Tonto Charity Dikeh, commonly called Tonto Dikeh, is a Nigerian actress who is also popular by different monikers and nicknames. Some common names of the beautiful Tonto Dikeh are Poko, Tontolet, Mama King and King Tonto. She is also a singer, songwriter, reality tv star and humanitarian.
The actress has been appearing in movies since 2006 and has enjoyed a relatively successful career. Although recently she seems to have taken a break from acting as her last known film role was in the 2018 Celebrity Marriage. Nevertheless, Tonto Dikeh is a regular feature in celebrity gossip rags because she is very visible on social media, which she uses to promote both her personal, social, humanitarian and business endeavours.
Let us get to know more about the beautiful actress in the other sections of this article starting with 10 facts you should know about her.
10 facts you should now about Tonto Dikeh
- Tonto was born on 9th June 1985 so she is 34 going on 35 years old.
- She lost her mother at a very tender age and was raised by her stepmother along with seven other siblings.
- Tonto Dikeh studied petroleum engineering at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.
- The actress popularly called Tontolet became popular after finishing as a runnerup in the reality show The Next Movie Star. Immediately after, producers began casting her in various important movie roles.
- Tonto Dikeh got married in 2016 to Olakunle Churchill but the couple separated in 2017.
- She acted in a soft p--n movie titled Dirty Secrets and faced criticism for it.
- Tonto Dikeh has undergone major plastic surgeries for body enhancement.
- She allegedly has 58 different tattoos all over her body.
- Tonto Dikeh is the first Nigerian celebrity to earn N100 million as a brand ambassador for a makeup brand in Africa when she signed am endorsement deal with Zikel Cosmetics.
- She also released some hit songs during her music endeavour featuring popular artistes like Terry G, Solid Star and Dbanj. The later even signed her to his record label.
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Tonto Dikeh Biography: The early life of Tonto Dikeh
Tonto Dikeh was born on 9th June 1985 as the third child among five other children. She was a middle child born to a family from Obio-Akpor local government area in Rivers State. Tonto Charity Dikeh is of Ikwere descent. She lost her mother when she was only three years old.
Her step-mother raised her and her siblings along with her own two children. Contrary to the prevalent perception of step-mothers as monsters, Tonto maintains, even years later, that hers treated her well. However, she also remarks that losing her mother early affected her despite their family having ‘enough’ money.
Tonto Dikeh grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State where she attended both primary and secondary schools. On passing her West African Senior School Certificate, Tonto Dikeh proceeded to the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, where she studied petroleum engineering before switching to an acting career.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Acting Career
After she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering, Tonto Dikeh turned her attention to acting. She first burst on the national stage when in 2005, she contested in a reality show called “The Next Moie Star”. Like the theme already suggested, its aim was to raise the next generation of actors. Although Tonto Dikeh did not win the reality show, she emerged as a runner up. Her passion and talent were also evident and producers in the Nollywood industry were eager to work with her.
Immediately after the show, she went into acting professionally. Her most memorable first appearance as a lead character was likely in the film Holy Cross. In the movie, Tonto was handed a major role in an expensive movie starring then veterans like Pete Edochie and Jim Iyke. If there had been any doubt about her acting skills, it vanished after she more than did justice to her character.
From then on, she became a household name in the industry and among viewers. Tonto immediately became a much-chased after actress by producers looking to cast her in their movies.
Since this initial success, Tonto Dikeh has since appeared in major movies like Missing Rib, Games Fools Play, A Night With The King, Zara, Tea or Coffee, Total Love, Blackberry Babes, and many others. We provide a more extensive list of Tonto Dikeh movies in the concluding section of this article.
Tonto Dikeh in Dirty Secrets
Before the release of the movie Dirty Secrets, Tonto Dikeh was one of the ladies that appeared in roles portraying promiscuous characters in Nollywood’s conservatives industry. It seems her good figure and overall beautiful appearance make it easier to be cast in such roles.
However, in 2010, Tonto Dikeh starred in Dirty Secrets – a movie that immediately raised eyebrows. Dirty Secret was directed by Theodore Anyanji and produced by Kingsley Okereke. It was controversial because it featured themes that the target audience, Nigerians and other West African countries, have reservations about.
