence because of my child. I know that the Internet never dies, he’s going to grow up to read my stories and it is going to hurt him.
Tell us something about Tonto Dike that people do not know
I think people do not know that I am born again. I have been born again for a very long time. I did backslide at some point but I found my way back to God. It’s been amazing and wonderful. I attend Mountain of Fire and I have two great pastors from two good churches that pray for me all the time.
Who do you miss most as a person?
Well, it’s hard for me to be away from my child. I have only been away from him twice . The first time was when I went to Warri. It’s really hard to stay away from him because he’s very clingy. That’s why I have a picture of him that I take with me everywhere I go.
What has been your biggest life lesson?
It has to do with going through things and not letting them bother me.
What is that misconception about you that has brought you close to tears?
I have heard a lot of things about me. It’s the same thing, it never changes. Something that has really hurt me recently was someone coming out to associate me with drugs, as a mother. It hurt me so much because no one sees how much of a good mother I am. Nobody knows the sacrifices I have made for my son. I have a file at home, I do a drug test every month. I write letters to my son, detailing how much his presence has changed my life. That rumour really broke and almost destroyed me.
You recently revealed that you have been treating STDs due to your husband’s cheating ways
First of all, this interview is not meant to discredit my ex-husband. It is not to bring him down or make people hate him. I am doing this for him to be a better man and like I said earlier, someone somewhere might learn from this. I did mention something about STDs. I am not taking back my words because they are not lies. I would not promote it, I would not embarrass my ex-husband in that manner. Domestic violence is real. I do not understand how I went through it over and over again. I didn’t stay back because of my son, I did it For myself because I loved my husband with all of my heart. I stayed because he begged me a couple of times to stay and I just didn’t want to give up on my marriage. I believe people change. Anytime we had issues, my husband comes with a Pastor to beg. We have never had real counselling because he never admits his doings. I asked him over and over again why he kept doing it and if he felt no shame. I have pictures and videos of my domestic violence. I also have pictures at the Nigerian Embassy in Ghana because I had to run to them at some point. I didn’t release the pictures because I was stark naked. My husband has really humiliated me so much. For anyone to tell me I am telling lies against my husband, it really hurts me more.
Were you on holiday in Ghana?
Yes, and he stays in Ghana.
Is it true that his mother once caught you with marijuana and you pushed her down after she confronted you?
That is a lie from the devil. I am close to my mother-in-law and she has never seen me smoke. Mum, if you are watching, you know there were times that I was really sick and you offered me drugs that would make me better that I rejected because I knew I was breastfeeding my baby. I was scared of taking as little as Alabukun because I didn’t know what it was going to do my child. I am saying this with God as my witness, my MIL has never seen me smoke and I did not push her down. Mum, if you are watching this, please tell the truth. I know that Kunle, your son put this story out there. You are a woman like me, you know this is not true. I really do not want to believe you said this.
Recently, a lady named Rosaline Meurer made a video saying she’s your husband’s PA, that she knows you and you are very nice to her. She also celebrated him on his birthday on her IG page. What do you have to say to her claims?
First of all, I do not know her personally but I am aware that she’s sleeping with my husband. I am aware that my husband is taking care of her and she is the reason why he abandoned his son. I’m aware that she’s the reason he abandoned his family because he took her on a trip. She’s not my husband’s sister, he is not her brother. She doesn’t know me and I have never spoken to my husband about her before. I know their story and I know that they are in love. It’s not just a relationship.
Rosaline posted a picture of a car on her IG page
My husband bought the car for her. He is responsible for her upkeep. I have pictures of them on a trip together. That’s something my husband has never done for me or his family. It hurts me because I watched him make every dime he has and I know the sacrifices I made. All I expected from him was to be good to his family. It’s not his first time. I have practically dragged someone off my husband’s private part before. The women are not my problem. I was once single. I am not a saint. I forgive all of them with the love of God in my heart.
Is it true that he has kids from other women?
Yes, it is. My son is not his first child. That was one of my major concerns in the early stage of my marriage because he lied about not having any child. I didn’t even know he was married unto the day the pictures were posted online. Recently, two women have contacted me that they have children for my husband but I cannot verify it. Like I said earlier, this interview is not to throw dirt on hi, pm. One of them said her child is 9months old, the other said her child is two years old. Just as i can’t verify the gay accusations laid out against him. There are claims that he’s bi-sexual.I don’t know if it is true or not.
Is there any chance that you both would work things out if he claims to be a changed person?
I don’t know what the future holds. I just want this phase of my life to be over and to be strong for my son. I really want it to be over because it is preventing me from moving on to greater things. I read negative things on the Internet over this issue every day and it is really affecting me. There are huge projects I am supposed to be working on now but the issue keeps dragging me backwards. Going back to my marriage is a big impossibility. I do not pray to go back. I just want a cordial relationship for my son. He has hurt me so much and it is crazy how he keeps hurting me. People from his camp keep saying nonsense. He brought elders all the way from my village down to Abuja to beg me. Two hours later, I saw a post online by one Mr. Paul who claims to be his manager, saying I lied about all the revelations I made about buying my own cars and all. I do not have anything that belongs to him with me. I left my home with nothing. The clothes I wear today were given to me by Utee because I left my home with absolutely nothing. Thinking of all my husband’s verbal abuse, I felt ugly, unworthy, less human. Then I called Utee and told her I wanted to feel powerful and beautiful.
That was the lowest point in my life, having to ask for help. She responded 2 hours later. I do not want anyone saying I have any of my husband’s property in my possession. I admit seizing one car and selling it off to give my son a better life. I have threat messages from him, saying the car wasn’t mine and I have to return it. They have the Police searching for the car everywhere. I have proof of anything I say about my husband.
There’s a picture of a car he claimed to have gifted your son for his birthday
There’s no such car. That picture is an old picture. I take Uber to drop my son off at school and pick him up. That’s how I run things now. We do not have any car belonging to my husband with us.
What advice do you have for women going through such?
First of all, to anyone who has been battered and bruised physically and emotionally, you are beautiful and God loves you. The truth of this matter is that most women live in self-denial, they want to stay and make it work. They also want to pray and see changes. I advise that you seek help instead. In as much as you claim you are still in such marriage because of your children and wanting to give them a better life, you are actually hurting them. Most abusers grew up in hostile environments and I took my son away from such because I do not want him to grow up and become such a man. It is time for us to speak up for ourselves. The society doesn’t help women because the backlash we receive from leaving our matrimonial homes is always horrible.
The society needs to give us a break, we are humans and we need to heal. I said earlier that granting this interview is not out of anger or to bring down my husband. If my story heals just one person out there, I am okay with that. I am speaking up for all women. Enough is enough! Love does not hurt. It is not supposed to hurt. Please speak up and seek help. I have a deaf ear from all that violence.
I just want to say to everybody that this really hurt me so much and I want it to die down. I want to move forward and stay strong for my son. In as much as half of you would not believe my story or that I am a changed person, I have nothing to prove to you.
I want to thank all the women that have been sending me messages and DMing me, you all have been my source of inspiration. I also want to thank my husband’s first wife, Mrs. Bimbo Coker for all the love and support. She’s been in that position and her advice have been so helpful. Thank you
Interview culled from SDK Blog