Just back from the United Kingdom, where he had a surgery on his kidney, the actor has told fans and friends that he is in top shape.
In this interview, Nollywood actor, Leo Mezie, and his wife Maureen, talk about their six-year-old marriage.
How did you meet your wife?
Leo: Our meeting was a coincidence. I was frustrated from a broken relationship. I was at Ojez Bar in Lagos, complaining to some friends. It was the night before the day I wanted to travel to the United Kingdom, so we were having a farewell drink. I wanted to travel and forget about the other lady. One of my friends that I sat with told me that if the break-up was not my fault, then he would introduce me to a good lady. And he told me that God would not forgive me if I hurt her. He gave me her number and the next day, after packing my bags, I called her and lied that I mistakenly dialled her number.
She doubted it and hung up on me. I called again but she did not pick. When I got to the UK the following morning, I bought a line and called friends and family to tell them that I arrived safely. I called her line but she did not pick up. Later she returned the call, thinking it was one of her friends in the UK. She was surprised to find out I was the one, and asked me what I wanted. I told her all the lies guys usually tell and later she became friendly.
What was your reaction when he proposed to you?
Maureen: When I met him, I was coming out from a relationship too. My intention was to play around, date him, break his heart and move on. He came at a time I wanted to have fun; I was not ready to get married. I told him we had to hold on for a while. I did not know him that well; I just met him and accepted him as a friend. The kind of job I did in the bank then was also challenging and did not give me much time except in the evenings and weekends. We went to see my mum after six months.
How long did you court before you got married?
Leo: Six months.
How did you start liking each other?
Leo: At a time I noticed that I no longer had secrets around her anymore. We never lied to each other; we became fond of each other and it was just as if she had my life in her hands. She was caring and I missed her company whenever she was not around me.
How long have you been married?
Leo: We would be married for four years in July (Interview was conducted in SUNDAY PUNCH Of May 2014)
How has the marriage been?
Maureen: It has been beautiful, loving and very challenging.
What were the challenges?
Maureen: There were some things he would do and I would be so angry and felt like flogging him. But sometimes I would say to myself that if I beat my child, I would still have to draw him close. But he is an adult and I could not beat him. I learnt to forgive even before he hurts me. The nature of his job was another aspect I had to make up my mind to accept. It is not like an office work where one expects a monthly salary; sometimes he has jobs and sometimes he does not. When he does not, we adapt and enjoy what we have at the moment.
Leo: We were two adults from different homes coming together as one. We almost broke up in less than six months into our marriage. We wanted to go our separate ways, but reconciled after about a month. In less than three months we had issues again. It was just continuous. After that, we have never had any challenge that we could not resolve between us. There is no day I do not offend her, and I do not think I have ever said sorry up to three times but she has a way of forgiving me, even before she complains.
Did marriage rid you of your freedom?
Leo: No it did not. There is no where I cannot go, whenever I want to. When we started the relationship, the first thing I did was to take her to my location to see how I worked. She does not stop me from living my natural life but she devised a means of making me quit smoking in less than one year of marriage. I have never smoked in four years. She never complained about my friends but she made me see the right reasons why I should not associate with some of them.
Were there oppositions to your marriage from family members?
Leo: My family wanted us to wait a year before talking about marriage. They told me that the family marries a woman, not the man and that they would not attend my traditional marriage since I did not listen to them. Only my younger brother attended and I did not invite them to the white wedding; they read about it in the papers. But my wife united everyone.
What qualities and hobbies do you have in common?
Maureen: We love to travel; we hang out together and we love dancing. I dance better than he does. He easily gets tired. We watch movies together too.
What advice would you give to celebrity couples?
Leo: Marriages that have issues never started well and marriages based on lies and false appearance cannot survive. Couples should always tell each other the truth and be open about their finances. Marriage should not be based on pretence.
Irresponsible ladies should not look for responsible guys. Marriage is first about honesty, truth and openness before commitment.
What advice would you give to celebrity spouses?
Maureen: They should be patient and prayerful because it could be challenging and they might have reasons to leave the marriage every day. They should always support their spouses and not push them into what they do not have passion for.