Mum is still the word from the homestead of one of Nollywood’s most respected couples, Patrick and Ireti Doyle. Since news broke that the couple had called it quits, neither has said a word, giving rein to conjectures and assumptions on what could have gone wrong, not whether the union was still intact. At an industry event early last week, Ireti was spotted without her wedding ring and she matter-of-factly refused to grant the media phalanx present an interview. Patrick, a renowned broadcaster and compere, on the other hand, had tactically withdrawn from the limelight in the last couple of years. Thus, waiting to run into him at events to see whether he still has his ring on may be longer than the wait for Godot. Patrick and Doyle have been married for about 20 years. According to Patrick, they met on the set of a movie he was producing, and Ireti, a Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Jos, came to audition.
A few years later, now properly integrated into Patrick’s artistic and production family, he lost his wife and she made her shoulders available for him to cry and lean on. At the time, she was a single mother, having sired a baby girl at the age of 19. The baby, Bimbo, got married last April. Patrick was the father of the day. And he played his part well. Perhaps one of Nigeria’s most bankable actors in recent time, Ireti’s fame shot through the roof when she resurfaced in the MNET production, Tinsel, after many years in the cooler.
Then came media mogul, Mo Abudu, into the mix. Also a broadcaster with stints in NTA Network and STV, Ireti starred in some of the Ebony TV founder’s productions like the critically acclaimed Fifty and the recent box office wonder, The Wedding Party. The two movies especially placed her on a pedestal yet to be rivalled. And the new level of success came with a new breed of single, wealthy friends; feminists, who don’t believe in the marriage institution, one is tempted to say. It is now being argued that she might have envied and been influenced by the freedom being enjoyed by her new friends. For a 50-year-old mother of five, Ireti and Patrick can’t keep mum forever, lest the little legacies they have worked hard to build over the years would be vaporised on the altar of rumours.