Latest in the long list of marriages that have ended as a result of either party’s involvement in the movie industry is that of 38-year-old starlet, Mercy Aigbe and her 50-year-old husband, Lanre Gentry.
On Friday, April 28, she published a cryptic post on her Instagram page, calling for Nigerians to ‘say no’ to domestic violence.
Observers wondered if she was suffering the same fate as millions of Nigerian women who were stuck in abusive marriages.
Another Nollywood Marriage on the rocks: Mercy Aigbe & husband, Lanre Gentry getting a divorce over infidelity and domestic abuse
About the same time, her hotelier husband, shared a now deleted post that said ‘Say no to promiscuous women.’ It didn’t take long for fans to deduce that something was wrong. By the end of the day, two photos of the actress badly bruised and battered surfaced online.
NET can reveal that the Aigbe-Gentry marriage was a toxic mix of mutual infidelity, lies, and pretence that was eventually broken by a financial crisis that worsened an already bad situation.
A source close to the family (who chose not to be named for obvious reasons) disclosed details of the tempestuous marriage to us.
‘The marriage was destined to break’, the source told this writer. ‘Mercy Aigbe has been promiscuous all through the marriage and this has caused a strain between them since the beginning.
‘Some of us have always known that this would happen someday. A married woman cannot be sleeping about like that. A lot of people thought that after she remarried, she would have calmed down.’
When pressed on that point, the source further disclosed that Mercy Aigbe has always maintained amorous relationships with other men for financial favours while she was married to Gentry.
‘Where do you think she gets all her money from, movies? How much do Nigerian actresses make for their movie roles? If you compare it with their luxurious lifestyle, you’ll see that it doesn’t add up.’
‘Let me give you an example: for someone who likes to travel as much as she does, each trip she takes outside the country takes nothing less than N3million. Take a look at her Instagram posts. She always flies business class. The cheapest amount you can get a business class ticket to Dubai is N900,000. Don’t you see the pictures she posts online? Mr Gentry simply does not have the funds to foot that bill multiple times a year.’
The source went on to say that notable politicians who are said to have Nollywood actresses on their payroll for various sexual adventures have Mercy Aigbe on speed dial. ‘These are the people that help Mercy maintain the facade of being an A-lister’.
However, it is not as if Lanre Gentry himself was a victimised husband who was played by his wife. The self-styled ‘Asiwaju’ has also been a philanderer whose life of indiscretion was well known to his wife.
Even before he got married to Mercy, his penchant for pretty young things was well known and became constant source of worry to his wife. His Oregun hotel, Laveronique was a rendezvous of sorts for his flirtations.
But Mercy, who had once been married and has an 18-year-old daughter from that relationship along with a six-year-old son with Gentry, turned a blind eye and busied herself by spending the money she got from him as well as what she got from her lovers.
Deja vu: This is not Mercy Aigbe and Lanre Gentry’s first case of domestic violence
Unfortunately for him, the current economic downturn has taken a toll on his business and he is not as buoyant as he used to be few years ago.
According to our well placed source, ‘The man has a hotel where Lagos-based actors and actresses use to shoot their movies, but the business was mismanaged and nobody goes there anymore.
‘As of now, he doesn’t have any business going on for him. How many wide-mouthed actresses can live with that type of hopelessness? The situation has gotten so bad that now Mercy can openly cavort with the politicians that have been on her case since. I’m sure that in no time, her shop in Omole will be shifted to Lekki as she has always dreamed of.’
The last straw that broke the camel’s back for the couple was a combination of Mercy’s sudden boldness and her husband’s latest fling with a very close associate of hers. Opemititi, as the Covenant University graduate is called, was very close to Mercy.
She had been said to have taken the younger woman under her wings, even introducing her to some ‘sugar daddies’ that flushed her with cash that she left her bank job for a flimsy interior decor business that had little or no structure.
Mercy had trusted her so much because of the secrets they both shared it that is was shocking to her that this person could betray her by sleeping with her husband.
Consequently, she cut Opemititi off from her in the last one month and decided to duke it out with her husband.
The issues eventually overheated and spilled into a fight that many couples could have overlooked.
Gentry asked Aigbe to cook a special meal for him and his friends. She refused to do so and her husband pounced on her as he had reportedly done in the past.
But by now, Mercy Aigbe had had enough and fought back bitterly, lashing out from all the pain and anger of several years. Unsurprisingly, his strength was incomparable to hers and he beat her to a pulp.
Watch: Mercy Aigbe and husband’s awkward 2013 attempt at dispelling rumours of a marital crisis
For Mercy, that was one beating too many and she began divorce proceedings when she was strong enough to leave a private hospital where she had been receiving treatment.
For a couple who had made such a big show of being endlessly in love with each other, their sad end was enabled by a long period of resentment caused by both parties’ infidelity to the other.
Eventually, Instagram posts were not enough to save the marriage, and instead became where the Aigbe-Gentrys ended their seven-year nuptials.
For now, the actress is holed up in a Magodo apartment while her husband is exploring his options in a divorce proceeding, seeing that of all the three women that have children for him, Mercy is the only one who he married and might lose all he has worked for should the case go in her favour.
‘The two other women who have children for Lanre are currently laughing at him because as things stand now, he’s the biggest loser,‘ our source concluded.