There were scenes alluding to incest, homosexuality and general depravity. It was a proper deviation from the general moral standards that were generally expected and desired from movies out of the Nigerian stables.
Many viewers called those who featured in the film degrading names. The backlash at the period it was released was so intense that one of the actors, Ajibola Dabo, in 2018, apologised for his role in the film.
But Tonto Dikeh rode the storms of criticism like a professional. And her performance in the movie was praised by the other wing of audience and critics able to separate acting from real life. After the movie, she gained more fans than she lost.
Tonto Dikeh Reality Show: King Tonto
Tonto Dikeh is the star of the reality show called King Tonto. The reality show airs on Linda Ikeji TV and it is a platform where the actress holds nothing back from the public. The first-ever episode of the show aired in June 2018 and the controversial Nollywood actress talked about her ex-husband Olakunle Churchill. Tonto mentioned that he had bought her a cheap ring worth less than $2,000.
She also called out some other people during the episode. As of now, there are 10 episodes of the first season available on the online platform. However, before the show officially launched, Tonto Dikeh was reported to have wanted to feature her son King-Andre Omodayo-Igo Churchill in the show. However, his father prevented this from happening after he filed a lawsuit in court, which he won. The court order restricts King-Andre from appearing on the show.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Music career
In 2011, Tonto Dikeh showed her singing and songwriting talent when she ventured into the music industry and thereby joining the select list of Nollywood actors who have at one time or another navigated acting and singing professionally. She released some singles in 2011 like Hi and Itz Ova, which featured Snypa. She also released her first studio album.
Furthermore, she featured Terry G on Crazically Fit in 2012 and Solid Star on Sheba in 2013. Later, D’banj signed Tonto Dikeh to his record label DB Records and the two artists collaborated on Sugar Rush in 2015. Tonto Dikeh would later leave the record label in March 2015. She has not been making much music since then.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Marriage and separation
Tonto Dikeh married for the first time in 2015. She married Olakunle Oladunni Churchill, who is a native of Lagos State and a nephew of Olusegun Obasanjo – a former president of Nigeria. Olakunle Churchill owns some companies like Big Church Entertainment and Big Churchill Haven Limited. He was once married before his marriage to Tonto.
According to Olakunle Churchill, they met at his brother’s birthday in 2014 and their relationship had blossomed quickly. However, Tonto Dikeh’s account was that they had met at a night club, but she did not say whether or not it was at her ex-husband brother’s birthday party. In any case, Tonto became pregnant three months after they met and they had a traditional wedding ceremony in 2016.
At the time, the actress was pregnant with their child. In February 2016, Tonto gave birth to her first child, a son named King-Andre Omodayo-Igo Churchill. However, not long after, the couple began experiencing troubles in their marriage.
Rumours began circulating about an eventual break up between Tonto and Churchill. Both of them came forward to confirm that the marriage was indeed unstable. However, they gave different versions of what was happening.
According to Tonto Dikeh, her husband was a wife batterer who beat her on several occasions. She even claimed he once beat so severely that she miscarried. Also, she accused him of cheating on her and giving her STDs. She said he loved her because she was rich and a popular celebrity that he could flaunt.
Also, in 2019, she claimed that her ex-hubby could not last longer than 40 seconds in bed. She said it was part of why she never suspected him that he could cheat:
“At the beginning of the relationship, I never suspected him of cheating because he has a sexual problem, a disease– it’s called premature ejaculation. He can’t stay inside a woman for more than 40 seconds. My son was the longest sex (we had)– one minute.”
However, Olakunle Churchill gave a different version when he told his story. He said that Tonto Dikeh was the abusive partner in their union. He even claimed that she had threatened to kill him on one occasion.
It is not clear who was right and who was wrong and predictably, fans are also divided on the issue. What was clear was that the marriage was not working and it was no surprise when the couple finally called it a day on the union and separated in 2017. Tonto Dikeh has custody of the only child of the union.
Olakunle Churchill, however, got a court injunction that barred Tonto Dikeh from featuring King-Andre on her new reality show. While she had also pointed fingers at him for neglecting their child and not spending time with him, Olakunle Churchill said it was Tonto’s fault as she does not allow him to get close to their son.
