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Kanu Nwankwo’s Wife, Amara opens up about Facing Criticism, Why she got Married at 18, Dealing with the Fame & More in Rare Interview




Amara Nwankwo, Kanu Nwankwo’s wife will be turning 30 in a couple of days and the couple will also be celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary in June.

In this rare interview with Punch Spice, the mother of three opens up about how it was for her getting married as a teenager, dealing with the negativity that comes with fame, handling the pressures of her husbands job and more.

See excerpts below:

On getting married at 18 and coping: Marriage is a growth process and I learn on a daily basis. I got married as a teenager. I was young. I think I jumped into the deep end and I simply went with it. It takes a lot of determination to keep things going because irrespective of your age, marriage throws a lot of curves at you. The main thing is being able to bounce back after being hit with a surprise or what you do not expect.

On having any doubts about her marriage: I wasn’t scared; I felt it like it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was in love, so there was no time for a negative feeling like fear to come up. I think the love I had and still have for my husband was all I needed to feel comfortable and good.

On being married to a popular personality: When I was getting married, I was not ready to be thrust into the limelight. I didn’t even know what I was getting into. I wasn’t a football fan and I knew nothing about the Premiership. I didn’t know I was getting married into that level of limelight as I was young, vibrant and in love. I am now a football fan.

On keeping her privacy: If you notice, this interview is one of the very few I have granted in recent times. I try to keep my sanity, so that I can protect my family. I had to make a personal decision to stay private for a very long time in order to build what I have built for myself and my children. I understood this from a very young age.

On if she’ll let her daughter get married at such a young age: Having gone through it myself, I wouldn’t say I would like her to do the same. I would like her to experience life slightly a bit more than I did. But it all depends on the circumstances and the persons involved. I had support from my mum, dad and siblings. In hindsight, I can say that they actually did a good job. In June, we would celebrate the 12th anniversary of our wedding.

On handling criticism: I ignored critics and paid no attention to what people said. I overlooked Facebook and I only signed on to the platform in July 2011. That was shortly after I earned a degree in Architecture.

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On motherhood: Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. In terms of motherhood, women empowerment and business sense, Beyonce inspires me. My children will always be my priority and I give God the most gratitude for blessing me with children. If I invest my time in them, they will give me more value at the end of the day.

For more from her interview pick up a copy of Sunday Punch.


  1. Football age is allowed in Nja.

    May 22, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Lovely family,beautiful and handsome children,Age?…….

    • Morolake

      May 31, 2016 at 11:38 am

      I’m sorry but all i could see was Kanu’s funny knotted tie…lol. He should have just done without the tie biko…hahaha.

      Well done Mrs. Nwankwo, you have done very well. Its not easy to build and keep a home.

  2. mizwest

    May 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Your mama born you well. Ezigbo nwa.

  3. bruno

    May 22, 2016 at 10:22 am

    ” I overlooked
    Facebook and I only signed on to the platform in
    July 2011. That was shortly after I earned a
    degree in Architecture.”

    LOOOL. yes oh, tell them.

    but on a more serious note, getting married at 18, that’s not good at all. so it means kanu dated her or met her when she was under aged. people should criticise kanu not her.
    marrying a girl at the age of 18 is just creepy no matter how u put it.

    kanu I still love u,I acknowledge all your achievements in football and ur work as a humanitarian.

    • FasholasLover

      May 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

      I don’t really think they dated. I think it was more like an arranged marriage. Kanu eventually saw her, liked her and married her. He was getting on in age and she just finished o’levels at the time l think. At the time, Kanu was vilified and called all sorts of names including cradle snatching etc. He was already wealthy and l guess it was difficult deciding who to marry amongst all dem tear eyed babes flocking around him at the time.

      But, l can tell she is a very intelligent girl with a good head on her shoulders. She also has a good support system. All that ends well…

      I agree 18 is rather too young to be getting married.

    • Charity

      May 22, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      How old was he when they married? What’s their age difference?

    • Nkem

      May 22, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      People should stop saying what they don’t know abeg. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. Any Igbo person knows that it’s very common for wealthy Igbo men to go home, see a young girl girl they like (usually between 18 and 20), and marry her. It’s was very VERY common in the 80s and 90s and that was how they met.

    • Chidera

      May 22, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      @Nkem, English language is your problem. “I think” means not sure – not authoritative.

    • Ifeoma

      June 21, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Story teller. It amazes me people that knows other people’s stories more than the story owners

    • anonymous

      May 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Exactly getting married to an 18 yr old is just creepy, doesn’t matter that she is an adult, it just seems wrong, for some reason i feel older guys that marry way younger girls are just looking for girls they can control, anyway good for them, they seem happy.

