From first love to foe. Siohvaughn Funches and Dwyane Wade started dating as teenagers and married one year before the former basketball player entered the NBA draft in 2003 — but their relationship didn’t last.
The former pair welcomed two children — Zaire and Zaya — before they called it quits in 2007. The NBA All-Star and podcast host filed for divorce in 2010 and after a lengthy court battle, the Miami Heat legend was granted full custody of their two children. Their divorce was not finalized until 2013. During their separation, the Utah Jazz co-owner moved on with Gabrielle Union and they wed in 2014.
In 2020, the public speaker and professional athlete’s daughter, Zaya, publicly came out as transgender.
“First of all, me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we’re proud allies as well,” Wade said during a February 2020 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “We take our roles and our responsibilities as parents very seriously.”
Two years later, Funches accused her ex-husband of profiting from their daughter Zaya’s gender identity when the former athlete filed a petition to officially change his child’s name and gender. The Olympic gold medalist signed the petition, but his former wife did not.
“I have concerns that [Wade] may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies, and will receive based upon [his] statements to me, on the basis of our child’s name and/or gender change,” Funches alleged in court documents obtained by Us Weekly in November 2022.
Shortly after, Wade took to social media to fire back at his ex-wife’s allegations.
“Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame,” the athlete wrote via a lengthy Instagram statement. “While I’m on a life-changing trip in our motherland, Africa, I’ve received a social media post about me forcing our 15 year old child to be someone she’s not and to do something against her will. These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children. While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn’s attempt to fight Zaya’s identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I’m very disappointed that she continuously find ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children. This report came out while Zaya was in class. This is a kid who has maintained a 4.0 GPA in honors classes while navigating all this unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality from those who are committed to not listening to her, much less even knowing her.”
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