News of Dwyane Wade’s daughter Zaya Wade seems to dominate most conversations involving their family. Dwyane and wife, Gabrielle Union, get an overwhelming response from the public when it comes to how they’ve handled Zaya’s coming out and transition. Like it or not, the family unit is strong and well-intentioned when it comes to protecting their own and keeping everyone happy and supported. One name that is noticeably absent from discussions surrounding Zaya Wade is her biological mother, Siohvaughn Funches. Now that Dwyane Wade has filed a petition to officially change Zaya’s gender and name, people are wondering what his ex-wife has to say about this whole situation.
Siohvaughn and Dwyane Wade were high school sweethearts. The two met while attending the Harold L. Richard’s High School in their home state of Illinois. Dwyane had a troubled home life and was often bounced back and forth between his mother and father. He would move in with Siohvaughn and her family to escape the issues at home. The two would date through college and marry while Wade was attending Marquette University in Wisconsin. While the NBA initially came knocking in 2002 for the college star, he and his new wife opted to wait for the 2003 draft to ensure their family was properly situated.
Unfortunately, things between the couple began to sour as Sionvaughn accused Dwyane of cheating regularly and being emotionally and physically abusive. Dwayne would be the one to file for divorce in 2007. Dwyane claimed that Siohvaughn was mentally ill and had no money, while she made claims that he left her and the children with nothing. Wade would sue his first wife for defamation and had her arrested twice during their divorce proceedings. Eventually, Sionvaugh would make claims that she was homeless and living on the street. It was at this time that Wade was awarded sole custody of their children.
In the court documents, the judge said, “The court finds that [Siohvaughn Wade] has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them.”
The win was important to Wade for a lot of reasons. He said it helped him relieve the stress of wondering how his children were. It also was a win for men who want to be present in their children’s lives, something often downplayed by the American court system. He told ESPN in 2011, “To me, it’s bigger than that. For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes. You fight until you can’t fight anymore. That’s all I was trying to be, a father in his kids’ lives.” Despite this, Wade has been adamant about making time for Funches, who was granted “regular parenting” time with the kids. This means she can spend time with them on alternating weekends and holidays like Mother’s Day.
Now, as the sole guardian of his children, it is entirely up to Wade to ensure the best for his kids with the help of his new wife, Gabrielle Union. As previously mentioned, the duo have become the spokespeople for blended families and progressive parenting and have put their children at the center of their lives. Not only has this meant being fierce allies and champions of trans daughter Zaya, but also actively supporting their songs Xavier and Zaire in their basketball pursuits. Even baby Kaavia has a growing public presence with viral photos and a whole book dedicated famously unimpressed mug called Shady Baby.
Support for Zaya wade was in full effect this week when it was announced that father Dwayne had submitted a petition to help Zaya officially change her name and gender. While many were up in arms over the family’s decision to officiate Zaya’s transition, others were confused about why the documents stressed Dwayne’s ability to petition by himself without his ex-wife and Zaya’s mom Funches.
In documents that made their way online, the court petition reads, “Pursuant to the terms of the Final Custody Judgment, [Dwyane Wade] has full authority to make decisions on behalf of the petitioning minor, and he is not required to receive consent from Ms. Funches-Wade. As a courtesy, Ms. Funches-Wade has received notice of this petition.” Given the story of their split, this arrangement makes a lot of sense.