    • cristen

      May 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      My mum got married & had me @ 18. Am 23 now. It really was no biggie back then. Infact, they brag about it .

    • Tosin

      May 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

      My mother was married and had me at a very young age. I see where Amara is coming from when she says “jumping in at the deep end” it’s complicated if you haven’t had the time to growwww first before being responsible for so many things and so many people.

      I’ve seen photos of my mother at 17 and there was nothing underaged about her look. People and circumstances are different…I wouldn’t *automatically* be against a 17 year old marrying or having a baby. I might suggest waiting, depending on the culture they’re in…

      I don’t think anybody should marry before the age of like 65 lol, and kids are a huge commitment for any person or pair of persons, but some 17 year olds are more mature than a typical 27 year old Lagos woman – many of whom have little sense and we know but we have agreed as a society that they can still marry and continue maturing afterwards.

      In many cultures, men marry just as young. The thing holding back early marriage for men in most cities is $$$, nothing else.

      Something about life and purpose…we come to life with different gifts, different purpose, and unfortunately sometimes I’ve successfully imposed my own idea on others. But some people crave to do family…and it’s not fair to block them just because the white man said they should still be studying for degrees or playing around in uni.

  4. Tina

    May 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

    This chick should keep quiet about her family before she destroys it

    • Ranyinudo

      May 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Awon queen of destroyers. What is wrong in her granting an interview?

    • Queen

      May 22, 2016 at 11:18 am

      What is your problem??? This babe has since been quiet or even non-existent as far as media and publicity goes!! I remember when she wedded as far back as mid late nineties, and since then she literally disappeared to build her home unlike many of her contemporaries whom we all know, who literally hug and clench onto the lime light like their life depends on it.

      So what else do you require from her?? She should Kuku fade away and never be heard? She definitely is happy and sucessfully married and she’s building herself as a role model for decent young and even older women who may find themselves in similar shoes being married to a very popular man!

      We have never heard of any form of controversy surrounding her or her marriage.

      Biko, there’s no more keeping quiet she ought to be doing, people like us need to hear from her once in a while to remind us that there are still a few level headed and decent role models out there!! in the meantime, you can choke on your haterade!

    • Dee one

      May 24, 2016 at 5:20 am

      Mid or late 90’s kwa, fear God na… She was in her pre teen and early teenage years then, sure you didn’t read the article cos you’d know her age and when they got married.

    • Bola

      May 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

      What has she said that will destroy it? I don’t understand human beings. Nothing will destroy her marriage, she’ll be just fine. She’s managed her marriage for 12 years so far, and God will give her the grace to continue to sustain it. Onisokuso.

      God bless you, Mrs. Nwankwo.

    • Ij

      November 3, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      @Queen Mid 90s kwa? This your maths di kwa egwu!!!

  5. Soma

    May 22, 2016 at 11:01 am

    beautiful….I wish you & your husband many many more years together…God when will you make my own happen for me,i am tired.

  6. Fashionista

    May 22, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Hot Damn – married at 18!!!!!! I’m happy she was honest and said she wouldn’t necessarily want her daughter to do same. It is way toooo early, you’re still learning a lot about yourself.
    There’s something I like about her disposition though, can’t immediately put my finger on it. May God bless your family.

  7. Tootsie

    May 22, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Jeez Tina, chill out! She hardly grants intreviews for that very reason. Besides she revealed very little. I don’t see how this is gonna “destroy” anything.

    @Bruno, didn’t Omotola get married at 18? I agree it’s too young, but they turned out just fine. 🙂

    • ha

      May 23, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Or so it seems on the outside. Don’t be deceived my dear.

  8. Sai sai

    May 22, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    It wasn’t an arranged marriage..kanu met her at a party she attended with her friends..
    My source is Ovation Magazine, one of the very first magazines photos I fell in love with.m from day one this lady has alwayz been glowing..
    Wonderfully and marvellously created..No homo but I have kept that ovation magazine for a long time..

    • trey

      May 22, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      It was actually an arranged marriage love but it worked out well. Aunty Angela arranged it not a secret.

    • Joy

      May 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Yes Late Aunty Angela arranged it, Angela was her fathers younger sister a big babe in Abuja then. I was at their traditional marriage .She hooked Kalu to her niece and it worked greatly . She has gone to school had her kids now it’s her time to rock her world .

  9. Rose

    May 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    For me 18yrs is young dependent on who the person is…some 18yr olds are more matured and can be compared to some 25yr olds…it all depends on your environment, how you were raised etc….my eldest sis at 18 was already like a 25….whereas me at 18 I was like a 12 yr old in terms of my mentality and maturity… So it all depends…. I love this Amara KANU….she really does have the right people around her and a good head on her shoulders….wishing you many more fruitful years….Amen.

