Singing superstar Jennifer Lopez and retired baseball great Alex Rodriguez have been one of the most glam celebrity couples in recent years. Fans, get ready: a J-Rod wedding is on the cards.
Lopez and Rodriguez confirmed on Instagram late Saturday that they are engaged.
Both posted a picture of their hands at sunset, with Lopez’s enormous diamond ring.
While the multi-hyphenate singer-actress-dancer-producer only captioned the pic with heart emojis, Rodriguez went a bit farther, writing in lower-case letters: “she said yes.”
Lopez, 49, and Rodriguez, 43, have been a couple for about two years.
Lopez, currently the executive producer and judge on NBC reality dance competition show “World of Dance,” is set to go on tour later this year across North America. She wrapped up a Vegas residency in 2018.
She has been married three times: to Ojani Noa, back-up dancer Cris Judd, and singer Marc Anthony, with whom she has 11-year-old twins. She also had a high-profile relationship with actor Ben Affleck.
Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball in 2016, after a lengthy career, mostly with the New York Yankees. He won one World Series title with the Yankees and was an All-Star 14 times.
His achievements were tarnished by his admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season.
Rodriguez currently works as an on-air baseball analyst.
He has been married once. He and ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis have two daughters.
Britain is charging young women rescued from forced marriages abroad for the cost of their repatriation, The Times newspaper revealed Wednesday.
Four British women who were liberated from a punishment institution in Somalia were each charged £740 ($940, 820 euros), the daily said.
Victims are reportedly told they have to fund their flight back to Britain, basic food and shelter costs.
Those who are aged over 18 and cannot pay have to sign emergency loan agreements with the Foreign Office.
The ministry helped bring back 55 forced marriage victims in 2016 and 27 in 2017.
The four young women who were found in a “correctional school” in Somalia had been sent to the religious institution by their families and reported being chained to the walls and whipped with hosepipes.
Some had their legs shackled, spent days locked in a small box, were burned with hot sticks and forced to sit in their own urine unless they accepted a forced marriage, The Times said.
The Foreign Office and the Home Office interior ministry run the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), which from 2009 to 2017 gave advice or support to nearly 12,800 people.
Marriages without consent, or their refusal, have led to suicides and so-called honour killings in Britain, with several cases coming to national prominence.
Since 2014, forced marriage has been a crime in Britain carrying a maximum seven-year prison sentence.
In the past two years, the Foreign Office has lent £7,765 to at least eight forced marriage victims who could not pay for their repatriation.
Around £3,000 has been repaid, although debts of more than £4,500 are outstanding.
A 10-percent surcharge is added if an emergency loan is not repaid within six months.
“Given these are from public funds, we have an obligation to recover the money,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.
“The FMU provides funding for safe houses and non-governmental organisations to ensure victims of forced marriage can get a place of safety as soon as possible.
“We do not charge British nationals for this service and work with organisations to support them on their return.”
‘Compassion and humanity’
Speaking from Singapore, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC radio he had asked for advice from officials in response to the front-page story.
“Any interventions that I have had on these consular matters I have always stressed to embassies and posts abroad that they need to use discretion,” he said.
“Of course we should always behave with compassion and humanity in every situation.”
News of the compulsory charges has prompted criticism in Britain.
Yvette Cooper, who chairs parliament’s Home Affairs Committee which scrutinises the interior ministry’s work, said she was “completely appalled”.
“Forced marriage is slavery. For the government to make victims pay for their freedom is immoral. Ministers need to put this right, fast,” said the opposition Labour MP.
In 2018, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,196 cases, with 256 (21 percent) concerning men.
“Forced marriage is a hidden crime,” the unit says, explaining that the figures will not reflect “the full scale of the abuse”.
In 2017, 37 percent of cases related to Pakistan, 11 percent to Bangladesh, eight percent to Somalia and seven percent to India. Some 10 percent were entirely internal British cases.
The number of cases relating to Somalia has increased 100 percent year on year, the Foreign Office said.
Marriage to a Vietnamese bride is just a click and a few thousand dollars away on a blizzard of Chinese websites promising to solve the “single problems” of China’s men.
A decades-long one-child policy has created a yawning demographic disparity in China, with tens of millions more men than women.
