THE crisis rocking the marriage of Tiwa Savage and Tunji Balogun (Tee Billz) has deepened, as the pretty hip-pop star declared that their union was over.
In an exclusive interview granted to an online television network, Pulse TV, Tiwa accused Tunji of inappropriate behaviours, throwing the bombshell that TJ was into illicit drugs.
Tee-Billz had, earlier on Instagram, accused Tiwa of infidelity and bewitchment by her mother; an outburst which necessitated the pop star to let the cat out of the bag.
With the recent outburst of your husband on Instagram, why are you just about to respond to his allegations?
The honest truth is that I was in my bedroom when my friend walked into the room with a couple of other people and woke me up; and basically, just started narrating what had happened. When someone wakes you up from sleep you… The honest truth is my first thought was I thought maybe they found him dead.
When they said they didn’t know where he was, my thought was, and everybody’s thought was, we need to find him. He’s suicidal, we need to find him, we need to make sure he’s alive and he’s well. So, my initial thought was not… I didn’t even know what he had said. It was just ‘Let’s find him, let’s make sure that he’s okay and he’s alive’. So I couldn’t respond to anything because I didn’t even know the extent of what he had said till much later. Someone actually took my phone away from me. They didn’t want me to see what was said online. I was just scared for his life. I was just panicking.
At what point did you find out that he was okay and that nothing is wrong with him?
At about 10am-11am, we got a call. We were in my bedroom and Banky’s mum came and she was praying; we were all praying. I know that his family in LA were praying as well. About 10am- 11am, we got the call that he’s been found on Lekki bridge and at least, he was safe. He was, I believe in Banky’s house, and he was okay.
I remember very well two years ago we were all in Dubai for your wedding ceremony and yesterday was supposed to be your anniversary. I saw on Instagram you posted videos of you guys celebrating your new single which was trending yesterday, TJ wasn’t there. At what point did all these events start?
My marriage and relationship has been very public and at one point, I decided that I didn’t want to make it public anymore so I’m always nervous when it comes to his birthday because if I post, they read meaning to it. If I don’t, then they’ll say we’ve broken up or there is a problem in our relationship. In this case, I knew the anniversary was coming and I was either going to post or not, but the honest truth is that for the past two months, TJ and I have not been together. And it was something that we were trying to work through, but for me, I knew that this marriage wasn’t going to work. It’s been like that for the past two months, I didn’t know if I should post and keep up appearances or if I should face reality.
Did he try to contact you on your anniversary?
I haven’t spoken to TJ in about a week now. He had left the house. We were supposed to get some documents for my son, his passport actually. So I was calling TJ on Sunday night because the interview was on Monday and he had booked the interview for Jam-jam online, so I wanted to know the time and other details but he was reading the messages and he wasn’t responding.
I remember I sent a message that reads, ‘TJ please let’s at least be friends and good parents to Jamil and whatever is going on between us, please let’s do this for Jamil’, but he still didn’t respond, so I left it and I know one day we’ll apply for his passport.
At what point did you realise the marriage won’t work?
I have covered up for a lot of hurt in our relationship. I was in Jamaica recently and just before I went to Jamaica, I found out that I was pregnant again. We both discussed it and tried to figure out how to manage the situation, because it was another baby so soon. So I went to London and got on a 10-hour flight to Jamaica to shoot a video with Busy Signal. But on the morning we were supposed to shoot the video, while I was doing my make-up, I started bleeding uncontrollably, so I started panicking and I called TJ. I took pictures and sent to him. They rushed me to the hospital. I had complications but I still couldn’t reach him. So, Thompson, who was with me, had to help me sign all the documents in the hospital. I got discharged from the hospital and still tried to call TJ to let him know what happened because he didn’t call to see how I was or know what happened. I got back to Nigeria and while we were sleeping, his phone was going off and it was in middle of the night and I kept on seeing the name calling him, ‘Edible Catering’. And it didn’t make sense because why would a catering company be calling my husband at that time of the night and yes, as a woman, I picked up his phone and I went through his phone, got into his Whatsapp and there’s this long conversation with this same ‘Edible’ number. And I was seeing stuff like ‘Can we meet at the hotel tonight?’, ‘Do you live alone?’, and ‘Is it ok if I come by?’. The last message I saw was, ‘I had to leave at 7am today because you were still sleeping’. Then he responded saying, ‘Yea because you knocked me out last night, it was a great night’. So, obviously, I woke him up and was like, ‘What’s going on?’ and he said to me, it’s not what I think. Then I asked if all these happened on our bed, then he said no, it was at a hotel but nothing happened that they were just chilling.
