‘Let everyone shape their own relationship’

Image: Mark Groeneveld

Comedian Steven Brunswijk and his wife Ayla have been together for a while and are still deeply in love. “I’m just beyond excited to experience fun things with Ayla.”

“How quiet, huh?” Ayla and Steven say to each other when they get home from their daily morning workout. The house is quieter than they are used to. Daughter Naleya walked for the first time today – screaming! – to school. In addition, Ayla’s grandfather only recently died – he lived the last months of his life in the garden shed of their Tilburg home.

As Ayla changes, Steven says, “Grandpa was 94, he had cancer all over his body. He could barely walk the last few weeks. Ayla looked after him day and night as long as she could. He eventually got 24 hour care . Grandpa didn’t want to and couldn’t anymore, he stopped eating.” Ayla: “He walked in his sleep, I held his hand. I’m glad he’s at peace now, even though we miss him terribly.’

wedding party

Luckily, Grandpa was still at their wedding last summer; after eight years the couple married. Not Steven’s plan, by the way. “Marriage doesn’t run in my family. My parents were together for 43 years but never married. I want to spend the rest of my life with Ayla, whether it’s under a bridge or in an apartment, with or without a note . I’m getting married because she wants it, if it’s not love? But it was great, we even decided to do it every year – others go on holiday, we have a wedding.”

“Steven: ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with Ayla, with or without a note'”

Ayla: “We want to grow old together and I like that our love is now sealed with this extra stamp. Some people say you just got married and are already cheating on each other. For us who have a different meaning, we are faithful by always being honest and open with each other.”

Dutch celebrity interview Steven Brunswijk

media storm

Ayla is referring to the media uproar after Steven, and as it turns out, Ayla was seen kissing someone else during Pride Amsterdam.

Steven: “The media storm really surprises me. Look at what’s happening in the world: war in Ukraine, the nitrogen problem, the gas crisis… and then the coffee machine is about Steven Brunswijk kissing another woman? I was ashamed of Holland. What are people worried about? It was during Pride, the party of open-minded people.” Ayla: “It’s obviously not ‘normal’ to have an open relationship where you discuss everything. People find it interesting, how does it work, how do they do it?”

Dutch celebrity interview Steven Brunswijk

Open relationship

While Ayla and Steven have no need to openly discuss all the ins and outs of their love lives, Ayla felt she had to respond. “Steven was portrayed as a cheat when he is the most honest man ever. I just wanted to make it clear that we have a more than great relationship; It doesn’t bother me anymore, I know what it’s like. Our relationship is so strong that it is possible to let each other be so free. It’s not a filler, we don’t miss anything in each other.’

“Steven: ‘Discuss things together, there are so many different forms. And above all, let everyone shape their own relationship.’

Dutch celebrity interview Steven Brunswijk

Steven: “We don’t need others, life just has so much to offer.” He jokes, “God said, ‘Go shape yourself,’ never, ‘Go shape yourself… with one!’ If people want to be in straitjackets, you’re welcome, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a rut after sixty years. Discuss things together, there are so many different forms. And above all, let everyone shape their own relationship. Ayla recently lost her grandfather, me my mother, we enjoy each other, tomorrow it could be over. I don’t have time for that nonsense’.

“Ayla: ‘When the children are a little older, we will explain that you must always be honest and open with each other'”

How do the kids handle it? They are still too young to discuss their relationship, says Ayla. “Even the elders know about it. She just said, ‘I think kissing is dirty,’ haha. When they are a little older, we will explain that you must always be honest and open with each other. Not only in a relationship, but also towards the people around you.”

Also read – Lianne and her husband have an open marriage: ‘But we stay together no matter what’ >

Love at first sight

When he met Ayla nineteen years ago, it was love at first sight for Steven. But for Ayla? Not really. “And that’s putting it mildly!” laughs Steven. “She made me wait ten years. Ten! That’s a bit excessive, isn’t it?”

Ayla explains: “I had to walk on my face a few times to see how great he was. I fell for wrong, dishonest types who cheat. After ten years I knew: I don’t want this anymore. First then I saw how nice and sweet he was. That’s when I got goosebumps. I also wanted a nice, honest husband and father to my children.”

But it wasn’t that easy. At the time, Steven was with his first daughter’s mother, JJ. Ayla: “I know what it’s like when your husband cheats, I didn’t want to interfere, so I kept my distance. Steven made the decision himself and moved in with his father in the attic. From there we started dating and living together.”

The three of us

Ayla didn’t mind JJ staying with them half the time at all. “I was and still am very happy with JJ – she feels like my own daughter, because I have half-raised her almost from the beginning. I really liked that Steven’s ex allowed it. The three of us have really good contact, we really do it together.”

“Steven: ‘If my ex has car trouble, I’ll fix it. We bond better than ever'”

Steven: “My mother-in-law recently said: you have two wives, you support your ex and your own wife, the only difference is you have sex with one and not the other. If my ex has car trouble, I fix it .We have a better bond than ever. Thanks to my mom. She insisted that I always be there for my child’s mom. If you don’t help her, you’re also shortchanging your own daughter. A wise lesson and made possible by Ayla, who encourages this. My ex couldn’t have asked for a better bonus mom.”

Dutch celebrity interview Steven Brunswijk


Soon the family was expanded with son Èvan and daughter Naleya. Steven: “Ayla is a great mom, as much patience as that woman has! After twenty ‘put your shoes on’ she still doesn’t get angry. She always stays calm, organizes everything. At Ayla’s grandfather’s funeral, she was already there earlier, I wanted to come later with the kids. Later… but not twenty minutes late. My daughter had lost a shoe, my son insisted on other shoes, then he was hungry, she had to go to the bathroom. How Ayla does it every morning , I like it. Ayla is a well-oiled machine that just keeps going, and I’m a creaking old-timer that sometimes breaks down by the side of the road.”

“Ayla: ‘I always enjoyed all the live entertainment with Grandpa'”

“That’s not quite right,” interrupts Ayla, “because no matter how tired you come back from work, you always have energy to play football or play games in the garden. I always enjoyed all the live entertainment with Grandpa.” Steven: “I like to invent new games, or bully kids, I like that too – my own kids. I play hard with my son; too hard according to Ayla. But he really likes it. Sometimes he hits me out of the blue: ‘You got it!’ Don’t you laugh?”

The full article is in Kek Mama 11-2022.

Dutch celebrity interview Steven Brunswijk

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