Kevin and Elizabeth were both housemates in Big Brother Africa 2009 edition. Kevin Chuwang Pam emerged winner. Now married to former Elizabeth Gupta, another BBA housemate, they speak about their marriage in Happy Home series.
When and how did you meet?
Kevin: We met in 2009 on the Big Brother Africa reality show.
When did you decide to marry her?
Kevin: I took the decision as soon as I stepped out to the real world looking at the new status, the need to be more responsible and focused. She was a perfect match to make my dreams come true. I would say I am the most favoured housemate that Big Brother has ever produced. I did not only win, I found fame, fortune and a life partner. What more can I ask for? My wife is the best thing to ever happen to me.
Elizabeth: His proposal shocked me because I felt it was too soon and we dated for only three months after BBA. Initially, I thought it was because of pressure from our fans and I wasn’t too sure he knew what he was doing. I kept asking if he really wanted to settle down after the fame or if we will just get into the marriage and get out.
Why did you agree to marry him?
Elizabeth: I am a risk taker and none of my friends knew what was going on. My first trip to Nigeria was for his show and till date, I sometimes don’t even know why I agreed. I thought it was one of those things you do and later regret. But here I am, happy I made the choice. It is the best thing I have done, no regrets.
Were your parents supportive of the union?
Kevin: We enjoyed mad support from our families.
Elizabeth: My father is late and my mum was a huge fan of Kevin while he was in the BBA house. In short, she was angry when I kept turning down his advances in the house and had to ask my closest friends who the serious guy I was dating outside the house was.
How do you manage cultural differences between Nigeria and Tanzania?
Kevin: There have been a lot of adjustments because culture shock will play a role. My wife has had to adjust a lot since she left her country, Tanzania, to live with me here in Nigeria. These adjustments include food, our driving method, and language.
Elizabeth: I am very adventurous with food and I cook one of the best Egusi, Kuka and vegetable soups. When people eat it they don’t believe I cooked it. I make his local delicacies very well but I am still trying to adjust to how aggressive people can be in Nigeria, not in a bad way though. Back in Tanzania, we are slow and a bit laidback but there is this drive in Nigeria. It is sometimes overwhelming and I am trying to catch up. I drive on the right hand side in Tanzania and on the left hand in Nigeria. Sometimes, I go blank while driving in Nigeria and I will ask myself what side I should be on. Apart from these reasons, I have adjusted well.
When you were courting, did it cross your mind that she might disappoint you?
Kevin: It is always possible to have such thoughts but faith always supersedes every negative thoughts.
Elizabeth: When some Nigerian ladies got to know we were dating I was actually getting threats and stinkers. I heard statements such as, ‘You are reaping where you didn’t sow,’ and so many more. These lasted for a while but had stopped now.
Are there challenges working together as a couple?
Kevin: Nothing serious because everyone faces challenges in marriage.
Your union has been waxing stronger and shut down naysayers. What is the secret?
Kevin: Well, here is someone the whole world said was not interested in me or wanted me while we were in the House together. They didn’t see what could lead to marriage between us after Big Brother. But here we are. She has been in Nigeria since then and adapting very well. She is doing really well. Our union has surpassed expectations of many.
Elizabeth: I feel proud and happy to be married and still remain in love. Our marriage is a great achievement.
But do you think relationships chanced upon on the BBA show can last?
Elizabeth: Yes, it can and all depends on the background of the parties involved. Unlike when you were dating for three years, both of you get to see the good and the ugly side of each other in the house for three months.
How do you react to tales that you agreed to marry him because of his BBA $200,000 prize money?
Elizabeth: Initially, it bothered me but not anymore after I realised that I am the only one who understands me best. Whenever I am asked this question, I reply, ‘Does any woman want a broke man? Yes I went for the rich guy.’
What are the most valuable gifts you have shared?
Kevin: Everything I own belongs to her and the question of sharing doesn’t even come up.
What qualities do you admire most in your partner?
Elizabeth: I love the fact that he is very spiritual and focused. He also helps me to grow spiritually.
What are some of the Nigerian stereotypes you have dropped since your wedding to Kevin?
Elizabeth: Since I married Kevin, four Tanzanians have called me and they were seeking advice because they are dating Nigerian men. We have hosted some here in Nigeria, seen their relationships grow and now they are married. In fact, East African girls are crazy about Nigerian. They are dying to have them.
Why the preference for Nigerian men?
Elizabeth: They say they are very caring and you can’t find this anywhere else.
How do you handle differences?
Kevin: We handle it maturely and lovingly correct each other.
Elizabeth: I am first to apologise because I can’t stay angry for so long even if he is wrong.
Do you run a joint account?
Kevin: Yes we do and it was a mutual agreement.
How do you handle advances from the opposite sex?
Kevin: You always have to draw a line whether married or not. I guess that line has helped us manage our fans.
Elizabeth: He makes it easier for me because he takes me along and makes sure I know about them. My love for my husband is rock solid.
What gives you the assurance that he will not fall into temptation?
Kevin: The only assurance is in the grace of God.
Elizabeth: I love and absolutely trust my husband. My love for him is rock solid.
Do you share same friends?
Kevin: Yes, we do share some close friends but not all the way.
Who is stricter as parent?
Kevin: I think I am.
What adjustments have you made since marriage?
Elizabeth: Priorities have changed. Now, when there is money on the table it’s the kids and Kevin first before I think of myself.
What don’t you like about your husband?
Elizabeth: He likes keeping quiet about certain issues and sometimes it works but there are things we need to address as a couple.
Do you still have date nights as a couple?
Elizabeth: Yes we still go clubbing and travel occasionally.
Kevin: Yes, we do but the frequency dropped as kids started coming.
Source: Kemi Ashefon