The Year 2021 witnessed the collapse of the marriages of some personalities. While the reasons for the splits were unknown, some were attributed to irreconcilable differences between the couples.
Here is a list of a few celebrity separations as reported in the media:
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, 40, in February filed for divorce from rapper Kanye West, 43, after almost seven years of marriage.
The two later agreed to joint custody of their four young children.
Last year, West unsuccessfully ran for US president. During his campaign, a series of erratic public appearances and online postings by the rapper sparked concern and led Kardashian to speak out.
She said her husband had bipolar disorder, was a “brilliant but complicated person” and called for greater empathy surrounding his mental health from the public and the media.
Bill and Melinda Gates
The divorce announcement of world’s billionaire couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, was probably the most shocking news of the year.
In May, the couple posted a joint statement on Twitter on Monday about their divorce but court papers showed that they were separated before taking the divorce decision. The court papers, however, did not show the date of their separation.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue to work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” they said in the joint statement.
The court papers also showed that Melinda Gates, 56, filed the divorce petition in which she described her marriage to Bill Gates, 64, as ‘irretrievably broken’.
It was also revealed that the Microsoft founder, who is the fourth richest man in the world with a fortune of about $130billion, did not sign a prenuptial agreement with his estranged wife of over 27 years.
The couple met in 1987 when Melinda was working at Microsoft as a project manager and was seated next to Gates at a business dinner. Their union produced three children.
Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen, almost 20 years before he married Melinda. The company made $1million in sales by 1978 and by 1987, he had become the world’s youngest-ever billionaire. He met Melinda that year.
He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014. Last year he stepped down from the board of Microsoft entirely, as well as the board of Berkshire Hathaway.
The divorce of Bill and Melinda is the biggest divorce since Amazon Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, split their $137billion fortune after his affair wrecked their 25-year marriage.
Laurent and Simone Gbagbo
In June, Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo filed for divorce from Simone, his wife of three decades.
The divorce announcement came after the 76-year-old ex-president’s return to the country following a decade’s absence, during which he was tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity during the post-election conflict of 2010-11 before his recent acquittal.
Gbagbo’s lawyer Claude Mentenon said in a statement that after years of “rejected requests for Simone Ehivet to consent to an amicable separation”, the ex-president had asked an Abidjan court for a divorce.
Laurent and Simone Gbagbo, who have two daughters, married in 1989 and campaigned alongside each other for the introduction of multi-party elections in the 1990s.
Paul and Anita Okoye
Anita, the wife of popular singer, Paul Okoye, allegedly filed for divorce in August. A partly redacted court document that went viral on social media indicated that she was calling for a dissolution of the marriage.
The couple got married on March 22, 2014, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and their union has produced three children— Andre, and twins, Nathan and Nadia.
Ooni of Ife and Naomi Silekunola
In December, Evangelist Naomi Silekunola, 28, announced her separation from the 47-year-old Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II and renounced the title of a ‘Queen’, saying she tried to make the three-year union work but the Ooni’s public identity is at variance with “his true self”.
“I did my best to endure and make it work; many times, I smiled through the struggle, but I have finally realised I had just one assignment, my son, and when God is done, He is done. He chose Saul to be king, and when He was done, He told the prophet Samuel I have moved on.
“Religion was never an issue between us; please refer to my interview on News Central TV. Instead, His Majesty has a picture he would love the world to see and perceive him as and another one which is his true self,” the fair-skinned lady posted on her social media pages.
She then declared, “I, at this moment, announce that I shall no longer be referred to as wife to the Ooni of Ife or as Queen of Ile-Ife but as the Queen of the people and mother of my adorable Prince.”
Though the Director of Media and Strategy, Ooni’s palace, Moses Olafare, said the Palace is probing the possible hacking of Olori Naomi’s Instragam page but the post by the estranged wife of the monarch has remained on her identified social media handles while some Nigerians have since called on the Palace to produce a video of Silekunola announcing that her social media accounts were hacked to post the divorce notice but the Palace had yet to do so.
Before being coronated king, the Ooni was previously married to Adebukola Bombata in 2008 but the marriage failed. As a monarch, the Ooni married Edo-born Zaynab-Otiti Obanor in 2016 but the union lasted for 17 months before their separation.
He later married Silekunola in 2018 and the marriage produced a son, Tadenikawo.
The monarch also had a daughter with Omolara Olatubosun as a teenager. Olatubosun gave birth to Princess Adeola Ogunwusi but recently, there have been counter-claims between the Ooni and Olatubosun over who was responsible for the upbringing of their daughter.
Aside from the Ooni, other traditional rulers who had experienced divorce known to the public include the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, whose marriage to his Jamaican wife, Ms Chanel Chin, crashed in December 2019. Also, Anuoluwapo Adeyemi, one of the wives of the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III, parted ways with him in November 2020.
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Source: Bill Gates, Kanye West, Ooni of Ife, other celebrity break-ups in 2021