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On July 17, 2011, Toni Payne-Akande sent out a subliminal wedding anniversary shout out to her estranged hubby 9ice on Twitter.The message could not have been for 9ice who has been off the micro blogging site for sometime; but, for the discerning ones among Toni’s nearly 15,000 followers. ‘July 17, 2011…‘ she first wrote through her handle.

Then she adds ‘More important than love is true friendship. This alone can withstand all the ups and downs and still keep us standing. 3 yrs… God is GREAT!‘.

For those who don’t know, 9ice exchanged wedding vows with Toni on July 17, 2008 at the Surulere registry in Lagos. It was a hush hush wedding, planned in a hurry, and with only very few guests in attendance.

The bride was already heavily pregnant. The groom’s parents we conspicuously absent at the registry. The media celebrated their union; many were fascinated by their love story.

To the casual eyes, the marriage seemed made in heaven. But those who spent time with the pair feared the marriage was a union of convenience and it was only a matter of time before the centre would fall.

And things did fall apart in 2010 when the couple announced their separation. By January 8 when they issued the statement, they had already been living apart for months; and 9ice was already allegedly dating again.

It’s difficult to say exactly what caused the collapse of this union we all so admired. Because, the stories vary, depending on who you are and who you’re listening to.

Toni’s loyalists claim he beat her up and kicked her out, after she confronted him about affairs he was allegedly having. 9ice’s buddies insist Toni was troublesome and violent and totally impossible.

They also allege, that 9ice decided to take a walk, after he realized his wife and his friend Ruggedman had actually dated prior to him meeting Toni through Ruggedman (Toni and Ruggedman continue to deny this and no one has come out with any evidence to prove them wrong). The controversies that followed their separation are well documented; the relationships it destroyed remain in memory.

And now, there’s a whole new angle, as those close to the couple would want us to believe; as Toni’s Tweets suggest, and as our investigations reveal.

The pair is, as a matter of fact, considering reconciliation, trying for the umpteenth time, to see if they can save their marriage. The wedding anniversary tweet from Toni is one of many she’s written in recent times, suggesting she’s found some love for 9ice again.

She freely mentions him in her tweets, and promotes his appearances. On July 20 she wrote ‘Tune in to Rhythm 93.7, 9ice in the building‘.
And away from social media, we’re told they’ve met a couple of times, and, apart from their son Zion, one other key issue they’re speaking about is the possibility of ‘shaming intruders’ and getting back together as husband and wife. We’re unable to confirm for now, who’s initiating the talks, or whether they’ve actually reached an agreement.

‘It’s complicated‘, one of 9ice’s closest friends tells us. ‘You know 9ice has his twins in Abuja, he’s really keen to move on; but also, I think he may be confused because you really don’t know what tomorrow holds. Yes he and Toni have been seeing, but I can’t say for sure whether she’s moving back in or if 9ice is even considering that.‘

Another source tells us ‘They’re no longer fighting. Even when all the twins’ drama was on, Toni was determined not to let anything let her go wild again. She’s fond of 9ice, and in spite of what has happened, she’s talking to him about their future together. 9ice, whose star has dimmed in recent times, currently spends time between Lagos and Abuja, plotting a big comeback and working to get a university degree.

Toni, who lived in the US for years, has remained in Nigeria; living in Surulere with family. And she’s doing even better, business wise, than when she was with 9ice. She’s worked with W4, Adol, Olamide and Zara to give us some of the most impressive songs of 2010/2011.

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