Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, and his wife, Bimpe, have been married for over 20 years. They share their love story with MOTUNRAYO JOEL
How did you meet your wife?
Mutiu: I met her through a friend. I still remember all that transpired that day as if it happened yesterday. My friend and I were to meet at a place. He was with his girlfriend (now his wife). Apparently, my friend’s girlfriend and my wife were heading somewhere; she (my wife) came afterwards to meet us. On seeing her, I was attracted to her aura, but I didn’t show it. I kept saying to myself, ‘There is something special about this lady.’ She was unlike any other lady I had met; she was different. The way she spoke and comported herself kept me glued to her.
Bimpe: We met just as he said it.
Would you describe that first encounter as love at first sight?
Mutiu: Yes, it was. I got attracted to her beauty and her gentleness, and I just felt the magic immediately I saw her. I love her simplicity and attractive looks. She melted my heart, if I may use those words. After we got to know ourselves better, I realised how wonderful she truly is. She has a kind heart; I don’t think I’ve met any woman like her. I always say she is a rare gem. The moment I saw her, I thought to myself, “This is the mother of my children.”
Bimpe: For my husband, yes, but not for me. I guess it was probably because I did not have any intention in mind when we first met. Although I was single at the time, I was not searching.
How did you propose to her?
Mutiu: Our relationship progressed naturally; I didn’t go down on bended knee. I was in Spain while she was in Nigeria. She visited me frequently and as time progressed I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. During one of her visits, I woke up one morning feeling the time was right. I told her how much I cared about her and how we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Without wasting much time, I threw the question at her; I asked her if she would marry me. She answered in the affirmative. I couldn’t express how excited I was to hear her kind words; I had this big smile on my face. Now, I am happily married to the love of my life.
Bimpe: I was happy when he proposed. Everything about us and our relationship just flowed naturally; so I had no reason not to answer his question in the affirmative. Everything just progressed naturally that I don’t even remember if he proposed (smiles). We just felt we were for each other and all the magic followed. Ever since we met, I have had no cause to worry, not even during the period when he was an international footballer. We had our engagement in 1992 and did the official white wedding in 1995.
Did you feel uncomfortable dating him after you found out he was a footballer?
Bimpe: No, I didn’t, because he made (and still makes) everything look normal.
Did her family welcome you with open arms the first time you met them?
Mutiu: Yes, they gave me a warm reception.
Getting married to white women seems to be common with Nigerian (international) footballers. Did that thought ever cross your mind?
Mutiu: I am a ‘homeboy.’ Moreover, I met her before I travelled to Spain and we already had a great relationship. While I was away in Spain, I missed her dearly. I knew I had somebody waiting for me at home (Nigeria), and I didn’t see any reason why I should be with a foreign lady; I was comfortable with her.
Were you afraid that he would eventually date and marry a foreigner?
Bimpe: Honestly, no, because I know he is a very traditional person. Apart from that, we were already dating and in love before he travelled. And I didn’t think he may be dating a Spanish lady because I trust him.
You once said you wished you had played for Real Madrid senior team when you were in Spain, tell us more about that.
Mutiu: Many years ago, while I was in the junior team of Real Madrid, my coach said that if I had to play in the senior team, I needed to get married to a Spanish lady in order to nationalise my stay. This was his suggestion. Apparently, at that time, only three foreigners could play in the team. But I turned down his suggestion because I knew I had a lady back at home. This happened in 1989; I met my wife in February, 1989 and I travelled to Spain in August, 1989. It happened after the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Saudi 1989.
Career wise, I wished I had played in the team, but I have no sad feelings about it and I never regretted my decision. I wouldn’t have gotten married to a Spanish lady to nationalise my stay. I love my wife and my heart was and still is with her. So, it wasn’t a do-or-die situation for me. The way things operated back then with Nigerians players playing in foreign teams is not what operates now.
How did you feel about his decision not to play for Real Madrid senior team because he had to get married to a Spanish lady?
Bimpe: He mentioned it in passing. It wasn’t a formal rule or law; it was the coach that suggested it to him. Aside from that, I felt good about his decision.
There must have been times Spanish ladies found you attractive, how did you handle that?
Mutiu: In my mind, I knew what I wanted. I was sure about what I came there for and I was determined to achieve it. I never once doubted my love for her. I remained focused.
How did you handle the attention that comes with dating an international footballer?
Bimpe: My husband is down-to-earth; he made our relationship as normal as possible. I was so sure of his love for me. I had no reason to worry about his female fans.
What is the most memorable moment of your union?
Mutiu: All moments are memorable but I would say the most memorable one was the birth of our first daughter. My club, Racing Santander, then got a very important promotion to the first division a day after her birth.
Bimpe: Without any doubt, it was the birth of our first girl.
Who is the first to apologise after a quarrel?
Mutiu: We usually don’t dwell on quarrels or misunderstandings. If I make a mistake, I apologise immediately. And if the mistake is on her part, she apologises. Using the word ‘sorry’ comes naturally with us. We hardly have disagreements, but if there is any, we sort it out immediately.
Bimpe: Honestly, quarrels don’t exist between us; we’ve grown to understand ourselves very well. Hardly do we disagree because we have a very good level of communication.
What pet names do you call each other?
Mutiu: I call her Mami.
Bimpe: I call him MD (My Darling) or Papi.
Do you have joint accounts?
Mutiu: Yes, we have a joint account, and also our individual accounts. However, we always take joint decisions concerning our finances.
Bimpe: Yes, we take financial decisions together.
What would you love to change about your spouse?
Mutiu: Nothing at all; she is perfect to me. I love everything about her. I would not want to change anything about her.
Bimpe: Same here; I love him just the way he is.
Who is the bathroom singer among both of you?
Bimpe: He is (laughs).
You are currently based abroad. Any plans to relocate to Nigeria any time soon?
Bimpe: We are not thinking of that now because our kids are still in school. We would start making plans to relocate to Nigeria when they all complete their education.
What would you say accounts for the success of your marriage?
Mutiu: Love, respect and understanding.
Bimpe: I share his view – love, understanding and respect.