The thing that hurt me the most was that this happened while I was in Jamaica in a hospital and I was sending him pictures but he didn’t bother to respond because he was chilling with another woman in a hotel room. At that point, I packed my stuff, I took my son and I went to my friend’s house. Her name is Tiwa as well. I stayed the night there and she asked me one question, ‘What’s the next step?’. And I said to her, ‘I’m done’.
Has he been cheating on you before now?
I don’t think we have enough time to cover that. I don’t even know where to start or which one to say first. I’ve covered up for so long because I wanted people to believe this story that TJ is the head of the house. He’s the one that takes care of me; ‘a loving husband’. I wanted people to believe that and I wanted him to feel like a man, so I covered up so many times. Since my son has been born, TJ has not spent one naira. I paid for the hospital bills, I paid for his flight to come to London, I paid for the apartment we stayed for two months, the clothes, the grocery. Even when we were in London, we didn’t just go shopping for my son, we shopped for TJ as well so that when we come back to Nigeria, he’ll have new things because his excuse most times is, ‘I don’t have money, I don’t have money.’ So, I try to pay for everything because I have to pay for everything, otherwise where would we be? So, at least he can go out to hustle or focus on the contracts he’s looking for. And he’ll still tells me he doesn’t have money to buy diapers but he has money to get his haircut twice a week; he has money to do laundry; he has money to take women to hotel rooms.
Is it possible that you do everything for him but still don’t respect him as your husband?
That’s a lie! I’m not going to sit here and lie to you that every time I come home I cook, and I’m not going to make excuses and say it’s because of my career that’s why I’m busy. I’m the same person that works and puts money in the house. I’m the same person that works long hours to make sure we have a roof over our heads. I come home late, most times, and very tired. Sometimes, I’m out of the country. There’s no time that I come downstairs to make something to eat and I don’t make for TJ and because I know what my schedule is, I had to hire a cook and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in that. Most times, he leaves home and doesn’t come back till 7am, at times 2pm, the following day. So, how am I supposed to cook for someone that’s not in the house? You come back drunk, angry; we were living on eggshells because we never know what mood he’ll be in. At times, I even pray that he’s with another woman, so that way I know he’s still alive and has not got in an accident or something else.
When you sacked him as your manager, what job did he start doing?
I’ll never discredit or take away the fact that TJ hustled for me; I’ll never deny that he worked hard for me or that he believed in me. But the first time I realised there was a foul play was a time when he booked me for a wedding in London and our company policy is that you don’t go for a show till you’ve been fully paid. So, I got to London already and I called the accountant to confirm if payment has been made and she was like ‘they still haven’t paid o’. I called TJ again and said these people haven’t paid and he said ‘no its fine, just go, just go and perform. Don’t worry, everything is fine’.
Fortunately for me, I know one of the organisers and I pulled him aside and was like, ‘Bros, what’s going on, why haven’t you guys paid?’, and he was like, ‘What are you talking about? We’ve paid about four months ago,’ and we tried to confirm and realised they paid into TJ’s personal account and not company’s account. Then, the other thing was TJ would declare that they paid N3m meanwhile they paid N4.5m, and out of the N3m, he’s still receiving his management fee of 40%. So, you are basically stealing from your wife and he doesn’t feel anything. So I had to perform at the wedding for free because TJ had already squandered the money.
He also accused your mum of witchcraft…
My mum is based in the UK and when I had Jamil, she moved back to Nigeria with us. If anyone has ever met my mother, she’s not like that. She’s a sweet lady, she’s very British, so she doesn’t hang up on traditions and she doesn’t judge. In fact, a lot of times, my mum will say to me, ‘Tiwa you are the wife, be patient, don’t shout, don’t curse; a woman builds the home.’ Whenever we have issues, TJ always runs to tell my mum and she always calms him down. So she’s been nothing but a great support for me. I’ll love for him to tell me if there’s something that my mother has done because I have no idea.
How about his allegations that you slept with Don Jazzy, Dr Sid and 2face?
