Toni Payne: TheNet.ng boss, Adekunle Ayeni broke my marriage
It has been six years since the marriage between popular Nigerian singer 9ice and his estranged wife and mother of his first son Toni Payne packed up. But Payne has since forgiven 9ice for the heartache he might have caused her. Payne spoke on her broken marriage as she had never done in a phone-in interview with Gloria Maduka and Terrel of Inspiration FM, Lagos.
The interview gave more insights into who was responsible for the breakup of her home. Toni was alleged to have called in on the Lunch Time show, from California and alleged that the wedding separation press release sent out by 9ice’s publicist at the time, Ayeni Adekunle started the rumour. Reacting to how she felt when the rumours of her alleged affair with Ruggedman broke out courtesy of 9ice’s controversial song Once Beaten Twice Shy, Payne said: “It started out really annoying, then it went from annoying to frustrating because if you listen to the song carefully you can tell that it’s not me he described in the song (smiles).
It felt like a horrible dream and it kept growing and people were actually taking it seriously. When it all started I felt the rumour could have been killed faster with the social media because that’s how it was spreading. At that point, I approached 9ice’s publicist then, Ayeni. I don’t want to call anybody my enemy, but I consider him an enemy because I see him as someone who started something and didn’t finish it. Back then when they put out their little press release talking about me and 9ice splitting up, I warned them not to put it out.
I told them that if there’s anything happening internally, we should resolve it internally, that putting it out there gives the public the right to interfere. But Ayeni convinced 9ice that he had to put it out, all because he wanted to sell THENETNG. That was when he started the website. But they went ahead and put out the release behind my back. I was sitting down at this restaurant with my friend when we started getting messages about me doing this and that. I called Ayeni and was like, you guys started this rumours, please fix it, and he was like madam, we’ll do it and he never did.
I expected him to use the same enthusiasm they used in releasing the first news to also use in killing it, but they never did, instead he continued to use it to promote THENETNG. But today, where’s the paper? They ended packing up and I’ve said it, that every single person that felt they were profiting from the rumours back then, will be caught by God, one by one, and that’s what has happened and is happening.”
Asked if she can truly forgive 9ice, Payne says: “I am a very vocal person, when I took to my website to write that open letter I did it really and truly because I’m done with that saga and another reason was to encourage people in similar situations. It’s the best thing to do.” But she said there is no getting back to 9ice. “No I’m not. I’m definitely not going back to him,” she said. Ayeni is the founder of Nigerian Entertainment Today. He also runs popular PR agency, BlackHouse Media which worked for many A-list entertainers and as at that time was the publicist to 9ice thus his releasing a press statement on 9ice/ Payne marriage breakup. 9ice has since tendered an unreserved apology to his ex-wife, using a legally-worded open letter that raised many eyebrows.