This biography of Genevieve Nnaji covers details of the Nollywood veteran such as her net worth, husband, daughter, and baby daddy.
Genevieve Nnaji is a member of a small but select group of prominent individuals who are recognised only by their first names. What is Genevieve Nnaji’s net worth?
At what age did Genevieve give birth? Is Genevieve Nnaji a graduate? Are Genevieve and Omotola enemies? This biography provides comprehensive information on the Nollywood icon.
Genevieve Nnaji information
Date of birth
3 May, 1979
Source of wealth
Entertainment, Endorsements, Fashion
Daughter (date of birth)
Chimebuka Theodora (1999)
First movie appearance
Ripples by Zeb Ejiro
Professional movie debut
Most Wanted (1998)
First movie (producer)
Road to Yesterday (2015)
First movie (director)
Lion Heart (2018)
State of origin
Mbaise, Imo State
Methodist Girls’ College, Yaba
University of Lagos
Genevieve Nnaji biography
Genevieve Nnaji’s meteoric ascent as an actress, producer, and director has always served as a reminder to cherish one’s humble origins.
From schooling in the chaotic alleys of Yaba to becoming one of the few individuals whose first names are sufficient to identify them. Across Africa and beyond, the name Genevieve calls to mind just one person: the delectable, dark-skinned star from Nigeria.
Early years and schooling
Early in her career, Genevieve had difficulty securing acting roles in Surulere, the Film Capital of Africa, and was forced to hop from one audition to the next in her pursuit of superstardom. In this very competitive atmosphere, Genevieve was tasked with establishing herself.
Genevieve was born on May 3, 1979, in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria. She is the fourth of eight children; her father was an engineer, and her mother a teacher.
Genevieve Nnaji attended Methodist Girls College, Yaba, and is an alumnus of the University of Lagos, where she majored in Creative Arts on a part-time basis. Unable to juggle schooling with acting, Genevieve Nnaji dropped out of University in the late 90s.
Her elementary school, Kemstar, was situated in Surulere, a city renowned for producing future film stars, exposing the actress to television at a very early age.
This led to her first television appearance as a child actress at age 8 in one of the most successful Nigerian soap operas of the 20th century, Zeb Ejiro’s Ripples.
As a youngster, Genevieve Nnaji and her family had to relocate from Surulere to Egebda due to economic constraints when her father lost his job twice.
This compelled her and her siblings to assist their mother in the trade business while squatting in her house.
Pregnancy and breakthrough
Although Genevieve often auditioned for jobs in the already crowded Nigerian film business, she struggled to persuade directors and producers of her ability.
She dropped out of secondary school after becoming pregnant and giving birth to her daughter, Chimebuka Theodora, at 17, which further inspired her to pursue an acting career.
Director Elvis Obaseki remembers witnessing Genevieve despondent and on the verge of tears when he opted against casting her in a film.
Obaseki had initially agreed to a payment of 1,500 naira (about 26,000 naira in today’s economy) but had a change of heart due to budgetary restrictions.
However, the pendulum came full circle five years later when Obaseki offered Genevieve a fee equivalent to 2.5 million naira in today’s currency to feature in a film at the height of her popularity; she declined.
Genevieve Nnaji’s professional debut came in 1998, at the age of 19, when she was featured in Ralph Nwadike’s Most Wanted in a cameo role as a news reporter.
Two years later, City People Magazine recognised her as the Best Actress of 2001, a first for the respected publication, which had hitherto only honoured political and corporate figures.
Nollywood ban and Music
In 2004, Genevieve forayed into the music industry for the first time when major film studios in Lagos and Onitsha banned producers from recruiting big-name actors owing to pay demands.
Also on the blocklist were Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Stephanie Okereke, Stella Damasus, and Rita Dominic, all collectively dubbed “The Big Five Girls” at the time.
These celebs allegedly demanded as much as 3 million naira for movie appearances, a sum producers were hesitant to pay since the majority of films had limited budgets.
Producer Eddie Ugbomah referred to these prominent actors as “monsters created by the marketers,” an allusion corroborated by the then-President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Remmy Ohajianya.
In the year of the embargo, Genevieve had already appeared in at least 12 films, making her one of the most-sought actors in Nigerian cinema.
Unemployed, Genevieve launched her first album, ‘One Logologo Line,’ which included the famous hit single ‘No More.’
The album as a whole was a commercial failure and was labelled “wacky,” yet No More weathered the criticism and is today archived as a classic.
Genevieve Nnaji net worth
genevieve nnaji poses in a high rise building overlooking an urban city
Genevieve Nnaji is the wealthiest actress in Nigeria, with a net worth of about 5 billion naira, or 12 million US dollars. She became the first billionaire in Nollywood when her Netflix film Lion Heart premiered for an estimated $3.8 million.
Genevieve owns many choice properties on the Lekki corridors, Ikoyi, Abuja, and Ghana. Her automobile fleet includes luxury brands: Range Rover, BMW, and Mercedes Benz.