I would say for the record, I have never cheated on my husband. Not with Don Jazzy, not with Dr Sid, not with 2face or anybody, and I’m willing to take a lie detector test for that. And he knows it in his heart…(bursts into tears). This really hurts. I’m not going to pretend like I’ve not read comments and what people are saying about me; it hurts. And it’s not true.
So what do you think drove him to attempt suicide?
I know that for any human being, when your finances are not straight, you’ll be depressed and be bothered. So, I know that for a while, since he stopped working for me as my manager, he’s been struggling financially, but that wasn’t my fault. I loved when we were working together and everybody loved us, but he messed up by starting to steal from me and being fraudulent.
So, I had no choice. I wanted to save my marriage by separating the business from the home, but TJ loves to keep up with life. He wants to live a life that’s not true, without a steady income. He went to buy a car that he knew he couldn’t afford, and I ended up paying the balance of about N3 million and he says I took away his manhood because he doesn’t want people to know I am the breadwinner. As a woman I want him to be the breadwinner too, and that’s why I put the balance of the car in his account so they’ll think it’s coming from him and not me. He also went to buy a Rolex watch and he still couldn’t pay up the balance and so they called me and because I don’t want it to get out in the press (people have threatened me with that before) so I always find a way to put the money in his account so he can pay off the debt. He keeps on putting us in debt all the time. He goes out to the clubs with women, spend money on drinks, leaves without paying and the club owner would call me and I’ll end up going to pay. The last one that happened that I think really triggered this whole thing was that he went to borrow N45 million from someone and he’s lost the money. I just found out. I was in the studio recording and got a call that EFCC is investigating that TJ is in a big trouble and that people may hurt him. So, in my frantic move to try and suppress the situation, no one could help raise the N45 million he went to borrow. Or should we talk about the fact that I walked in on him taking cocaine in my house, when we were still leaving in 1004 then. It was just after we got married and I didn’t even know he does cocaine, only to walk into the kitchen and saw him snuffing. I screamed TJ!!! And he quickly hid it and he started screaming at me! The first thing I did was call his parents.
So. I’m dealing with alcohol problems, the fact that he comes home late, infidelity, cocaine, debts, and a husband that’s jealous of his wife’s success.
Didn’t you see these coming before you got married?
It’s a combination of everything; I didn’t know about the cocaine, I didn’t know about his third child in Nigeria apart from the two abroad that he tells everyone. I won’t say I didn’t see signs, even a lot of people warned me about the type of person TJ is, but I made a mistake and I’m not ashamed to say it at this point. Now that I’ve made a mistake, do I want to wait for 10 years or 15 years? If you are not happy, you can leave and I was scared will I ever find somebody, will I ever find happiness; will I ever find someone else to marry me? I don’t care at this point if I never get married again. All I care about now is being happy for Jamil. I care about being strong; I care about not walking on eggshells. And you know what? I do want a man that works, that can help me financially. Not saying he has to be a millionaire or billionaire, but somebody that can help or at least not put me in more debt.
Has he ever physically assaulted you?
No, and I’ll never play that victim card. But it was a mentally abusive relationship because all I hear everyday is how he made me, how he did this and that for me. ‘I created you, I took you from nothing’. He didn’t find me in a dustbin.
What’s the status of the marriage now?
It’s finally over. It’s been over for a while and I’ve covered up for a while. I think what happened is God-sent because he’s made it easy for me to walk away because of what he did on social media because he got so many people angry. He called so many innocent names. He dragged many people, including his own family. So, if I was to consider to make it work, a lot of people will warn me that if it happens again, I can’t come back crying. So, he’s made it easy for me to finally walk away. I’ll never stop him from seeing Jamil, never! But the only thing I’ll promise myself is to bring up my son to be a good man.
Till now, I don’t wish anything bad for him, even when he was abusing me. First, I was and still concerned about him because I’m worried he might see this interview and trigger something else or lead him to do something bad but I don’t wish that for him. Tonight, I’m still going to pray for him. If I didn’t care about him or his well-being, I won’t have covered up for him for this long and even now, I’m still helping him find a way out from his debt. But if there’s anything that I’ve overlooked, Tunji, I’m absolutely sorry. If I’ve done anything wrong to neglect you or not make you feel like a man, Tunji, I’m sorry and you know I tried everything. You know I love you so much and I’m sorry. I never wanted to divorce and I never wanted it to come to this and I want him to get better. I’m not just saying it for the camera but I’ll always pray for him.