Stella Damasus, the beautiful Nollywood actress, musician and mother has been sort of an enigma. Her fresh-faced beauty and ability to cry with such gut-wrenching sincerity in her movies ensured that she was not easily forgotten. I remember watching a music video she did with her late first husband, Jaiye Aboderin several years ago and my dad exclaiming in delight…“Oh I know her! The way she cries is really just amazing!” Yes, Stella has always been a delight. But since the death of her first husband, scandal has tried it’s best to stick to her. It hasn’t been particularly successful because really, this woman has such an innocence about her that nothing seems to touch. In a no-holds barred interview with Vanguard, Stella Damasus gives us a peek into what makes her tick. Here are excerpts of that interview.
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On getting married at the age of 21:
I always wanted to start (married life) early. I always wanted to have children early. I wanted to have an early marriage; I wanted to grow with a family. I wanted to learn the inside of it. I didn’t want to wait and grow, and mature, and become big and famous then start to wonder ‘oh, will anyone marry me now’. I didn’t want that to happen because at 16 I was already popular. I was making money; I was travelling. So at that point looking at my life, I said, if I do this for another five, six, seven years and I don’t start a family, it will become more difficult for me later on. So, I decided if I find somebody who I love, who will love me back, we will go together. We will fight all the fight and make up; we will do whatever but we will grow old together. And that’s what happened.
On losing her husband at such a young age:
They say time heals. I say, I have a different definition. I say time numbs. It is not something that heals, and then that’s it, it’s gone; no. This is someone you planned to spend the rest of your life with, and grow with. Then, we made plans like every other couple. And when that happened…he died when I was 26 with two children. I just felt that my life had ended. So, but with time, this year, December 3rd will be 10 years, one full decade. So it is not healing, I won’t call it healing but I will say it numbs and once in a while, the pain is as fresh like yesterday. But it is how you deal with it that matters. And that’s what I have had to do for the past 10 years. I am very grateful for the family I have.
About her marriage to Daniel Ademinokan?
Let me put it this way; let me help you hit the nail on the head. One of the comments I have seen consistently, over and over again is, ‘Stella snatches somebody’s husband’; ‘Stella the husband snatcher’; which is what has been going on. And I had sworn that I would never talk about it or even listen or stress myself about the issue. But I have decided to talk about it now, so that I end it once and for all. First of all, let me paint a picture for you and you let me know what makes sense to you. Let’s go to the dictionary, when I looked up the word snatch or steal –it means forcefully taking something away from its original position or forcefully from its original position to another position; something that does not belong to you – that’s what I gathered from the word snatch or steal. So I looked at myself, Stella, and I wondered, how is it possible to go to somebody’s home, and take a man, and take his son, away from his home and say follow me. (Let’s assume) You are a man, and according to their story, he is happily married inside his home. With his family complete and I walk into that home, to forcefully take a man, able-bodied man, and a kid, away from somebody’s hand and you are there looking at me. How does that work?
Her response to critics on her marriages and her life:
It’s not about what I do in my bedroom that is your issue because you don’t really know what happens in people’s bedrooms. You don’t know what happens in marriages. You don’t know why people like us are very weary of people knowing (about) our business. You don’t know how many marriages are suffering in silence. The issue of domestic violence that I am fighting for, it is part of it. There are marriages that they will tell themselves, especially celebrities we suffer from that. You are in a marriage and because you are worried about the press, the media, you stay in. You just stay in; you act, you play for the camera; you act like everything is okay. Then you get home and everything is hell because you know the moment you take that bold step and walk away, the backlash will be so bad. But you now ask yourself, to stay in and become a monster or to just quietly leave and preserve my sanity. When you leave to preserve your sanity, then the world wants to make you crazy. You understand. So, it’s a matter of choice. People make choices every day. They’ve made theirs, I have made mine; if you can’t deal with it, no problem. It is my life. Live yours and I will live mine. And I am Happy. I am not ashamed; never a moment of regret.
On her views about marriage and choosing a partner:
Ladies need to be careful when choosing a life partner. Women should strive to keep their homes; stop feeling too relaxed in any relationship because it could be dangerous. Before a lady should profess her love for a guy, she should first investigate the man’s goals in life and weigh them against hers. It is not a must for a lady to get married to the wealthiest man. A lady should date a guy who has something meaningful doing for himself. One thing that I find that is the most prevalent among women is saying the man has potential. The truth is, we think that we just meet a man, we fall in love and we want to marry potential. We cannot marry potential; that is why we fall into the issues that we face every day in marriages. One thing that I have learnt through experience to people around me is that when you meet a guy, you start to date, you start to fall in love even before you get to that point where he decides to pop the question way before then. Your dating period should be a time where you get to know each other; not what he likes or who his friends are but who he is as a man in terms of his goals in life. If his goals in life do not work with your own, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.