ACTOR/MODEL EPHY SAINT CLAIMS NIGERIAN ACTOR PETE EDOCHIE IS HIS FATHER
Veteran Nigerian actor Pete Edochie has denied he fathered Kenyan heart-throb Ephy Muriithi aka Ephy Saint.Credible sources close to Ephy say the Tahidi High and Shuga actor strongly believes the Nigerian veteran is his long-lost father. The Nairobi model-cum-actor is said to have made attempts to contact Pete, including sending photos and letters, but the veteran has so far maintained they have no blood relationship.
Speaking exclusively to The Nairobian from Nigeria, the veteran actor, also referred to as Okonkwo, said he has never slept with a Kenyan woman although he described them as ‘very curvy and seductive.’
“I have only seen the Kenyan women on TV. I must say that they have everything that an African man wants. However, I have never got close to any of them, let alone sleep with them,” Pete said in a telephone interview.
He also admitted that Ephy called him last year regarding the paternity claims.
“The boy is very ambitious. I admire his spirit in the search for his father. I was very amused when he called me telling me that he was my son. In fact, I was honoured. I know that very many people out there admire my acting talent and would love me to be their father, which is a great thing,” he said.
But when contacted, Ephy said he was not ready to comment. He told The Nairobian, “I hate drama and I do not want to be caught in the middle of this mess. I’m not interested in what he (Pete) has to say anymore.”
If his claims are true, it remains unclear how his mother (said to be Kenyan) met the renowned actor, who is said to have cut off communication over 20 years ago as soon as he realised that she was pregnant.
However, a Nigerian-based website recently claimed it had interviewed Ephy and, after repeating the claims that Pete was his father, quoted the Kenyan actor as saying he would like to be buried in Nigeria because that is where his father is.
Pete, one of Africa’s most accomplished actors and experienced broadcasters, hit the limelight in the 1980s for his role as Okonkwo in an adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s famous novel, Things Fall Apart. He is thought to have starred in at least 200 Nollywood movies, some of which dominate Kenyan TV screens.
Pete, whose last born son Yul Edochie is one of the most sought after actors in Nigeria, told The Nairobian that he has never been to Kenya because he has a phobia for flying.
“In fact, the last time I was in a plane was in the 1970s when I flew to Zambia to watch a football match,” he said.
He also defended himself on allegation that he could have been promiscuous in his younger days.
“I’m very careful with how I handle myself with fans or these beautiful women. I know I’m an actor and a famous one. So, it can take time for a woman to lure me to bed. I also know how the smallest mistake can blown out of proportion,” he said.
The 66-year-old actor, believed to have two sons, also refused to reveal details of his family and how many children he has, claiming it was ‘unAfrican’.
Attempts to interview Ephy’s family were unsuccessful as his close friends described him as “very secretive.”
“I only know that his mother is still working and that they are well off. They live in Nairobi West. Ephy does not really need Pete for the money or fame. He owns a modelling agency and a shoe company called Kenyan Ndula. He just wants to be accepted by Pete as one of his sons,” our source said.
By Cate Mukei