In the fast-moving, ephemeral world of TV where faces come and go, her face is among the unforgettable. The sassy Betty Kyalo is like that nice smelling rose flower whose scent lingers after she’s left the screen.
Watching her on TV, it is easy to note that she is not only good at her job, but she is also graceful and has that girl next-door demeanor that easily sucks one in. And you might think that you have figured her out and can comfortably squeeze her into a box, but that is far from the truth. Betty is an interesting mixture of fascinating contradictions.
From her success, one may assume that it has always been a smooth sailing journey for her. But far from it.
Betty Kyalo Biography
Betty Kyalo comes from a humble background; she grew up in Ongata Rongai and Kahawa West and was raised by her mum. Even though her parents were separated, her father was still present in her life.
“I am the second born in a family of four. I have an elder brother and two younger sisters,” she says.
Growing up, she idolised veteran TV anchor Catherine Kasavuli. From the moment she discovered her, a young Betty Kyalo knew she was also destined for television.“I originally wanted to be a nun because they looked so angelic and peaceful in church, but I guess television was more appealing,” she says with a cheeky smile.
“I wanted it so much, I would practice reading the news in front of the mirror and I would read it out loud,” the bubbly presenter who attended Olerai Primary and Uhuru Gardens Primary schools recalls.
While attending Kangundo Girls High School, Betty Kyalo continued to prepare for her future dream career in media by ensuring she performed well in English and Kiswahili. However, her life took an unexpected turn on August 6, 2005 when she was in Form Three – something tragic happened.
Betty Kyalo – Life changed forever
“While crossing the road from Railway Station to Gill House in Nairobi, on my way to meet up with a friend for lunch, I was hit by a Double M bus. I fell to the ground and I was dragged under. I was a mess,” she says. “I fell on my left side and injured half myself badly. I broke my left elbow and jaw; I fractured my collar bone and four ribs deflated my lungs and half of my face was grazed,” she recalls with a tinge of sadness.
Betty Kyalowas rushed to hospital by Good Samaritans. “I could not walk, go to the toilet on my own and even do basic stuff. The skin on my face was grazed so badly I had no skin on the left side of my face. My jaw was unstable and when I tried to speak it would move. I was hospitalised for two months,” she says.
Betty Kyalo – Badly bruised face
The injuries she sustained from the accident were so serious her family were scared how she would react when she saw her face.
“For a while, my brother and mother would not let me see my reflection because they knew how I would react. But during the hospitalisation period, one day I was being taken for an X-ray and I caught a glimpse of my reflection. I immediately sunk into depression. I felt like my life was over because I knew I could never be a news anchor,” she recalls with a sad smile.
After undergoing eight surgeries Betty finally left the hospital in October 2005. She was a changed person and her friends noticed it.
“I have always been a free spirit and so I have a lot of friends but for a while, I did not let my friends visit me. I wanted to be alone.” The journey towards recovery was rough, she says.
“I not only had to learn how to walk again, I also had to learn to live with my badly bruised face. My doctors had advised my mum on grafting (surgically removing skin from my thigh and adding it to the left side of my face) but she did not want me to go under the knife because I had already had eight surgeries in two months,” she says.
That month was spent recuperating at home and visiting lawyers to follow up on the case.
“I would walk in town and everyone would stare at me because of my funny-looking face. This traumatised me and I had to go for counselling to help me deal with it,” she says.
She returned to school in November to complete her studies.
Luckily, the teachers and pupils were supportive and understanding, which helped her heal faster.
The school management went out of its way and provided her with anything she needed to make life in school more manageable. Slowly she began to accept reality and moved on.
“At first, I was worried and scared about my future, but I reached the point where I stopped worrying and left everything in God’s hands. I refused to wallow in self-pity and took control of my life,” she says resolutely.
Interestingly, when she let go and let God take charge, she started noticing signs of a miracle.
