How my failed marriage led me to depression – Lilian Esoro
About two years after her divorce from record label executive Ubi Franklin was formalised by a Nigerian court, Nollywood actress and businesswoman Lilian Esoro has publicly shared her healing and recovery story.
The actress, a graduate of Political Science from the University of Abuja, was a guest of Pastor Bolaji Idowu of Harvesters Church in a rare Instagram live session.
Despite sharing a son, Jayden, the couple, who had an elaborate wedding in November 2015, separated a year later.
The couple had a lengthy divorce trial. Ms Lillian filed for divorce in a Lagos High Court, but the judge denied it.
In 2019, Ubi filed for divorce in an Abuja court, where the judge was said to have thrown out their case.
In January 2021, the divorce was finalised, with Lilian taking custody of their son, Jayden.
During the session with the preacher, she opened up on her battle with depression post-divorce and the steps she took to conquer it.
It was the first time the highly private actress would openly discuss matters relating to her divorce in public.
According to the ‘Clinic Matters’ actress, depression and other mental health issues are not talked about as much as they should be in this part of the world.
“It is not something I think anyone should go through, and I was there. I’ve had my fair share; to be very honest with you, I almost threw in the towel.
“Again, we should be mindful of the people we surround ourselves with. I just wanted to be away from everybody; at that time, I’m sure many people noticed. At that point, I even stopped appearing on screen. I just lost interest in everything and everyone. I crawled into a shell that I’m wondering where it went to now,” she said.
Insisting that depression is real, the actress opined that many people are sceptical about talking and don’t even know who to talk to.
Sharing more of her story, the mother-of-one, who runs a beauty parlour, Lioca Spa, revealed that her battle with depression led her to birth a foundation in 2017 to help women through the same struggles.
“In my depressed state, I thought my life was entirely over. What more could I do? My acting career, how long can it sustain me? I just have a lot of things in my head.
“As a single mum, I felt I’m not alone. I have extra baggage; how do I go about it? How do I move about it? This is something that God has bestowed on top of me. Am I ready for this? And sometimes, I found the courage. Bless her soul, and my mum also played a huge part in helping me,” she said.
The 40-year-old actress said she threw herself into work, day and night.
She said, “I took on jobs nonstop. I took on jobs back to back, and I was not relenting. I was working tirelessly like a mad person. I could count how many times I slept on my bed because it was from one set to another.
“I’m just here to encourage those who feel their life is over wherever they think they’re, even if they are single parents. Believe it or not, it’s not the end of your life. It’s something that I feel I need to tell a lot of people. Don’t stay down.”
The first step towards healing, she said, was to forgive herself. Although she did not share details of the issues that led to her divorce from Mr Franklin, Esoro said she is ready to start afresh.
“I’m now open to having a relationship and having an open mind because when you expect too much, they might end up failing you. So I’m going with an open heart and an open mind, new blessings, everything new and fresh.
“If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we have many goals. I will focus my energy on more creative things rather than the hurt, pain and baggage. It’s over and done.”
Lilian’s acting career started in 2005 when her friend Bovi cast her in the soap opera ‘Extended Family’.
However, she became more notable, playing Nurse Abigail in the television series Clinic Matters playing Nurse Abigail.