Sites like Zhongyuelove.com make their margin plugging that gap, linking lovelorn Chinese men with Vietnamese women, pressed by poverty at home to marry thousands of miles away.
“Vietnamese women are a blessing for this group (unmarried Chinese men),” the website says, using an image gallery of women in their early 20s backed up by poetic words on the prospective brides to seize the interest of China’s bachelors.
“They (the women) are pure, beautiful, traditional,” it says “and possess the gentleness and virtue of Chinese women but also the romantic exoticism of a foreign bride.”
Its matchmaking fee for connecting bachelors is around $4,000 — which includes non-refundable ‘blind dates’, an unspecified ‘pre-marital medical exam’ and wedding photography if all goes well.
The fee does not cover wedding gifts to the bride’s family or transportation fees for the bride and groom.
For those concerned by the possibility of failed marriages and the shady brokering system that attracts conmen on both sides of the border, Zhongyuelove has an ‘FAQ’ section.
It offers reassurance on the visa process for a foreign bride and warns would-be grooms to be upfront about their income, living situation and any disabilities.
The ‘sensitive questions’ tab delves deeper with blunt queries about the beauty and ethics of Vietnamese women as well as discussions over the likelihood of them running away after the marriage — and the fees have been paid.
Matchmaking is common inside China, but the overseas bride business has exploded in recent years with men fearing a lifetime of singledom while ‘bride-prices’ — doweries — for Chinese women rise sharply.
There are no official figures but experts believe tens of thousands of women from Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia pour into China each year for marriage.
Many go willingly, connected via websites as well as informal and illegal networks of brokers on both sides of the border.
Others are tricked to move for work, kidnapped and forced into marriage.
Websites like www.0084520.com offer and ranks the would-be brides for ‘popularity’ while running a photo ticker of happy marriage ceremonies, complete with Vietnamese conical hats and Ao Dai tunics, bouquets of flowers, smiles, and alcohol.
Several other sites, all with QR code logins and endless photos of women to scroll through, tantalize with the promise of love for China’s forgotten men.
“If you always get the cold shoulder or are rejected, then we welcome you to come to Vietnam… and enjoy a different matchmaking experience,” reads the blurb on one.
Thousands of vulnerable women and girls from northern Myanmar are being trafficked to China and forced to marry, a study said Friday, offering a rare look at an issue that grips the conflict-hit borderlands.
China has around 33 million fewer women than men due to the decades-long one-child policy.
To plug the gap, tens of thousands of poor women from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are sold as brides each year, some going willingly, while others are tricked or trafficked.
In the first research of its kind, a report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated 7,500 women from war-torn Kachin and northern Shan states have fallen victim to forced marriage in China.
Based on interviews with scores of people who escaped and returned to Myanmar, and others still inside China, the study found that the majority of those trafficked were also forced to carry a child for their husband.
Women leave Myanmar because of “conflict, displacement and poverty” said report author W. Courtland Robinson, while “the male-female sex imbalance in China, especially in rural areas” means demand for a wife is high.
One woman told researchers that she was trafficked into China three times, and each time “pushed into giving birth”, said Moon Nay Li of Kachin Women’s Association Thailand, who led the field research in Kachin and Shan states.
“Because of political instability, conflict and land confiscation… security for women is a big challenge,” she said.
Marriages are often arranged and brokered by the women’s own families and village elders, with brides-to-be unable to refuse as they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
The youngest women command higher prices of up to $10,000-15,000.
Their matches in China are typically to older, sick, or disabled men in rural areas — people considered undesirable to the Han Chinese — while the women’s lack of documentation plunges them into a legal limbo.
The study found that women were often “hired” to bear children for their husbands and then forced out or sold on to new husbands to recoup money.
Some women have successful marriages and the issue of consent is complex and varies case-by-case, Robinson said.
But all unions should be entered into without “threat, menace or penalty”, he added.
Often daughters “can’t say no to their parents”, said Moon Nay Li, and feel compelled to go ahead with the marriage once “traffickers and agents have given money to their parents”.
Researchers called for Myanmar to end the conflict in Kachin and Shan states, which has displaced tens of thousands of women, and to train anti-trafficking officials to enforce the law and recognise the women as victims.