Tonto Dikeh custody problems in 2019
In December 2019, the popular Nollywood actress had flown to Dubai to attend the One Africa Music Fest and BamTeddy’s wedding. However, while she was there, rumours had it that she was detained and charged for assaulting an officer. Getting wind of it, her now ex-husband, Olakunle Churchill, threatened to sue her for abandoning their child in Abuja with a nanny for up to five weeks.
Churchill also allegedly mentioned that Mama King was collecting upkeep money from him but not following court rules.
The actress is said escaped jail time because Paul O., the CEO of One Africa Global, allegedly paid a fine on her behalf. Also, it is rumoured that she got her passport back but may not be travelling back any time until certain conditions the authorities set are met.
Tonto Dikeh’s faith
Another interesting aspect of Tonto’s life is her Christain belief. She is openly a practicer of her faith and most of her posts on Instagram are filled with Bible quotations and references to the Christian holy book.
Tontolet claims she was born again before going into the entertainment industry. Speaking on a Channels TV programme in 2015, she said:
“I have always been a very good Christian, I would say that I [backslid], but I have come back to Christ and I have immersed myself in Him again, I can now say I’m born again.
“It doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy my life, I cannot be the entertainer that I want to be, but I now live a good Christian life, but I have always had a Christian orientation.”
She also claims to go to church regularly and uses her fame to preach to people.
In 2017, she made a post reaffirming her faith on Instagram, writing:
“I am a proud born again Christian. Christianity isn’t religion to me it’s a way of Living. Am soaked in God’s strength. No weapon formed fashioned against me or my son or my workers can/shall prosper, In Jesus Name Amen.
“Even when the devil tries he knows he already lost with TONTO. The day I gave my life to God the kingdom of darkness new that trouble awaits them, the kingdom of God took their best player. Never trade the presence of God for anything.. #MAMAKING #KINGTONTO#Papi? #celeratingmyhappiness#protectingmyhappiness #RADICAL4JESUS”.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Plastic surgery
Not one to shy away from the camera, King Tonto reality show episode 9 revealed that the actress has undergone cosmetic surgery procedures. And she also posted it on Instagram on 2nd January 2018. Her words:
“HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MY SURGEON AND HIS CREW. Wish you all a great and fulfilled new year, Thanks for all you do for humanity…Thanks for letting God use you in my life as a great source of joy!! For the first time, I took my time to appreciate my new body (Damn too sexy by the way), I cried, I leaped with joy and all I can say is am so ready to conquer the world with my new found confidence…Thank you so much Dr. Ayo @grandvillemedlaser and thanks to all the pretty nurses & doctors (recovery center). Super thanks to my executive producer. You are awesome honey, Love you so much, Mama. Thanks
In November 2018, she also went under the knife again for more body enhancement. In an interview with BBC Pidgin in August 2019, she mentioned that the surgery gave her a curvier body, which increased her self esteem.
Tonto Dikeh’s Tattoos
Actress Tonto Dikeh loves tattoos and spots quite some number. And she keeps getting more. Once she was quoted as saying she has 58 tattoos and confesses that she loves them all.
Some people have sprung different theories about the meanings of her tattoos. Some went as far as saying the tattoos on her back showed some connection to the devil.
She, however, says that they are all nothing but her expressions of herself.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Tonto Dikeh’s humanitarian efforts
There is more to the beautiful actress than showbiz and celebrity glamour. She started an organisation called the Tonto Dikeh Foundation. Its aim is to give women aid and support them in their fight against injustice and domestic abuse. Also, she assisted Benue flood victims in September 2017 by donations.
In May 2018, she donated food materials and other relief materials including sanitary pads to inmates during a goodwill visit to Suleja Prisons in Niger State. Also, she gave them a total cash gift of N300,000. During that visit, she paid the bail of an inmate who had been behind bars because he couldn’t afford the bail.
There are also cases where the actress gives aid to students struggling to meet financial ends via her foundation. She also rendered help to one of her Nollywood colleagues, Halima Abubakar, who at one time underwent some serious health issues.
