Manchester United defender Eric Bailly wedded longtime girlfriend Vanessa Troupah in June 2016, days after completing a four-year deal worth £30 million to Old Trafford.
Despite the quiet and low-key nature of the marriage, some curious local journalists were able to divulge the identity and social status of the lucky bride. But the only resounding information on her was that she used to run a roadside mobile phone kiosk.
What on earth could link an English Premier League professional to a local Ivorian girl who made less than $3 per day from her phone business? That was the gossip in town after the couple officially celebrated their love.
In response, the young woman made a simple comment, saying she would talk when time is due.
Early this week, Mrs Bailly opened up and revealed heart-touching secrets about her relationship with the former Villarreal centre-back who is currently out of action due to injury.
“I met Eric when I was running a roadside mobile phone kiosk in Abidjan,” she began.
“We did not meet on a plane, a bar or at a festival. He met me at my kiosk with the biscuits I was also selling there. He was a nobody then. He used to make calls at my kiosk on credit.
“Today he is an international footballer and a professional. I am not saying you have to run a mobile phone kiosk in order to meet your future husband.
“I only want to point out to young girls to find something doing, work hard, give advice and support to your man to help him succeed in life.”
Bailly, 23, did not play in the local topflight but he trained with a number of teams, moving from one district of the city to another in search of a contract, according to the player himself. And during these times, the lady at the phone kiosk was taking care of logistics.
“I used to pay his transport fares to and from training sessions. I had nothing much but I was sacrificing because I loved him and I wanted him to succeed. I was never going to imagine him playing at Old Trafford but I wanted him to play football and fulfill his dreams,” she said.
“What do we observe today? Our young girls dress up beautifully, waiting and counting on men for survival. Do you think you are better than girls like us who worked under the hot sun? You don’t want to struggle with a man. You want an already made husband who has everything, were you the one who helped him to get those things?
“When you depend on the pocket of a man he does whatever he likes with you and dumps you because you cannot contribute anything to his life. Please, learn to struggle with your man.
“I am not a role model but I strongly believe that such behaviour would not bring the man that you really need in your life.”
Bailly and the Elephants won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea just 19 days after he was called up to the team by French coach Herve Renard.