A popular Nigerian Comedian who is married to a citizen of the United States, has spoken out about people's reaction to his marriage.
Mr Patrick and his wife, Tammy
Popular Comedian, Mr Patrick, whose real name is Patrick Onyeke, and his wife, Tammy, an American accountant, share their love story
How did you meet your husband?
Tammy: We met in South Africa. I was there to attend a convention. While I was there, a colleague asked me to accompany her to a comedy show. At the time, I had no idea who the comedians billed to perform were. Patrick came on stage soon after we arrived the venue. I loved his performance and I began to scream out of excitement. I was glad to see him and told my friend that I had always wanted to meet him. She then met with one of his friends who introduced us.
Did you spot her while you were on stage?
Patrick: No, I didn’t but immediately we were introduced, I fell in love with her warm personality and beauty. We exchanged telephone numbers and have remained inseparable ever since.
Was it love at first sight?
Tammy: Yes, it was. I had always wanted to meet and get married to an African man. So, when I saw him, I just fell in love with him. He has the sweetest smile I have ever seen; he is an amazing man.
Where you single and searching at the time?
Patrick: Yes, I was and I’m glad that we met.
Tammy: I wasn’t looking to getting married when we began dating. I was looking for love and I felt that we would only consider marriage after dating for about four years. In America, people tend to date a lot longer but I guess in Africa, couples get married really quick. God revealed to me that he is my soulmate and was going to be my husband.
How did he propose?
Tammy: We were on an Island for a video shoot and I realised that he had a phobia for water and boats. I was used to being on a boat, as I own one. On our way back, our boat was struck by a strong wave, which caused him to panic. At that moment,he asked the rider to stop the boat. He got down on his knees and proposed to me even though he was already a nervous wreck. He really surprised; we courted for almost a year before we married.
Patrick: I proposed to her when I realised that I was already in love with her. We both have similar thought patterns and actions. These factors made me deduce that we are actually compatible.
Yours is a long-distance marriage. How do you both manage to get by?
Tammy: Sometimes, it gets hard but whenever we are together, we are inseparable. We talk everyday, then we video call each other at least four times a week. We both lead busy lives because of our careers, so it makes things a lot safer. The manner we talk and send messages to each other makes it seem as though we are right next to each other.
Did you deliberately set out to marry a foreigner?
Patrick: I belong to the new generation of Igbo men who aren’t too keen on the tribe or race of a woman.Ours is a classic case of destiny because neither of us made a deliberate effort to get married to each other. I guess time and chance happened to us.
How did you react to the snide remarks that trailed your marriage to an American?
Patrick: People complained, but we have overcome all of that.
Tammy: I was nervous when I arrived Nigeria for the first time because I had been told all sorts of horror stories. When I stepped out of the plane and eventually out of the airport, my life felt at peace for the first time. I had never felt a sense of peace before that time.
Did you have the blessings of your parents from the outset?
Tammy: His family is wonderful; his mother took an instant liking to me and we prayed together when we met for the first time. His folks took me around their home, church, and showed me around. They welcomed me with open arms. My mum is very happy for me because she sees how happy I am and how genuine Patrick is. My husband is wonderful man.
Patrick: Our families are very cordial and my wife is adapting quite fast to the Nigerian culture. She is learning to cook our traditional delicacies, whilst also learning my language. I am also learning the American culture even though they are not as culturally oriented as we are in Nigeria.
In what ways do you contribute to the advancement of each other’s career?
Patrick: I introduced her to some banking professionals here in Nigeria and they have done some business together and this has earned her more clients.
Tammy: My husband doesn’t ask for money; he is not that type of guy. Even if he needs something, he wouldn’t ask. He does quite well in that aspect. I am preparing for when he will visit me in the USA, so that we will have a home over here and in Nigeria. With my contacts, I will introduce him to established comedians here in America and have shows fully booked down for him. Everyday, I send him prayers to encourage him because as his wife, I am expected to be his backbone. He appreciates that because it keeps him going.
Who apologises first after a disagreement?
Tammy: We haven’t really gotten into any arguments but if we get into one, I would probably be the first to apologise. I don’t ever want to see him angry and that is also not my wish for this union.
How do you keep admirers at bay?
Patrick: Marriage is still a learning curve for us. I have also made her understand that fake scandals might always arise because I am a celebrity. I have made her understand the dictates of my job, so she can understand my status better.
Is trust ever an issue?
Patrick: She tells me when men make passes at her. We are able to manage such scenarios because we understand that our careers involve us interacting with other people.
Did you have any fear at any point in your relationship?
Tammy: I never did. I told my mum that if it came down to it I would actually live in Nigeria full-time. I love my career but I would be open to being a housewife.
Some celebrities are of the opinion that marriage stalls their career…
Patrick: The Bible said he that finds a wife has found a good thing. There are a lot of blessings attached to marriage. You may not know it but it’s a phase in life you can’t run away from.
What is the secret behind the success of your marriage?
Patrick: We keep our marriage off social media so we don’t attract undue attention. Some people think I married her because of the American Green Card and they have been telling her so. I told her that she met me in this business as a star and not as a hungry man. I have travelled to different parts of the world but Nigeria is still a better place to live in.
Do you both have access to each other’s social media accounts?
Patrick: We follow each other on social media but we don’t have access each other’s accounts because that is private.
Interview culled fromThe Punch