BOLANLE AND BUNMI NINALOWO: To Love And To Hold
Words By – Josephine Agbonkhese
Almost 20 years into a love journey that has been through ups and downs like any other, popular Nollywood actor cum producer, Bolanle Ninalowo, and his wife, Bunmi, a successful entrepreneur, remain an item of great admiration.
Though their constant display of love and affection towards one another might give the illusion of an all-time rosy love story, that isn’t the reality—and the two never fail to make this known.
The duo, blessed with two lovely children, had suffered separation for two years but have obviously emerged stronger, leading a love life that makes them a constant reference point.
As we continue in our celebration of love this February, Bolanle and Bunmi open up to Allure on the journey so far and also reel out secrets to a successful relationship.
…Bunmi Is My Treasure From God
You are one year short of 20 years together; how has the journey been?
There is no shortcut to anywhere worth going in life and you simply can’t have a destination without a journey. Ours has been a testimony so far. We’ve been through thick and thin but found ourselves and meaning to each other; hence our success as a couple today.
How did you both meet and was it love at first sight?
Bunmi is my treasure from God. Only God can bless a man with such a jewel. I saw her in a mall 19 years ago and it’s been never to let go ever since despite our shortcomings. You can say I recognised a blessing at first sight.
You were both young then; what did your families think of your relationship and decision to settle down?
Our families were very supportive. Our relationship was quite similar to that of our parents, having met each other in their youth as well. They gave us their blessings and supported us whole-heartedly.
Many say a man’s financial status plays a key role in marriage. How was your relationship before Nollywood?
Bunmi and I met when I was a nobody. I was just 24 trying to discover myself and my goals in life. We have been together since I had just a kobo and now still together as a blessed family.
You flaunt your wife a lot on social media; what do you like most about her?
Everything; except that she can be stubborn at times (Laughs).
She and my kids are my biggest joy and investment. That’s why I flaunt them unquestionably! A man flaunts whatever he treasures! They are what I treasure most in life. That’s why you see them allover my page and space.
Valentine’s Day is upon us, do you have any tradition you observe yearly?
Oh, yes! I love to see her dressed beautifully and gush allover her. Take her out to eat and then, celebrate with gifts and good loving all night long.
What do you do daily or regularly to assure Bunmi of your love?
Be her father, brother and confidant all day and every day. We have grown inseparable and are a unit where we almost can’t function without each other.
What are you proudest of as a couple?
Our resilience and tenacity to always fight to overcome together. We have become such a formidable force over the years, having been through so much and to have overcome all with the grace and love of God.
How have you kept the romance and fun in your marriage?
By doing the most together. We work out together, we strive to look our best for each other, and Bunmi doesn’t hesitate to keep looking extremely beautiful day after day. We try to keep the fire burning by re-enacting our past pleasures. Sometimes, we like being spontaneous and simply go with the flow.
What is the best part of being married to Bunmi?
Knowing I am blessed with mine; never having to question her commitment to loving, praying and supporting me always.
What’s the best relationship advice that someone has ever given you?
That love and the success of any relationship must be intentional through hard work and prayers.
What won’t you do in the name of Valentine?
Whatever doesn’t please my woman. Her joy is my joy; so there always has to be a balance and not just what I personally desire.
…He Keeps Family First All The Time
What was the attraction for you or was it love at first sight?
First, it was his good looks, but beyond that, I realised Bolanle had a heart to die for and he’s a God-fearing man. I sensed it from the way he spoke and basically other little things you notice when you meet a person.
What were your family’s reaction to your relationship as a young girl?
They simply reacted with utmost support and kindness. I remember my mum always advised that I must be totally submissive and always support my man.
What were your biggest fears about a relationship?
The fear of abandonment, not being good enough and of being betrayed.
What has been the most challenging period in your marriage and what did you learn about each other during that period?
The most challenging period were the first few years of our marriage. We had so many fights and disagreements while growing and getting to know each other better. As time went on though, we fought through it all and learnt so much more about each other, grew to understand that love isn’t enough but that respecting each other must be intentional. We built good communication and share everything together.
Would you say your relationship was strengthened by these experiences?
How did you cope with the process of his rise to fame?
At first, it wasn’t easy getting used to all the attention but my unwavering determination to support him wholeheartedly, and his relentless efforts to carry me along, respect my feelings and make me an integral part of who he is becoming, made it seamless. We complete and complement each other.
Would you prefer him with or without fame?
Truly, it doesn’t really matter. He keeps family first always which is all I desire from him; and his respect for me is second to none.
With this, I continue to see him as the same man I married 19 years ago.
Looking back, is there anything you wish you’d handled differently?
None! Simply because I now see everything as a blessing. The good and bad times have helped us grow and earned us the loving union we have today.
How have you kept the romance and fun in your marriage?
I’ve kept the fun in my marriage by always looking my best which Bolanle loves!
I am always looking forward to doing something new with him by being spontaneous, having date nights, taking trips, and of course, being flirty; which he loves!
Any particular Valentine’s Day, wedding anniversary or birthday tradition?
We like to celebrate our anniversary by going out for a special meal, having fun and sharing gifts!
How often do you both take time off to relax?
We do that every time we get an opportunity. We work a little and play a little.
How would you like to spend your next anniversary; your 20th to be precise?
I would love to spend our next anniversary on an island; somewhere beautiful, alone with my king— just enjoying nature.
What is the best part of being married to Bolanle?
The best part of being married to my king is that he’s my biggest cheerleader and confidant!
He sees me through everything and never resists celebrating me every time he gets an opportunity to do so.
What is missing from your lives right now that you’d like to add or bring back?
Well, I believe that life comes with different chapters and stages which we all have to live through and overcome, while working hard towards happiness and the things we desire. We are grateful for our blessings as we constantly work together as a unit on building and achieving more, rather than thinking of what is missing.