He is one of Nollywood’s "bad boys". Tall and good-looking Prince Eke, also known as Mr. Humility, is among the few celebrities who chose their spouses within the entertainment industry. More than a year after walking down the aisle with popular singer, Faith Nwaumo, popularly known as Muma Gee, Eke maintained that getting married to a star is the best thing that has happened to him. Indeed, the Imo State-born actor says marriage has made him a more responsible man because he’s now ‘caged’, having no more time to chill out with his friends like before. In this interview, Prince Eke vowed to keep his marriage no matter the challenges. Excerpts:
Who really is Prince Eke? - Prince Eke, also known as Mr. Humility, is an actor, model, writer and also a movie director. I come from Ngor-Okpala, Imo State and I’m the last of eight children, seven boys and a girl. The girl happens to be the first child. I am a Psychology graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. I did my Masters in International Relations in Imo State University. I am the CEO of G-cliff Nigeria Limited, an entertainment company. We are into branding, event planning, and movie production. We also have G-cliff Records under which Muma Gee is operating.
How was your growing up like? - Growing up was fun. I was going to school from the house as a day student. It was when I entered Holy Ghost College, Owerri that I became a boarding student. It was fun, those days I used to ride my mother’s motorbike before driving her car. It was fun but some days were rough though
When did you venture into acting? - I started acting in 2003 after my youth service and my first movie was Indecent Proposal, which was shot in Port Harcourt. Ever since then God has been faithful to me.
Did anybody try to discourage you from acting? - My people wanted me to read law but I said ‘no’ because my elder brother who happens to be a judge in Imo State was then a lawyer who had a chamber in Ojo, Lagos. I refused studying law because of him. I just didn’t like him because he was very disciplined. There was no time I would play pranks like other teenagers that I will go scot-free, he would always catch me. So, because of that, I developed a dislike for him as a teenager. I would say ‘which kind person be this, you no go fit play, he go catch you. And you say make I go read law and become like am?’ So, I said to myself ‘I won’t study law, I don’t want to be a lawyer like him. He doesn’t want me to become what I want; if he sees me with a person he will flog me, why?’ One day, he said to me ‘I don’t want to see you with a girl on this street, get your admission first, when you enter the university you will see more beautiful babes’. Not until recently I realized that he was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Tell us more about your late parents, how has life being after their death? - My parents are late. My father was director of schools in Imo State as at 1981, he actually died as a University of Jos lecturer in 1986. My mum died in 2007, I am the last child in the family, I have six elder brothers. They didn’t pamper me rather I got the beating of my life. You know how it is when you’re asked to do something and you didn’t do it, they would come together to beat me. They were like ‘I don’t want this boy to spoil, mama, you are overpampering this boy’ and before I knew it I would begin to get slaps from left, right and center.
Which among your parents do you miss most? - My mum because I didn’t spend much time with my dad. He died 26 years ago while my mum died just five years ago.
Who among your siblings, teachers or parents inspires you most? - My mum, she was my best friend and my elder brothers too, they have given me good advices, if not for them I won’t be where I am today. My mum actually was a school teacher, and being the last born, I was admitted into primary one at the age of four because there was no one to stay with her. So, I usually went to school with her. I started driving her car at the age of 15 or 16. I was so close to my mom. My parents were teachers and also disciplinarians.
You have stopped acting since you got married in December 2011, is it because of your marriage to Muma Gee? - No, I have not slowed down, the truth of the matter is that I am on another level right now and I don’t just take roles the way they come these days. I am being selective on the kind of role I play so that I won’t kill my career. I have gotten to a level where I should select the kind of roles I play. Actually, I happened to be the first Nigerian living inside Nigeria to get a Hollywood contract.
Has it been easy marrying a star like you? - I don’t think there is anything to it, it’s just a normal thing, and we are living our lives like best of friends. She is a star and I am a star also but we don’t really see ourselves like stars. We see ourselves like friends, we play, we laugh, and we respect each other’s feelings.