It was jubilation galore at Ile-Ife, Osun State on Thursday, as Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, received his new wife at the palace, a day after he marked his 44th birthday.
This was confirmed in a statement issued by the Director, Media and Public Affairs of the palace, Comrade Moses Olafare.
According to the spokesperson, the marriage rights were done privately in Akure, Ondo State and she was later received at the Ooni’s palace.
“Her Majesty, Olori Moronke Naomi Silekunola Ogunwusi is the new Yeyeluwa Oodua.
“Necessary rites fully performed,” the statement read.
The monarch also took to social media on Thursday to express his joy.
He wrote, “I waited patiently upon the Almighty the King of kings, he eventually did it in the midst of many trials.
“Shilekunola, Moronke, Naomi; the greatest Arsenal you can apply on this highly revered throne with many rules and regulations in the midst of undiluted tradition, heritage and culture is the “Fear of God In You”.
“It is the beginning of your wisdom on this throne of Oduduwa. You are welcome home my beautiful and adorable queen”.
For many youths today who are considering taking the sacred “journey to forever” called marriage, Nigerian writer and philanthropist, Betty Irabor has outlined some tips which she believes are a necessity in order to make a success out of it.
She shared the advice via social media as she and her husband, Media Icon, Soni Irabor, celebrated their 34th year together.
According to her, some of the major requirements are sacrifice, hard work, patience, trust and a solid foundation.
See how she puts it.
“What Soni and I have, has taken all of 34 years to build… So don’t for one minute think it happened overnight.
“We have walked on that street called hope but having each other makes it bearable. It requires sacrifice & it takes effort & nurturing. You want a good marriage? Work at it!
“Young couples seem to just want everything NOW NOW because they have to prove a point and impress their audience and in the process put a lot of pressure on their marriage. A good Marriage takes 2. It thrives on love in action not in mere words. Marriage requires commitment, empathy, TRUST (leave each other’s phones ALONE) don’t marry anyone you cannot trust!.
“Don’t overburden each other with over expectations and believe me the grass is not greener on the other side; avoid comparing your marriage/partner to others that seem rosier; water your own garden!
“In life, everything is turn by turn. Ojukokoro is a vice that destroys relationships! If you both can’t afford it then you don’t need it. Let you marriage grow organically. Do everything in love..don’t overburden each other with unrealistic demands.
“Marriage won’t necessarily fix a bad relationship especially if your partner has habits that he/she won’t let go. Fix those issues before you say I DO! If he or she is violent and slaps you around now, marriage won’t fix that, if he is insecure because you are a boss woman, that insecurity may linger and lead to resentment with time.”
Mrs Irabor went further to advise that one should not be pressurised into getting married; either by family or society in general or simply because other friends are.
“Be careful who you marry…don’t set yourself up because “all your friends are getting married… That’s a trap! Don’t over try to change your partner into who they are not; marriage isn’t about changing your partner’s essence rather it is about finding the good in each other. Celebrate each bite size milestone. A successful marriage starts from the foundation. If the foundation is not built on CHRIST how can it withstand the storms?
“To my young daughters and sons out there I say, don’t despise the days of humble beginnings &don’t allow anyone or society force u into a marriage you’re not ready for. If you marry in haste you will repent at leisure… As for me, I believe marriage rocks, but get ready to work it,” she wrote.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit seeking a declaration that the Federal Ministry of Interior does not have the power to solemnise and register marriages.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to rather declare that it is Local Government Areas that have the exclusive right to conduct and register marriages.
The suit was filed before Justice Chuka Obiozor by four local government areas – Egor Local Government Area of Edo State; Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State; Owerri Municipal Local Government Area of Imo State and Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The LGAs, through their lawyer, Mr Michael Roger, are contending that by virtue of Section 1(5) Paragraph 1(i) of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal Ministry of Interior, an agency of the Federal Government, has no business registering marriages as it currently does.
Roger had exhibited before Justice Obiozor an earlier judgment by Justice Oyindamola Olomojobi of the Federal High Court, wherein the court declared that only local government areas have the power to register marriages by virtue of Section 30(1) of the Marriage Act and Section 7(5) of the 1999 Constitution.
