Michael Ilesanmi and Angela Deem have always seemed like an odd match—due to their cultural differences, age gap, and constant fighting—to some 90 Day Fiancé fans. But, in a new sneak peek of an upcoming episode of TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After, 54-year-old Angela and 31-year-old Michael opened up about what made them so drawn to each other.
At a marriage counseling session in Nigeria in advance of their upcoming wedding in Michael’s home country, Angela revealed details about her past relationships that made her appreciate Michael all the more. Of course, Michael and Angela also differed when it came to their feelings about who should hold the cards in a marriage.
Michael and Angela had to attend counseling in order to get married in Nigeria
On their way to their marriage counseling session, Michael explained to his bride-to-be that getting approval from counselors at the marriage registry was a key step before they would be able to have a wedding in Nigeria.
Angela didn’t quite understand why they had to go to therapy just to get married.
“This is a waste of damn time,” the 90 Day Fiancé star told her younger fiancé. “Nobody can counsel us. Hell, we can’t even counsel ourselves.”
Michael requested that Angela stay calm and stop her temper from flaring during their counseling session and interview.
“Try not to get upset, mad, in the presence of them,” he warned her.
“Well, you try not to say s*it that’s gonna make me mad,” Angela retorted.
When the couple arrived, the marriage counselors, Adeyemi and Grace, explained that they would be deciding whether Angela and Michael were legally eligible to tie the knot, based on their compatibility and shared values.
Grace told 90 Day Fiancé producers that they had to make sure the couple had “aligned their purpose for marriage.”
“We will see if they met the criteria for marriage in Nigeria under the law,” she explained.
Angela shared that she was first married when she was just 17 years old
The counseling session began with Michael and Angela talking about how they’d met. Michael’s face lit up as he described how drawn he had been to Angela’s profile on social media.
Next, Grace asked Angela about her first marriage, many decades earlier.
In a rare vulnerable moment, the 90 Day Fiancé star told the counselors that Michael was nothing like her first husband, whom she described as often harsh and uncaring. Angela revealed that she was only 17 when she first got married in Georgia, and she divorced her ex just three years later.
“I definitely see love and compassion from him that I didn’t get from my husband,” Angela said of Michael, looking at him adoringly.
Angela seemed to allude to hurt that her ex-husband had caused her when she shared that she had never felt her love was reciprocated.
“It was my first love, I think,” the 90 Day Fiancé star told the counselors thoughtfully, “and then I found out that that’s not love from his side.”
The 54-year-old told 90 Day Fiancé producers that she was determined to be fully herself with Michael, because she didn’t want to “settle” at this point in her life—especially after having toxic relationships early on.
“In past relationships, I might have tolerated this one, that one,” Angela admitted. “But from the beginning, with Michael, I’ve been honest with him. Bossy, yes. Controlling, maybe. I want him to know who I am, because I’m not settling for less.”
Grace also wanted to know if Angela considered Michael “the one” and her soulmate. “So this is the love of your life?” she asked her.
Smiling widely, Angela took Michael’s hand and responded simply, “He’d better be.”
The couple’s counselors argued that Angela should be submissive to Michael in marriage
After agreeing to a monogamous, rather than polygamous, marriage to Michael, Angela began to push back against the counselors’ suggestion that she be “submissive” to her husband to keep him happy.
Grace encouraged Angela to satisfy Michael sexually so his eyes wouldn’t wander. She also advised the 90 Day Fiancé star to be a good homemaker.
“Make him happy,” Grace told Angela. “When he comes back, the food is ready. Total submission.”
Angela was respectful, but skeptical, when it came time for her to answer. Although the 90 Day Fiancé star assured Michael that she would treat him well, she made it clear that she didn’t agree with traditional gender roles and power dynamics.
“He’s got to understand where I come from, too,” Angela said. “And I am not a Nigerian woman. When I say that, I say that with all due respect, but there will be nobody over me…Of course I’m gonna want to make him happy, but I will treat you like I would treat myself.”
Michael and Angela were approved for marriage in Nigeria
Michael’s bride-to-be was a little more blunt with 90 Day Fiancé producers than she was with her counselors about how she ultimately felt about Nigerian gender roles.
“You know, I hear that so much when I’m in Nigeria that I just [nod] like this,” she said, “but in my mind, I’m going, ‘f*ck no.’”
Meanwhile, Grace told producers that she felt Angela should learn to be more submissive to Michael if she wanted to make her marriage work.
“All men has ego,” she asserted. “They want to be on top. If you’re not read for a man to be on top, your marriage will not work.”
Despite their disagreements with Angela on certain matters, Adeyemi and Grace approved the couple for marriage in Nigeria. They wished them a happy married life and sent them on their way.
While she was relieved to get through the interview with the approval of the marriage registry, Angela insisted that she was “an American woman” through and through at heart and wouldn’t change her ways. She added ominously that she didn’t expect Michael to marry her if he wanted her to do so.