  10. Welldone ma

    May 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Smart girl!!! She didnt use recent pics for the interview. That little girl is definitely grown now. At least 3-4yrs old, saw them last year in nyc.
    Amara is soo pretty tho, nice babe too

  11. Pretty girl

    May 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Wishing you many more happy yrs in ur marriage

  12. Wetin?

    May 22, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    It’s the reference to Beyoncé that I don’t even understand sef. It’s like, if you don’t mention her name in your interview as one who inspires you, you never ready. Wahala dey!

  13. Tunmi

    May 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Hold up!!!! Did you peep the degree in architecture?? I know of two friends studying architecture and no be beans oh. Is she working on projects?

    • Nana

      May 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Yeah. You’ll be amazed at her innovative designs. Consults for some multinationals

  14. Lisa

    May 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    We have truly become a sick society when a black women is criticised for doing the right thing instead of being someone babymother and a golddigger because he is rich. This is what is wrong with us we have gone against the bible so instead on blessing our children we curse. Amara the best thing you can do is continue on your path and keep the enemy off your family. Amen

  15. Noname

    May 22, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I have a bridge to sell shogbo because I married at 18. Good girl keep it up with Papilo.

  16. Madman

    May 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Try marrying a poor and broke man at 17/18. LooooL, I double dare you.

    • nene

      May 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      you bad!!

  17. Charze

    May 22, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Can’t we just reason some things. If she is turning 30, and they are celebrating 12 years of marriage hmmmm! So she got married at 18? Reply to me on Twitter @AFTADCHURCH

    • Ybbil

      May 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Charze Egbe welcome to BellaNaija *round of applause*

  18. i no send

    May 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    .well done mrs nwankwo…i certainly don’t think i would have been mature enough to sustain a marriage at that age..but its good to have your kids early and be still young enough to do anything else you want afterwards ………………….Side Note.. i have this feeling that had she been in a different social/economic bracket (and maybe from a certain part of the country)…..curses would have been rained on her and her husband and extended family..but comments I’m seeing today are only half hearted references to her age etc….double standards

    • Naijatalk

      May 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      Yeye dey smell. That part of the country of which you codedly speak, if they at least have their girls marrying at 18 and upwards perhaps the outcry wouldn’t be too bad. You have grandfathers marrying 15 and 14 year olds steadily, not a one off occurrence and you want people to sit back and sip kunu. Si eba puo kita.

    • i no send

      May 22, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      is that all your interpretation ?? read again …

  19. Bey

    May 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    18 is not too young to get married when you get married to the right person and both of you are truly marrying for love. Then you both love God as well.
    My grandma married at 18 and went to school for nursing after her first child. 60yrs on, they are still together.
    If you find “the one” at 18, don’t see anything wrong.

  20. Hey

    May 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    You do well ehn ! You should have tried it with a broke guy or your age mate then ,you for don hear am now . Be confusing young ones .

  21. Dave

    May 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Once a girl cross that age by five years,marriage becomes their prayer point in the eastern region,while the men,will multiply her age when she married by three,and are still trying to discover mungo park.

    • uc

      May 22, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      U are a clown data all…

  22. linda

    May 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    BN I read the full interview elsewhere and I can say I’m disappointed with you guys. You guys excluded her comments on how she’s worked for interior decor companies for high end London houses and even designed for London Marriott hotel (which is AMAZING for a woman who married and had children so early). Do you not think your viewers care about other things than marriage and motherhood?

    • nimo

      May 23, 2016 at 8:37 am

      So much for women empowerment BN. Side eye

    • Tunmi

      May 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      No way, BN it hurts that you did this

  23. Ethio

    May 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    a rich football prodigy comes for your teenage daughter’s hand in marriage and you’re waiting for what? he’s even welcome in her infancy! *joking*don’t see reason with an 18 yr old getting married in this jet age joor, it worked out for them THEN

  24. linda

    May 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Godforbid anything happens to Amara tomorrow. May her marriage stay sweet and may the hairs on her angelic head stay unharmed. Because as fas as illogical people are concerned sharing ANYTHING on social media means that you are bad and you deserve anything bad that happens to you. Na wa o. I think people who attack celebrities for sharing on their own personal instagram/facebook are either jealous or lack the self-control to look away.

  25. Random

    May 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    These must be the most beautiful children in the world. God bless them.

    Maturity really varies with age and her responses are quite impressive. I don’t think everyone’s life should be painted with one brush after all many marry older and don’t last up to 12 years.

