Call her the queen of soap operas and you won’t be wrong. The fact remains that Caroline King is a veteran in the acting business. She has conquered the soap operas, movies and even the cinemas. There is absolutely no doubt that the soft-spoken actress is our Nollywood sweetheart. Caroline spoke to Sunday Sun on her relationship with her mum and how it has impacted her life positively.
When last did you see your mum?
That would be during the holidays as she stays in the US with my sister. Recently, when the children were on holidays, they came to Nigeria for three weeks. That was like three months ago, I think.
What food does she cook that you like most?
That is banga soup. Her banga soup is quite tasty.
What’s her favourite meal?
She loves yam and garden egg sauce a lot.
Are you very close to her or not?
Now, I can say yes. Maybe, because I am a mother now and I understand how much she loves me and stuffs like that. But growing up, we were like opposite sides of the pole, because I was more of a daddy’s girl. I had a better relationship with my father than with my mum. I remember there was a time my dad was like she should just give him some space. He said the way she behaved, you could have thought he was married to two women. He told her to talk to me and stop waiting for him to come into the issues.
You mean there was a kind of rivalry between you and your mum?
Yea, kind of, because she felt my dad was too lenient with me. She was just strict and still is very strict. As old as I am, I am over fifty but when she comes in, I still tremble (laughs).You know there are things I can say easily when she is not around but when she is around me, I have to think twice and try to edit it well in my head before I let it out of my mouth.
As a teenager, what did she tell you about boys?
Ha! (Laughs) My mum said if I even allow a boy to smile at me for too long I will get pregnant. It was so bad that she planted that thing in me. I remembered the first time a boy wrote me a love letter in secondary school. I took it home and showed my father because in my mind I felt this boy wants to get me pregnant from the letter (laughs). That was the amount of fear my mum put into me.
But as I became older, I began to understand where she was coming from; I’m the first child and a girl. As I started having children, we now started talking more. I opened up to her and told her the things she did back then. She said she did all that because, if I turned out well, my younger ones would too. She also asked me, “if you had failed and I failed with you, what could have happened to your siblings? So, whatever it was that I was doing was for your good.” But really, I believe she did a fantastic job although I would have preferred some kind of moderation. (Laughs).
What parenting skills did you learn from her that you have inculcated in your kids now?
You know as a young person, you always said you will not be like your mum. But, when you grow older you realize that you are exactly like her. That’s the story of my life really. I will just say that I have imbibed almost everything from her but with moderation and you know the way our children are these days. Growing up, I couldn’t express myself but with my children, I let them express themselves no matter what it is but I don’t fail to emphasize, that they must always say “please”, “thank you” and respect everyone and that they are not better than anybody. You might be better off, because your parents are rich but that doesn’t make other people lesser than you. All these things, I learnt from my mum.
What were the things your mother did that made you realize she loves you?
While growing up, I didn’t think she loved me. It was like she was always on my case and she had traits that I see in myself now. My mum was almost like a perfectionist. So, each time, I had it in mind that I was going to do this already and then she will tell me. But in my mind, I was like, I was going to do it anyway and you know while growing up, especially as a teenager, all those things annoyed me.
However, after I had my first child and she came to help me care for my baby, I think something switched in my brain. That was when I realized, how much she really loves me.
Even then, I couldn’t shake out that distant relationship we had, communication problems and stuffs like that.
However, by the time I had my daughter who is my last born , I now could sit down with her and talk about stuffs that I didn’t like then and then she explains herself. You know, all she did was for me; it wasn’t because she hated me or because she didn’t want me to enjoy life. You see as far as I was concerned then, when friends invited me for parties and I went to my dad, he told me to tell my mum. Then she would scream and ask me questions like “you want to go and do what”? Back then I would say to myself this woman hated me. I wished I could have a better mother and stuffs like that (laughs). Now, I know she loves me so much, when I think about how much I love my children. Even now, my children will say “mummy I don’t even know. I will go and meet my daddy because my daddy loves me more than you do.” But I never let that get to me, because I know when they are older they will understand.
What was her occupation then?
She was a trader, she traded in everything possible. We lived in Lagos for while and then we moved to the North. It was in Zaria that she really did her business well. When we were in Lagos, she traded in provisions and when we got to Zaria, she traded in clothes. She would come to Lagos and buy George wrappers and ankara and sold. Also, there was a bakery near our residence which supplied bread to her and people bought from her. She was quite an astute businesswoman.
What makes her happy?
Her children make her happy and she would give her life to her children. I mean metaphorically she will. The number two thing that makes her happy is her grandchildren and then she loves to watch sports. She loves boxing , wrestling and other sports. During the Olympics, I am sure she was glued to the television throughout. She is all excited when she watches sports.
What makes her sad?
The saddest I have ever seen my mum was when we lost our dad and we were all afraid and thought she would die too. Another sad moment was when we lost our last born, a boy, two years ago. But she was in the US. I couldn’t even talk to her on phone, because she was crying so much. Her blood pressure shot up and I can imagine if I had seen her. It could have been worse than when our dad died. She is a prayer warrior, my mum can pray for six hours straight without repeating a prayer point. I think what will hurt more is if anything should happen to her children and grandchildren, because we’re all she is living for now.
Does she have a pet name for you?
None that I can remember, she calls me my name. I am the one that has a pet name for her. I call her Mamalolo.
What’s the best advice your mum has ever given to you that you cherish now?
What she always told me was that family is everything. All my younger ones will tell you the same thing and you know when push comes to shove, it’s only the family that stands around you. So, that is one lesson I learnt from my mum and I can’t forget.