Dwyane Wade‘s ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, 41, has clapped back at the 40-year-old former basketball pro’s Instagram comments that she “continuously finds ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children.” Their most recent feud stems from disagreements over their 15-year-old daughter Zaya‘s path as a transgender teen and whether or not she should be allowed to legally change her gender. In a lengthy statement she sent to HollywoodLife on Friday, Nov. 4, Siohvaughn asserted that despite Dwyane’s comments, she fully supports her children and is only interested in “protecting” their wellbeing.
“First, these statements are completely untrue, and second they are very hurtful. Not only to myself, but more importantly to my children, who are as human, and subject to hurt and pain, as all other children, despite any lifestyle that they have been afforded,” Siohvaughn claimed. “They too, like many other children, have experienced the excruciating pain and unique challenges that children suffer when their parents are divorced. I will not add to that pain by now responding publicly with malicious, or hate-filled, comments to Dwyane, despite his decision to say these harmful untruths about me, and despite the fact that I never went to the media or public about these sensitive private family matters affecting our minor child.”
“Dwyane is still the dad of my children and for my babies’ sake, I choose to refrain from speaking negatively about him,” she reconfirmed. “If I had anything at all publicly to say to him it would only be one thing, ‘I forgive him again.’ It would only be this one thing, because this matter isn’t about him, or me, it’s about a child who otherwise cannot protect and shield themself from the negative consequences that encompass living your life in view of the world. Yes, the world will watch your triumphs, but they will also have a front row seat to your failures.”
Siohvaughn continued, “There are countless full-grown famous adults who have experienced this, and suffered severe consequences stemming from anxiety, depression and others are no longer with us because they took their own lives under this public pressure and scrutiny. I have both the mandate and privilege of protecting my children from these tragic events, as well as the myriad of other negative things that have a tendency to impact those living in the limelight, but time will fail me to mention them all.”
“Therefore,” she added, “I will do what I believe GOD has called me to do as a mother and that is love and protect my children and do what I believe is best for them. I’m by no means a perfect parent but I love my children with perfect unconditional love. I will also continue to do what the laws of this land allow me to do as a parent with the parental right and power under the constitution in courts of law and not the court of public opinion.”
She concluded, “I ask you all as a mother to please respect our privacy as a family with these serious and sensitive matters relating to our minor child.”
Siohvaughn’s words, as noted above, came after Dwyane, who is married to Gabrielle Union, publicly hit back at her after she filed a petition against him on Nov. 2 to halt Zaya’s official gender and name change. Zaya came out as transgender in 2020 and Dwyane submitted the paperwork for her to change her gender and name in August. In the official filing, Siohvaughn claimed the father of four “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.”
In response, Dwyane shared the below message to his Instagram on Nov. 3. “While I’m on a life-changing trip to 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,” he wrote. “These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children.”
“While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn’s to fight Zaya’s identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I’m very disappointed that she continuously finds ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children,” he continued. He then gushed over how well Zaya is performing in school (she has a 4.0 GPA!), despite “navigating this unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality.”
He then took a dig at Siohvaughn by saying she “tried a similar attempt over a decade ago” and lost, which awarded him full custody of their two children. Despite this, he claimed Siohvaughn continues to pursue lawyers rather than bond with Zaya and seeing her viewpoint. “I’ve given her the opportunity to reach out to Zaya’s teachers, doctors and therapist over the years and even meet her friends, so she could get her own understanding of our child’s needs for her LIFE!” he alleged. “She won’t do it!” the former Miami Heat star claimed before calling his ex an “absent parent” who has not attended a single “recital, graduation, school dance, play date, practice, parent teacher conference etc.”
Zaya came out as transgender when she was 12 years old and has been a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community ever since. In a Feb. 2020 video Gabrielle shared on Twitter, Zaya encouraged people to live their truest lives without shame. “If [you] are afraid to be judged, I would say, don’t even think about that. Just be true to yourself,” she preached. “Are you really even… like, what’s the point of being on this earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not? It’s like, you’re not even living as yourself. It’s just like, be true and don’t worry about the ‘stereotypical’ way of being you is.”
In June of this year, Dwyane admitted that he is worried for his daughter despite her confidence. “As blessed as it is for my daughter to have parents who can support her, I’m still afraid every moment she leaves the house. And not just because of gun violence, but because of the way people perceive her in this world,” he told CNN at the TIME100 summit.
Dwyane and Siohvaughn were married between 2002 and 2010, although they broke up in 2007. The former spouses share Zaya and a 20-year-old son, Zaire Blessing Dwyane Wade. Dwyane also had a son, Xavier Zechariah Wade, with Aja Metoyer, when he and Gabrielle were broken up in 2013. He welcomed a daughter, Kaavia, 4, with Gabrielle in 2018. Lastly, he raised his sister’s son Dahveon Morris and was awarded custody of him in 2011.