Inside Dwyane Wade's Rocky Relationship With His Ex-Wife

The following article includes domestic abuse allegations. 

A little while after first crossing paths at a Super Bowl party back in 2007, NBA star Dwyane Wade got into a relationship with actor Gabrielle Union. "When I met Dwyane, his résumé looked like crap: athlete, going through a divorce, nine years younger than me," Union told Glamour in 2014. "None of that screamed, 'Let's have a lasting relationship.'" Yet, in August 2014, the pair tied the knot and have since continued to epitomize Black love. "I'd like to say we've worked on it," the three-time NBA champ once said in People. "It's about learning each other, learning what she wants for her life and for her career and trying to support all those things." 

Now, even nearly a decade into their marriage, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade enjoy a blissful blended family life. While the couple shares daughter Kaavia James Union Wade, the NBA star has a son named Xavier with Aja Metoyer, per Hollywood Life. He also shares two kids, Zaire Wade and Zaya Wade, with his first wife, Siohvaughn Funches. Yes, long before Gabrielle Union became Mrs. Wade, there was a different Mrs. Wade. A teenage love story turned sour, here's a look into Dwyane Wade's messy history with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches.

Dwyane Wade married his high school sweetheart

Most high school relationships never make it past the college gates. But for Dwyane Wade and his Siohvaughn Funches, theirs prevailed long after that. According to People, the two started out as teenage sweethearts while attending Harold L. Richards High School in Illinois. Wade leaned on his relationship with Funches as his father and stepmother's relationship started to disintegrate. "Siohvaughn had her own car, she had a job, money, this and that," he said in the 2020 documentary "D. Wade: Life Unexpected," per Us Weekly. "We started spending a lot of time together because it got me away from the noise and everything going on at my house."

Per The Washington Post, Wade eventually moved in with Funches' family. And he continued to stay there while she was off at college and he was still in his senior year of high school. According to The New York Times, Funches' mother helped him get into Marquette University, where he ended up playing through his junior year. "It was at that time a very meaningful relationship, a very loving one," Funches told the Daily Mail in 2012.

Siohvaughn Funches and Dwyane Wade took next steps

In 2002, Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches welcomed their first child together, Zaire Wade. While Dywane was more than excited about welcoming his little one, he has since admitted to having fears about becoming a dad at 20. "When a kid is born, they don't come out with a pamphlet that's like, 'Okay, these are the directions for this kid,'" he said in People in 2020. "You're afraid because you don't want to mess up; you don't want anything to happen to them." 

Shortly after Zaire was born, Dwyane and Funches got married. The following year, Dwyane was the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft. His star was on the rise, and all of the success and celebrity status started to take a toll on their marriage. "I was seduced, too. I lost sight of some of my values," Funches told Daily Mail. "The further I got into that lifestyle, the further I got away from God. I just woke up sooner than he did. 'This was my very best friend and I couldn't reach him anymore — without question it was because of the money." Soon enough, it became obvious that way too much had been damaged and there was no going back.

In 2007, Dwyane and Funches' second child, Zaya Wade, was born. Their relationship would draw to an end shortly after her birth.

Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches' fraught divorce

In 2007, barely five years into their marriage, Dwyane Wade filed for divorce. "Our relationship was rocky," Wade said of their separation in "D. Wade: Life Unexpected," per People"We had been together since we were 16 years old, so we had a lot of differences and we didn't know how to handle those." Siohvaughn Funches, however, clearly did not see things that way. "Look what he's doing to the mother of his children," she said, per Inside Edition. "They have already taken my children. Mr. Wade has left me destitute without any money." Wade in turn accused Funches of being mentally unstable and trying to extort him. 

During their six year divorce proceedings, Funches hired over twelve lawyers, one of whom she sued for malpractice, per Chicago Tribune. "My divorce was taking forever," Wade said of the contentious divorce in his documentary, per Us Weekly. "She wound up having 13 different lawyers in the process. So every time you get a new lawyer, the case starts over. ... It became ugly and nasty." 

And at the center of the contentious battle were their two kids, with both Wade and Funches requesting custody. In June 2012, things took a turn for the worse when, according to CBS News, Funches was arrested and charged with attempted child abduction after violating her visitation rights.

There were claims of infidelity and domestic violence

Following the end of their marriage, Siohvaughn Funches accused Dwyane Wade of being unfaithful while they were together. "I found text messages from at least a dozen different women, multiple women, pictures of women barely dressed and in lingerie," Funches told Inside Edition

When Wade started dating "Bring it On" star Gabrielle Union in 2009, Funches was not too pleased. In 2010, the Daily News reported that Funches filed a $50,000 lawsuit against Union, accusing her of committing sexual acts in front of her two kids, thereby causing them emotional distress. According to TMZ, Union and Wade denied the accusations, and a judge ultimately dismissed the case. 

Funches also accused Wade of domestic violence, which she claimed started shortly after their wedding in 2002. "I had known that Dwyane Wade had a temper and could become violent at times," she stated in court documents obtained by Radar Online. "But when we moved out of my mother's home ... into our own apartment with our infant son, the violence increased. This, however, was just the surface of the domestic violence Dwyane Wade would inflict upon me." According to CBS News, Wade denied Funches' abuse allegations and accused her of physically attacking him. Per the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Funches also accused Wade of financial abuse and infecting her with an STD. He sued her for defamation.  

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Dwyane Wade was awarded sole custody of their kids

Following a lengthy custody battle, Dwyane Wade was awarded sole custody of the two children he shares with Siohvaughn Funches. "My life changed in a huge way," Wade told the Associated Press after the verdict was reached, per Us Weekly. "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." Funches was awarded "regular parenting time" with the children, ESPN reported.

Recounting his child custody battle on a 2019 episode of the "All the Smoke" podcast, Wade described the experience as "uncharted waters," adding that he was left with little choice but to fight as hard as he did. "But once I got that opportunity to be there more, I think it was beneficial for both of us — I needed them and they needed me," he said.

Funches, however, believes that Wade had an unfair advantage when it came time for the court to make a decision. "I think influence had a lot to do with it,' she told Daily Mail in 2011. "Celebrity had a lot to do with it. Money had a lot to do with it."

Siohvaughn Funches said her ex wants to profit off their daughter

In August 2022, two years after his daughter Zaya Wade came out as transgender, The Blast reported Dwyane Wade filed a petition to legally change her name and gender. Though Dwyane did not seek Siohvaughn Funches' consent at the time, she was informed of the filing. And she was not pleased. In November 2022, Funches filed a counterpetition asking the court to prevent the NBA star from allowing Zaya to legally go through a name and gender change. She argued that Zaya wait until she turns 18 before taking these official steps. Funches also accused Dwyane of attempting to profit off of their daughter's gender identity. "[Dwyane] told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith," she wrote in her petition, per CNN

Taking to Instagram, Dywane Wade responded to his ex-wife's allegations in a lengthy post where he called out Funches' lack of support for their daughter. "I'm very disappointed that she continuously finds ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children," the NBA star wrote.