How do you encourage people who want to get married to a star like you? - Marriage is a beautiful thing. I think its more beautiful when you get married to a celebrity because both of you will always be recognized anywhere you go. Most people will say celebrities are rude, they are not humble but I don’t think so. For instance, my wife cooks my food. I don’t eat out and the cook does not even prepare my food, the only person that cooks for me is my wife. So, I see it as a normal thing.
It has always been that celebrity marriages don’t last? - People always say that celebrity marriage does not last but I do not believe in what people say. I am a different person, a different entity, I am not just a human being, I am a super human being. Where others fail, I succeed. It’s my identity, where others go and sit I am standing and I am outstanding. In my marriage, opting out is not an option. My marriage is the best and so shall it remain the best. If anybody believes that celebrity marriage will always break, mine is an exception.
Do you keep your wife away from your activities like some actors do? - I don’t have to keep my wife away from things I do, she is a professional, and I am a professional also. She knows when to allow me do my thing. After we had our traditional marriage, the first movie I did, I was naked in it. The movie was produced by Chijioke Nnaji and entitled, Mirror of Life. I had to call her and say ‘sweetie, I am going naked in this movie’, and she said ‘wait, are you showing your bum bum in the movie?’ I said ‘yes’, She then asked ‘are you showing your dick?’ I said ‘no’ and she said ‘okay, do your thing’.
How do you strike a balance, you’re into acting and she’s into music. How do you manage? - We put families first. The whole thing is very simple. Life is very simple when you understand it. I can’t remember the last time I tried to differentiate between my family and career, they are two different things wrapped up in one. That is what makes me. When I finish shooting I go back and stay with my family. If am not working, I stay at home all day. If I have to go and shoot, I tell my wife ‘sweetie, I am off to location’, she understands. Most times, she comes to location with me but stays in the hotel. While I was shooting a movie in Abuja she kept coming almost every two weeks and I stayed in Abuja for three months. So, I don’t really feel the distance.
How did your wife feel after acting nude in a movie?- She understands that I am doing my job. I am doing my job, really.
So far, what is your experience in marriage? - Yea, the year I’ve spent in marriage has been awesome. It’s a wonderful experience. You know, marriage comes with little misunderstanding here and there, once in a while but there is nothing wrong with misunderstanding. So, for me the year has been awesome. The people who believe that celebrity marriages will always break up, they shouldn’t worry, they will celebrate the golden jubilee with me.
People say that you are going into politics; is it true? - I am an actor not a politician, I am not going into politics but if I have to do anything for a politician, I will do it. All you need do is contract me and once you pay my bills, I will do it but for now I am not going into politics.
Let’s talk about the project you are doing with the government? - It’s a movie project. I did it with the Rivers State government in Port Harcourt, and it was a theme song that my wife did for the 17th annual sports festival entitled, Garden City Games. She did the theme song for the local organizing committee and the deputy governor of Rivers State, Engr. Telle Okoye sponsored the video shoot which I directed. So that doesn’t make me a politician.
You are one of the ‘bad boys’ in Nollywood, how do you cope with female admirers? - They come and go. The truth of this is that these bees are always attracted to the honeycomb; people are attracted to their opposites, so it’s not a new thing but God has been wonderful for His wisdom to handle it. I handle my fans well especially my female fans, I relate with them, get close to them but I keep a level because I will not want my rapport or relationship with a fan to destroy my home.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you? - A girl kissing me on the road but she actually got a hot slap from my girlfriend that time, I wasn’t married then. It happened in Owerri two years ago. I got down from a car and was about entering a supermarket when a fan saw me. She crossed the road, rushed to where I was standing, hugged and gave me a kiss. My then girlfriend just came down from the car and gave her a hot slap and that actually broke the relationship with her.
Now you are married, what do you miss? - When you use the word ‘miss’ it’s like you yearn for them to come back, I don’t miss anything. But sometimes when I hear my friends say to themselves that ‘we are going clubbing this night, e get one babe wey dey find me come’, I’ll say that marriage will make you a responsible man because I can’t just wake up and jump into my car and say I am going to the club. No, I don’t club anyhow anymore. Even those days before I got married, I never used to club like that. Sometimes I miss those days of hanging out with chicks but this time around, it’s strictly my wife and I.