“In December 2005, I started noticing small patches of skin returning to my face. I did not think much of it but by March 2006, believe it or not I had new skin. The only thing I have now left from the accident are memories and the scars on my neck. Even today when my doctors meet me, they still cannot believe I am the same girl who had half a face. It was a miracle. I became confident and aggressive about my dream. I realised I did not have time to waste because every moment I live is a precious gift,” she says.
Betty Kyalo – Mad about cars
Betty Kyalo went on to complete her studies and joined Daystar University where she studied Communication. She later got an opportunity for internship and it was then that her talent was discovered. The rest is history.
At first she had believed she needed to hide the scars on her neck but she says now she wears them like jewels.
“They are my story. I feel like I stared death in the face and I lived to tell,” she says.
The accident aside, Betty is also known for her love for cars.
“I absolutely love cars. I am one of those girls you will find watching Formula One and Motorsport. My love for cars began while in campus. I had a group of friends who lived and breathed cars and it rubbed off on me. That is why when I got the chance; I started Auto World, a segment which now airs on Sunday night on KTN. We deal with everything from car safety tips, to fuel tips, to car servicing. The response we get is so crazy, so much so that I got the nickname Betty ule wa magari,” she says. While most women get excited about going shopping, Betty gets excited about visiting the garage.
Betty Kyalo – Test drive
“I love the smell of petrol. I even take my boyfriend’s car to the garage for servicing and my brother calls me for advice when his car has problems.”
Apart from being a car enthusiast, Betty also test drives cars.
“I became a car tester in my last year of campus. I usually test drive with friends and other car enthusiasts. Whenever a car is about to be introduced into the market, we get to drive the new car and then review it after,” she says.
Last year, Betty got the opportunity to test drive the latest Range Rover in South Africa. She also hopes to go to Spain later this year to test drive the new Jaguar. “It is not a paying job, it is something I do because I am passionate about cars, plus I have gotten to drive cars that cost Sh19 million,” the anchor says with a sense of pride.
She admits to being a speed junkie and owns a Subaru WRX, which she says is the perfect combination of comfort and speed. “Whenever I need that adrenaline rush, I drive to Mombasa or Narok just to flex my Subaru muscles,” she concludes.
Dennis Okari and Betty Kyalo Wedding
Journalists Betty Kyalo and Dennis Okari exchanged vows in an exclusive wedding ceremony at the Marula Manor in Karen, attended by 150 close friends and family.
The wedding was preceded by a social media count down that included photo-shoots with luxury models of Jaguar sports cars, as the two recollected their courting process.
The media were barred from attending the wedding, which trended on social media through the hash tag #BettyWedsDennis for the better part of the day.
Congratulatory messages were also posted to the couple’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Video of Betty Kyalo and Dennis Okari Wedding
Dennis Okari and Betty Kyalo Divorce
Betty Kyallo divorced Dennis Okari, six months after their much publicized wedding held at Marula Manor in Karen.
Just less than half a year ago, Dennis Okari showed that Kenyan men are still romantic after he took Betty to some of the best holiday destinations in the world for a vacation after their lavish wedding.
However, their marriage has hit rock bottom six months later and they no longer see each other eye to eye.
According to snoops, Betty has already moved out of their matrimonial home and rented an apartment in one of the leafy suburbs of Nairobi, where she lives with her daughter, Ivanna.
A source revealed to us that the s3xy anchor divorced the popular investigative reporter three months ago because of infidelity and other ‘irreconcilable differences’.
Apparently, Dennis Okari, who is nick-named “kadinya” in NTV’s newsroom, is a notorious womanizer and his bad history with women is known among his fellow journalists.
When he was dating Betty, she busted him once in a compromising situation with a popular TV host at his house and this nearly ended their affair.
Another source revealed to us that Okari has a baby mama and this is making Betty go mad because they still have strong ties.
In fact, Okari still supports his baby mama financially and this is one of the reasons his marriage with Betty has hit a dead end.