    We should let people be as long as they are harmless and happy and stop being obsessed with rules and cultural standards.
    May God bless them

  26. Rekiya

    May 22, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    How can you be comparing your grandma’s time and now? Please marrying at 18 is not advisable! My grandmother married at 15 and step grandma at 13. They both lived with my grandfather till he passed on. If you talk marriage to any of them and you’re not up to 25 and done with at least a masters degree and have a stable job, the kind of eye and scolding you’ll receive ehn. They got married that young because at that time that was all there was to do. Most of these women marrying young don’t even know what and how their husbands should behave in marriage. They suffer all kinds and types of abuse and they have nowhere to turn to, Please marrying at 18 is a no! No! 21 upwards, yes! This applies to both men and women.

  27. mary

    May 22, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    i really like her, i follow her on IG, and i like the fact that she is not loud unlike the others who think that constantly flaunting designer items on social media validates how happy their marriage is. she married a rich footballer at a very young age, but she has managed to keep it low, acquiring education and building her home. her first son almost looks like her younger brother. may God continue to keep your home Mr and Mrs Kanu.

  28. M

    May 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Does anybody else see her baby is absolutely gorgeous

  29. Sisi

    May 22, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    His current football age is 39 lol so he’s “9” years older. Those of us who love Omotola have no right to criticise to Amara ooo Omosexy also married at 18 to a man 10 years older. Oh well what can I say lol!

  30. Celeste

    May 22, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    The gist then was that Kanu wanted to marry Agbani, who was much celebrated then as the first miss world from native Africa but Agbani wanted a different path for her life; she was young and wanted to build her brand and career as a model. So she turned Kanu’s marriage proposal down, and Kanu went for young Amarachi.

    Honestly, I think Kanu didn’t want a matured ‘tear eye’ babe. He was wealthy and mature (I hear we are only told their football age), and so wanted real love which only a girl like Amarachi or Agbani (who own her own, is a star in her own right and was young too) can give a man of his status and standing.

  31. nene

    May 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    if he was poor, i doubt she would marry him. an 18 year old shouldn’t be getting married in this day and age. i believe people shouldn’t get married until they’re empowered in some way i.e education, wealth, connections, power, etc. however, i love kanu and his family.

  32. Not bitter Kola

    May 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    After marrying young, she worked well with what she had, thus building a good and safe environment for her and her family. Wisdom was applied by both parties. Wanting the same thing and building towards it. I’m happy for their beautiful family. Beyonce is a hard worker so she can be your role model of course. Well done Amara.

  33. PD Young Billionaire

    May 23, 2016 at 12:39 am

    It is more honorable for a lady to marry at 18 than sleep around.I respect her and appreciate the fact that she has been able to hold it down for 12years.Marriage no be beans my people.It takes a strong woman to have weathered the storms and held it down for this long.She even graduated as an architect in the midst of it all.She is indeed a beautiful woman with lovely kids.She looks more like the kid’s aunty than their mum.God bless and keep this beautiful family….

  34. Sarah

    May 23, 2016 at 2:33 am

    This girl’s Chi has been working on overtime (In Okwonkwo’s voice – Things Fall Apart). Which girl from her background wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity that comes with marrying a rich footballer from Obodo Oyinbo? I won’t be surprised if some of her mates completed their university education same time as she did, considering ASUU strike. I don’t know why people are harping about her marrying at the age of 18 years. In UK, people are considered adults at the age of 18, most people even move from home at that age. I think its just because most Nigerian ladies move to their marital homes from their parents’ and don’t seem to be as independent as their counterparts in the western countries.

    All I know is that the girl is blessed!

  35. idomagirl

    May 23, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Still as beautiful as ever. Also big ups to her for getting that degree in Architecture.
    BN you should have included the part were she talked about her career successes also, I know it’s marriage gist that “moves market” here but still….

  36. Oma

    May 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Oh my days, those kids are adorable! and Amara is such a beautiful woman. There’s absolultely nothing wrong with the age at which she got married, it was not below the legal age, and she has gone on to achieve everything she didn’t and more. God bless your home hon.

  37. Moi

    June 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    First time I am commenting on bellanaija. People keep saying that getting married at 18 is too young. Those of you that are in your late twenties, how many things have you achieved. Age is just a number. If GOD gives you the right person, then thank him and stop talking about age. The babe has 3 adorable kids at 30 and she still finished school. Thumps up dear

  38. NG

    December 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I Love you, your kids. …..infact your wonderful home ……May God continue to bless your home.However please don’t relent, regardless of your status today, especially your educational achievements. Your story is similar to mine yet till today I’ve not lost it but still loves and respects my huby.. Good Luck!!!!

  39. Mrs

    August 3, 2017 at 12:18 am

    They were introduced by Angela Onyeador who is Amara Onyeador’s Aunty. Kanu wanted to marry an Aro girl, so it was partly arranged/encouraged. They dated briefly. She was younger than 18 but he intended to marry from the start.

  40. Bolaji

    August 3, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Cute kids.

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