For her community efforts, the beautiful actress, who is a mother of one child, received a Humanitarian Peace Ambassador Award at the 2018 Edition of the annual Niger-Delta Peace for Development Youth Summit/ Niger Delta Ambassador Awards held at Presidential Hotel in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Tonto Dikeh Biography: Tonto Dikeh and Bobrisky
One aspect of Tonto that might baffle conservative Nigerians is her whole-souled acceptance of controversial crossdresser, Idris Okunneye, popularly known as Bobrisky.
Both of them appear to have a very strong friendship going on between them with some people wringing up theories that they may be in some sort of romantic relationship. Bobrisky has professed love for the actress on several occasions. In one post, Bobrisky referred to Tonto Dikeh as “My, love, my everything, my sugar, my heartbeat, … area friend, my mother, my family …”
And in another post stated that he “can kill for Tonto Dikeh”.
Tonto Dikeh called Bobrisy a good pal during her interview with BBC Pidgin.
Bobrisky and Tonto Dikeh also often attend events together as well as meeting regularly at their homes, although Bobrisky lives in Lagos while Tonto Dikeh lives in Abuja. But those two are not letting distance come between their friendship. However, the duo has not been seen in public as often as before, which Tonto Dikeh said was because the cross-dresser has business engagements.
What is Tonto Dikeh’s net worth?
Despite not having appeared in movies in recent times, Tonto Dikeh also called Mama King, remains one of the richest Nigerian actresses. As of 2019, she is estimated to be worth at least $1 million. Her wealth does not come from only acting movies alone. While casting Tonto Dikeh in a movie will cost you money, she also has other money yielding ventures.
She is also a brand influencer and on 23rd May 2019, she signed a deal with Zikel Cosmetics that is allegedly worth N100 million. This made her the first Nigerian celebrity to earn that kind of money as an ambassador for a makeup brand in Africa.
In 2019, she bought herself a Bentley and showed it off on her Instagram page. With the price of Bentleys in the market, one could say that Tonto Dikeh certainly belongs in the big girls’ league.
Tonto Dikeh Instagram
It will be difficult to impersonate one as popular as Tontolet, Mama King, Poko. This is because she is always using her social media page. However, to avoid any mix-up, her official Instagram page is Tonto Dikeh: KING-Tonto Dikeh (@tontolet). If in doubt, look out for the blue verified tick to be sure you’re on her page.
Final thoughts …
Whether you call her by her real name, Tonto Charity Dikeh, or you prefer to use the different nicknames, one thing is clear, Tontolet is not average. She has shown time and again that she can rise above whatever was thrown at her. Despite having a seemingly smooth run in the Nollywood industry, her personal life has not been easy. Yet, she looks stronger every day.
Furthermore, the actress uses her influence to speak out for the oppressed. She also regularly gives back to the community via her foundation, which is very commendable.
We will love to see her back in movies as well (or even back to singing). When in her natural setting (on a movie set), Mama King thrills us the most.
Bonus information about Tonto Dikeh
Tonto Dikeh selected filmography
- Tea or Coffee (2006)
- Pounds and Dollars (2006)
- Missing Rib (2007)
- Final Hour (2007)
- Divine Grace (2007)
- 7 Graves (2007)
- Crisis in Paradise (2007)
- Insecurity (2007)
- Away Match (2007)
- Games Fools Play (2007)
- The Plain Truth (2008)
- Love my Way (2008)
- Before the Fall (2008)
- Total Love (2008)
- Strength to Strength (2008)
- Missing Child (2009)
- Native Son (2009)
- Dangerous Beauty (2009)
- My Fantasy (2010)
- Zara (2010)
- Dirty Secret (2010)
- Last Mission (2010)
- Blackberry Babes Re-loaded (2012)
- Secret Mission (2012)
- Rush Hour (2012)
- Fatal Mistake (2012)
- Family Disgrace (2012)
- Miss Maradonna (2012)
- Mortal Desire (2012)
- Criminal Widow 1 (2012)
- Criminal Widow 2 (2013)
- Then Terror of a Widow 1 (2013)
- Then Terror of a Widow 2 (2013)
- Battle of the Queens (2014)
- Throne of War (2014)
- Celebrity Marriage (2018)