Genevieve has had endorsement partnerships with a number of prestigious firms, including Etisalat, Range Rover Evoque, Omo, Pronto, Amstel Malta, and MUD cosmetics, over the years. In 2020, she will represent the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as an ambassador.
According to a 2014 study conducted by Vanguard, Genevieve is the wealthiest celebrity in Nigeria based on endorsements alone, surpassing heavyweights P-Square, Don Jazzy, D’banj, and Wizkid.
In 2004, Genevieve triumphed over various other celebrities to become the Face of Lux, the first Nigerian to achieve this feat. This accomplishment placed her in the company of legends like Marilyn Monroe, Patti Boulaye, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Demi Moore, all of whom had fronted the beauty soap.
In addition, the ambassadorial contract earned Genevieve a fortune of 20 million naira, equal to nearly 60 million naira in today’s hyperinflationary economy.
Outside of music, Genevieve Nnaji is a prominent fashion model, appearing on fashion runways and modelling for various clothing giants. In 2008, she created a clothing line called St. Genevieve.
How much does Genevieve earn per movie?
Genevieve Nnaji is by far the highest paid Nigerian actress per movie appearance, and was the first to earn seven figures —a million naira— for a movie appearance.
At the peak of her career, in the 2000s, Genevieve Nnaji earned between three and four million naira for each screenplay. For her starring role in the 2010 global smash hit “Ije”, she was paid $25,000 (3.75 million naira). In the current economy, this wage is comparable to almost 10 million naira.
Genevieve Nnaji’s husband
Genevieve has never married and claimed in October 2015 that the dread of a failed marriage is the primary restraining factor.
“If I get married, I want to stay married, and staying married is not easy. It means you are completely in tune with your partner.
“It means you have found your soul mate and will have to be able to stand a lot of disappointments that will definitely come, but then again, you have to learn how to forgive,” Genevieve stated.
This dreadful anxiety may explain why the actress has been involved in a number of unsuccessful relationships.
Okechukwu Joseph, a well-known Nollywood actor, referred to their brief romance as “a disaster,” while Pat Attah, who also dated the actress for just two years, characterised their relationship as “great.”
Genevieve Nnaji daughter and baby daddy
Genevieve Nnaji and daughter, Chimebuka Theodora, share a selfie
In 1999, at the young age of 17, Genevieve Nnaji gave birth to her daughter, Chimebuka Theodora, ultimately leading to her dropping out of school.
Genevieve admitted in an interview with the now-defunct Treasure Magazine that she did not discover her pregnancy until the fourth month, which ruled out any possibility of an abortion.
“Getting rid of the pregnancy was an alternative then, but it was too late, because not until I was four months before we discovered it and so it was not what we could do,” she said.
In addition, Genevieve Nnaji revealed that her parents were unaware of her condition until the seventh month of her pregnancy.
The actress has never disclosed Theodora’s father, although in 2008, a US-based socialite, Dotun Oladipo, also known as Acura, denied fatherhood when Genevieve’s relatives fingered him.
Dotun Oladipo, aka Acura, is the purported father of Genevieve’s daughter
Acura did not dispute having an affair with the then-17-year-old actress, but he demanded a DNA test before any admission.
Acura who was 20 at the time insinuated in an old interview with NollywoodGist that Genevieve had multiple partners throughout their fling:
“I was not the only one she was seeing as of the time she got pregnant. There was another guy involved who still leaves here in Egebda,” stated Acura in 2008.
Theodora reportedly grew up with foster parents because Acura failed to assume parental obligations, compelling Genevieve to send her to a childless couple in Lagos so she could continue her schooling.
Until her marriage, Theodora supposedly grew up in this environment.
In contrast to her mother, 24-year-old Chimebuka Theodora had greater fortune in her personal life, as she wed in 2016 and is now the mother of a newborn boy, making Genevieve a grandma.
Genevieve Nnaji’s affairs
Genevieve has always kept her relationship status under wraps, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from associating her with several romantic interests.
The list includes former vice president Abubakar Atiku, pop artist D’banj, European actor AJ Cham, and U.S.-based basketball agent Ugochukwu Udezue.
One of these romance rumours landed Desmond Ike Chima of myemag.net in jail after he linked Genevieve to an extra-marital affair with UBA MD Phillips Oduoza in 2015.
The most incredible of these rumours linked her to filmmaker Ishaya Bako, who directed Genevieve’s first-ever film, Road To Yesterday, which won Best Film Overall-West Africa at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.
The 2018 completion of Genevieve’s mansion in Abuja was purportedly sponsored by Bako, who is eight years younger than the actress.
Even stranger rumours connected her to the Benin actress and singer Ella Martins in a gay relationship.
Genevieve Nnaji awards
In 2005, Genevieve Nnaji solidified her superstar status by winning Best Actress in a Leading Role at the first African Movie Academy Awards, held in Bayelsa, Nigeria. She was the first actress to win the honour.
