STIRRING IT UP: Coffee entrepreneur Rohan Marley with ex Lauryn Hill
SINCE THE controversial break-up of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley in 2011, much has been said about why the couple’s relationship didn’t work out. And very often, it was Marley who seemed to cop all the flack.
While the pair were together, rumours emerged that Marley – the son of reggae legend Bob Marley – impregnated another woman; it was alleged that he was the cause of Hill’s well-documented seclusion from public life; and he was slammed for abandoning the Ex-Factor hitmaker whilst she was pregnant – though it later emerged he was not the father of Hill’s unborn child.
Hearing Marley’s version of events evokes a very different impression of the 40-year-old.
In fact, after a thoroughly enjoyable interview with the businessman, it was hard not to feel that he’d received a totally unfair bashing from many a blogger, who’d simply chosen to make him the enemy in the highly publicized Hill vs. Marley saga. Thankfully, Marley is thick-skinned.
DOING WELL: Rohan Marley
“Those type of people prefer to promote negativity than anything positive, so I really don’t care what they say about me,” says Marley, who is now engaged to Brazilian supermodel Isabeli Fontana. “It’s only when the person in question [Hill] says anything about me that I really care. Other people just speculate. They don’t really know the truth.”
Giving his version of events – though clearly keen not to bash Hill, with whom he has five children – Marley, the co-founder of coffee company Marley Coffee, says he simply wasn’t willing to accept the involvement of a “third party” in their relationship.
“People have long been fabricating stories about the relationship. One story that came out was that I got her assistant pregnant – false. Then, she [Hill] started doing Bible studies with this guy and she became very secluded from the world because of her studies. But people said that her seclusion was my fault and that wasn’t the case."
“I didn’t agree with what the [Bible studies] guy was saying, and you can’t live under the same roof [as your partner] if she’s taking talk from someone else."
He continues: “Like my father said, ‘I’d rather live on the house top than live in a house of confusion.’ That was it. I believe that when I’m with a woman, it should be me and her. Don’t bring a third party into it – that can’t work for me. No-one knows what we do in the bedroom, no-one knows why we argued today or why we smiled today."
“Nobody knows the ins and outs of another person’s relationship so I don’t want any third party in my relationship. Ultimately, we grew apart because of our different interpretations of how life should be.”
Marley also says that he and Hill – who were together for over 10 years and were often referred to as husband and wife – never actually tied the knot, because, according to him, Hill never wanted to take that step.
“When I was with Lauryn, I wanted to marry her but she just wasn’t ready at the time. I want to be in a relationship where we’re both confident about what we have; I love you and you love me too. But [marriage] wasn’t what she wanted. I called her my queen; my spiritual wife. So people assumed we were married.”
Still, Marley says there’s no bad blood between him and Hill.
“I could never have ill-feeling towards her. She’s the mother of my children. There’s no animosity, but I’ve moved on. I’m with someone else now and I’m very happy.”
ONE LOVE: Rohan Marley and fiance Isabeli Fontana
Happy in love and happy in business, Marley is enthusiastic about his company Marley Coffee; a gourmet coffee company co-founded by Marley and his friend Shane Whittle, which recently launched in the UK.
From the Marley's Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee farm, to partner farms in Africa, Central America and other top coffee-growing regions worldwide, Marley Coffee strives to support communities and the environment through organic, sustainable and ethical practices.
“This project allows me to do something other than sit back and just be Bob’s son,” Marley laughs. “My goal is now to have more farms and really turn Jamaica into an organic movement."
“Also, I want to be able to help and empower people, so my farmers are able to have shares in the company, so they’re able to be a part of the company they work for. I got that concept from the teachings of Marcus Garvey. I also learned from my father the importance of creating a sustainable movement.”
With Marley first making the tentative steps of getting the company off the ground in 1999, is he not fed up of the sight, smell and taste of coffee now?
He laughs: “I could never get fed up of coffee because there are so many varieties. Every cup of coffee is a different experience. Everywhere I go, I try a different cup of coffee. But I’m no coffee expert! I’m learning every day.”