When a man and woman marry, they hope to live together happily ever after and commit to hold for better or for worse. That was the dream of one of the most colourful TV couples – Betty Kyalo and Dennis Okari – when they tied the knot in September 2015.
Okari, an investigative journalist with NTV, even did something most men struggle to do in weddings: shedding tears of love, which extended into sobs.
Barely six months later, Better Kyalo, a prime time news anchor on KTN, is living a lonely life, just as is her man. The two said to have separated and are living in different locations in Nairobi.
According to someone close to the family, the two have not been seen together in public for the past two months, a strong sign of cracks in their widely publicised celebrity marriage. They have also kept off social media, where they would occasionally share loves notes.
The last time the couple actively engaged each other on social media was in January when Betty hosted CMB Prezzo on her Friday briefing show. During the show Prezzo kept making physical and verbal advances at Betty and at some point fondled her live on TV, touching off a storm on social media.
The couple, which has a baby, blames their rift on what they term only as “irreconcilable differences”.
Their wedding was an elegant invite-only affair held at the Marula Manor in Karen, Nairobi. The bride and the groom arrived aboard two very expensive cars, which had their names emblazoned on to symbolically signify a lifelong union, after six years of courtship.
Information indicates they could actually be headed for divorce, which could go down as the shortest celebrity marriage in Kenya. The other celebrity marriage that ended acrimoniously was that of Raila Odinga’s son Fidel (the late) with Veronica Wanjiru, who held a major wedding in 2007, but broke up four years later in 2011.
Some media observers are already spinning theories. The most popular is the media curse when it comes to marriage. This school of thought argues that media celebrities are not cut out for marriage and those who try it end up heartbroken. They give the example of Lilian Muli, who married environmentalist Moses Kanene in a highly publicised wedding.
Yet a year later there was already talk of icy relations between them and some even say they have divorced. To prove the rumours, Lillian Muli, who adopted her husband’s name after marriage, has since dropped it
There are many examples of failed media marriages, but the strongest evidence of the curse is the fact that most media celebrities remain single for the most part of their practising lives. In this category is Catherine Kasavuli who chose a celibate life but has children and former Nation TV and radio presenter Sheila Mwanigha.
But it’s not all doom, as there are a number of successful marriages. Betty Kyalo’s fledgling marriage has thrown the spotlight on other celebrities in media and people will be closely watching how their marriages fair on including, Janet Mbugua, whose wedding last year broke celebrity records.