However, in the said judgment delivered on June 8, 2002, Justice Olomojobi clarified that other lawful authorities could “celebrate or contract marriages.”
Justice Olomojobi had held, “Lawful bodies or authorities, which can celebrate or contract marriages for intending persons, who are desirous of getting married as husbands and wives, are; 1. Registrars in places designated as an office 2. Recognised ministers of religion in a licenced place of worship 3. Marriages contracted under the licence granted by the Director-General, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Director-General of a state government in charge of marriages; any officer in the afore-stated ministries and of course, the Minister of Internal Affairs.”
Relying on Justice Olomojobi’s judgment, the LGAs are urging Justice Obiozor to declare that the Federal Minster of Interior has no power to register marriages. Joined as respondents in the suit are the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the AGF, Malami.
In response to the suit, the AGF filed a preliminary objection, wherein he urged Justice Obiozor to dismiss the plaintiffs’ suit for being an abuse of court processes.
The AGF argued that the issue raised by the plaintiffs had already been settled by the judgment delivered on June 8, 2002, by Justice Olomojobi. In a five-paragraph affidavit, a lawyer from the AGF’s chamber, Lawrence Ilop, said Justice Olomojobi “has settled, once and for all, the question of who can contract marriages and did not vest that right solely in the Local Government Councils.” Ilop added, “The marriage registries, as contemplated in the Marriage Act, are designated places of celebration of marriages and not strictly for keeping registers of marriages as being erroneously averred by the applicants.” He urged Justice Obiozor to dismiss the suit because, according to him, the plaintiffs were forum shopping and abusing the processes of court.
Justice Obiozor adjourned hearing in the case till June 8.
Meanwhile, the plaintiffs have alleged a misinterpretation of the May 15, 2017 judgment of Justice I.O. Harrison of the Lagos State High Court, saying the judge did not declare LGA marriage certificate illegal.
In the said judgment, Justice Harrison declined the prayer to perpetually restrain the Registered Trustees of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria and their agents “from further issuing the Local Government Unified Marriage Certificate.” Rather, the judge held that “…all marriages conducted by the 1st and 2nddefendants (Ikeja LGA and ALGON) are lawful in which modified certificates are issued and deemed as being good valid in law.”
Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Catherine (Kate), Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, got married in a small English country church on Saturday surrounded by royals and celebrities but those hoping for a dash of Hollywood were left in the cold.
The event had been at risk of being overshadowed by the most high-profile appearance yet of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle. But the U.S. actress failed to appear before cameras.
Three-year-old Prince George, third in line to the throne after grandfather Charles and father William, took a starring role with his younger sister, Prince Charlotte, as attendants to the bride.
Middleton, 33, who married financier James Matthews, wore an elegant white lace gown with a cut-out in the back and a full long skirt.
She arrived in an open-top car accompanied by her father, smiling broadly and waving to crowds gathered near St. Mark’s church in Englefield, about 50 miles west of London.
Matthews sported a three-piece morning suit with a pale waistcoat and tails.
Prince William walked up to the church accompanied by younger brother Prince Harry.
Celebrity guests included 18-times grand slam tennis champion Roger Federer and the fashion editor of British Vogue magazine.
Security was tight amid a media frenzy in which #PippasWedding was trending on social media but guests were forbidden from sharing pictures there.
Weeks ago, the internet went agog as news of a supposed engagement of social media comedian, Woli Arole, to an unidentified woman began to trend.
The news followed the release of pictures of the comedian seen loving up with the same lady which many blogs inevitably tagged as pre-wedding pictures.
The Instagram sensation has now spoken up on the matter, stating that the pictures were from a recent modelling gig. He, however, added that he has been inspired by the reactions to create a marriage focused series.
According to him, even his family members started calling frantically over the news but he had to explain to them that it was only a photoshoot for a clothing brand.
Speaking further on the idea of the marriage focused series, titled ‘Taken’, Arole explained that it a project he strongly believes would address a lot of issues concerning dysfunctions in marriage, which he identified as a growing trend especially in Nigeria.
“We have realised that most people get married for the wrong reasons – This project will solve a lot of questions, and I am sure after people watch this, you will have a rethink before you get married.”