She added two additional AMA awards to her collection in 2008 and 2010 for her performances in “30 Days” and “Tango With Me,” making her the second-most honoured actress at the gala, behind only Jackie Appiah.
In 2008, Genevieve reaffirmed her supremacy over Ini Edo and Mercy Johnson to become the first-ever “Sexiest Woman” in Nollywood, as chosen by fans at the Vanguard Newspapers Award ceremony.
Genevieve Nnaji achievements
In 2009, Genevieve was included in an Oprah Winfrey Show piece titled “Meet the Most Famous People in the World”, in which Oprah Winfrey referred to the Nigerian as the “Julia Roberts of Africa.”
Oprah Winfrey put extra feathers in Genevieve’s bonnet by claiming that Nnaji was selected because their study unveiled her as the most well-known African talent.
In 2011, the Nigerian government awarded Genevieve the Order of the Federal Republic for her contributions to Nollywood, while her hometown in Imo State bestowed upon her the Chieftaincy title “Eze Adaemoji of Amuzu Nweafor.”
In 2013, Elle Magazine included Genevieve as an artist to watch in their International Superstars: The Next Big Crossover Acts piece.
She was the sixth most popular Nigerian celebrity on Instagram as of 2015. Genevieve Nnaji is the first Nigerian actress to be verified on Twitter.
Nollywood’s finest kisser
Majid Michel, the most honoured actor in AMAA history, acknowledged Genevieve as the finest kisser he had ever played with.
This kiss likely occurred in the 2010 film Bursting Out, for which both performers received the 2011 Best of Nollywood award for Best Kiss. Additionally, the two enjoyed heated sequences in the 2009 film Silent Scandals.
Are Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola-Jalade-Ekeinde enemies?
Although both actresses have denied it, the media has persistently portrayed Genevieve and another famous actress, Omotola Jalade, as engaged in a feud.
Following their co-starring appearances in the 2002 film Blood Sister, Genevieve allegedly accused her alleged competitor of utilising venereal or, in simplest terms, fleshly tactics to get parts in major motion pictures.
Genevieve drew no blanks, when she reportedly accused Omotola in 2003 of using “extra” means to bag first-choice acting roles with director Tchidi Tchikere.
With Tchikere, one of Nigeria’s leading directors, Omotola became the first actress to earn above eight hundred thousand naira for a movie appearance.
Their relationship had reportedly worsened to the point that they no longer spoke, and they came close to fighting during the R70 fashion show in 2007.
Omotola allegedly launched her first album, Gba, in 2005 as a direct reaction to Genevieve’s prior discography. When asked to comment on the album’s rating, Nnaji refused.
Both actors put aside their differences to portray sisters in the 2010 film Ije: The Journey, directed by Chineze Anyaene.
However, Keith Smith, the film’s cinematographer, claimed in an interview with E24-7 Magazine that there was an underlying hostility between the two actors,
“I sensed the tension. After each scene, they parted ways and went their separate ways. They never interacted and were just distant.”
Genevieve unfollowed Omotola and Rita Dominic on Instagram for no apparent reason in 2018, trashing any possibility of a relationship between the two women.
Genevieve Nnaji movies
Since her 1998 debut, Genevieve has appeared in more than 500 films, including blockbusters like
Mildred Okwo’s 30 Days,
Obi Emelonye’s The Mirror Boy,
Mahmoud Balogun’s Tango With Me,
Adewale Agbaje’s Farming, and
Desmond Elliot’s star-studded Weekend Getaway, starring Ramsey Nouah, Monalisa Chinda, Ini Edo, Uti Nwachukwu, Alexx Ekubo, Bryan Okwara, Beverly Naya and Uru Eke.
Netflix’s Lion Heart
In 2018, Genevieve made her long-awaited directorial debut with the film Lion Heart, instantly acquired by Netflix before its release for a reported $3.8 million, becoming the first Netflix Original from Nigeria and making Genevieve the first billionaire in Nollywood.
The film was an immediate hit and Nigeria’s first entry for the Oscar in the “Best International Feature Film” category.
However, after being first approved, it was controversially dismissed by the Oscar Committee due to linguistic irregularities, a widely criticised decision.
One of Genevieve’s retaliatory tweets said, “We did not pick who colonised us.” The movie was, however, recognised by several other reputable international award platforms.
The Black Reel Awards for Outstanding Foreign Film/World Cinema Motion Picture is, as of 2022, the film’s most prestigious honour.
Genevieve Nnaji controversies
In 2004, Genevieve alienated the Nigerian people and media when she made an inappropriate remark on a visit to Sierra Leone.
In the spur of the moment, Genevieve compared herself to the mythical prophet undervalued in his native nation after being swamped by ecstatic supporters who metaphorically rolled her on a red carpet and worshipped the ground she walked on.
Genevieve and feminism
Genevieve is a staunch champion for women’s rights, frequently speaking out against girl-child marriage, and considers herself “a proud feminist who embraces her femininity.”