Nollywood actresses nearly stopped my marriage – Lancelot Imasuen
By BENJAMIN NJOKU 05-08-2013
Celebrated Nollywood director and producer, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, is one man you cannot but admire for his professional exploits. He got married to his lovely wife, Osas, some six years ago, at the age of 36 years. The marriage is blessed with three kids. Lancelot says his initial dream was to get married at the age of 27. The couple takes us through their matrimonial journey.
After six years of marriage , the journey has been exciting and memorable. “I and my wife are getting to know more about each other. Though marriage comes with its challenges, we thank God we have come this far and it’s getting really exciting. It’s not an easy thing for a woman to marry somebody in our business because of the nature of the job. This is my 18th year in Nollywood and 32 years as an artiste. So, my wife understands the nature of the job I’m doing to earn a living.’
I married at the age of 36. But if you ask me what my regret in life is, I would tell you I have one or two. I wanted to pursue my academic program up to the PhD level. But that never happened.
Again, I thought I would marry at the age of 27. At 26, I was already contemplating settling down. But because of the extended family system that is peculiar with Africans, I couldn’t actualise that dream. I have always envisaged a small but united immediate family for myself.
So, I wanted to see how much I could be of assistance to my extended family members before setting out to build my own nuclear family. For me, late marriage comes with its own price. I was into a relationship for seven years that did not work out. The ex-lover walked out of the relationship without any cause. It was so devastating for me.
I never believed I could remain a bachelor beyond the age of 29 or 30. But it wasn’t so. The important thing is not how far, rather it is how well .For six years now, I have been married with three kids. My wife is a treasure to me .Over the years, I have watched her perfect the art of understanding the kind of man she got married to.
Each time she sees me, she’s very happy and I try as much as possible to play my role as a husband to her.
Finding a wife in Nollywood!
There was no way I could have married an actress because I’m somebody that is greatly misunderstood. I cherish my wife so much because if she had listened to what my female colleagues told her about me, perhaps, I wouldn’t have been married by now.
However, it was after our wedding that I got to know how much some actresses tried to discourage my wife from marrying me. I was shocked when one of them came to my house after our white wedding to apologise to me.
I didn’t know she was my wife’s friend. She visited us in the house; while my wife was in the kitchen, she approached me to confess some of the negative things she told her about me that were not true.
The opposite sex would admire more from a distance, but they thought I was too strict to be called somebody’s husband. I suffered that fate because of the movie industry. So , any woman that creates time to be with me could not understand that I’m a man that has taken time to create a dichotomy between my private life and my job. It was only very few of them who understood my position.
As a matter of fact, my disposition to the job was to get to where I am today; to make a name for myself and the industry. My insistence on professionalism robbed me of the opportunity to be romantically linked to my female colleagues in the industry. In fact, any woman I approached then would tactically avoid having anything to do with me.
But today, time is proving all that wrong. I have been able to create that demarcation. When we are on location, all those professional ethics must be observed; I don’t allow sentiment to come between my job and love life, because if I’m emotionally attached to you ,I wouldn’t want to get you on the same production that I’m involved in .That’s me, and a lot of actresses did not understand my position.
In fact, when I was getting married, they told my wife I was married with kids because, at the time I met my wife, I had travelled to over 20 countries. And during that period, people thought I had a family of my own. But they didn’t understand the important of the saying that you must lay your bed the way you want to lie on it. That has been my guiding principle.
Tempted to quit
I was of marriageable age before I got married. I didn’t dabble into marriage. I was ready mentally, psychologically and emotionally. That’s not to say we have not had our issues. But I’m never too proud to say, ‘honey I’m sorry,’ whenever I gaffe. And, on her own,
she never feels too proud to say, ‘daddy, I’m sorry,’ whenever I’m able to prove that she has offended me. That has worked for us. My wife is loving, peaceful and extremely loyal to me. She loves what I do for a living and she’s my number one fan and critic. I’m always inquisitive to hear her comment on my new productions.
Most times, I believe that marriages to celebrities are always for the wrong reasons. I did a thorough research to come up with a title of a film, “In Between the Lines”, which is a promotional film I did for the Federal Inland Revenue Service. The film is a love story on how and why most celebrity marriages don’t last. There is always a misunderstanding, especially when men who are not Nollywood practitioners, marry female celebrities. They watch a love scene, or see their wives kiss in a film, they tend to misinterpret her role in that film and real life situation. For us in the industry, it’s always the problem of never being around home. We are jumping from one movie location to another. It takes the grace of God and discipline for your spouse to understand your predicament.
Our relationship had so many detractors — wife
Lancelot is somebody that is very different from the way he looks. When I first met him, I had my impression about him. More so, a couple of other people had told me a lot of negative things about him. But despite that, I took my time to understudy him. Basically, he’s a nice person, very down to earth .He does not like anything to bother him and he’s a sincere person at heart.
How I met him
I met him at a bus station in Benin-City. I was on my way to Lagos, just like he was. I sat beside him, somehow, we got talking and, along the line, we exchanged phone numbers. The rest is history.
Familiar with his name!
Yes, I think I was particularly interested in him and his works. This is because of where he comes from (Benin). In fact, before I met my husband, I wasn’t a big fan of Nigerian movies. But whenever I saw any movie directed by him, I wanted to watch that movie because I knew it would be a good movie.
Moreover, my sister, who used to be a very big fan of Nollywood movies encouraged me to watch movies directed by Lancelot. That’s how I really got to know him and his works on screen.
My reaction at the bus station
Actually, I sighted him from a distance. I had seen him a couple of times on television. I just said in my mind, ‘oh! This is Lancelot’. Then, I walked pass him and acted as if nothing happened. Fortunately, I was privileged to sit beside him in the bus. I didn’t allow the joy of sitting beside a superstar overwhelm me.
Initially, I rejected his proposal. But much later, I accepted him. What happened was that, at first, I really didn’t know much about his person. Again, because he was already a superstar, I had to seek advice from friends and well- wishers, who tried to discourage me from marrying him.
Somehow, I was confused but, on second thought, I said to myself, ‘let me get to know more about this man that everybody is trying to castigate’. And when I did, I discovered that he wasn’t that kind of person many people thought he was. When I found out he was much more different and a nice person, I accepted his marriage proposal.
But even during our introduction, some detractors told me he was married with kids, but I was not bothered.
What it takes to be his wife
It takes someone who is peaceful, kind and who will always be there for him.
What I don’t like about him
I used to complain that he’s always busy and that he throws his clothes around in the house.
In the early stage of our marriage, his not always around bothered me a lot, but, with time, the understanding is getting better. Sometimes, it can be lonely, but with the kids around, coupled with working on my project, which is fashion designing, I’m busy and less bothered. I don’t feel it any more.
ChanceIt’s been awesome.
I give God the glory. If I have the chance to do it all over again, I will do it with him. Yes, there are challenges but I think it’s just a learning process. When you have issues in marriage and you have someone who tells you the truth about what goes on, you are bound to retrace your steps. I thank God we have come this far, and I know that we are going to be together forever.