Who Is Russell Wilson's Wife, Ciara?

Since 2016, singer Ciara has been married to NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, who played for the Seattle Seahawks before being traded to the Denver Broncos in 2022. However, as her legions of fans well know, Ciara is far more than just a football wife. 

Since Ciara's debut single "Goodies" went to number one back in 2004, she's continued to be a musical force. A five-time Grammy nominee and one-time winner, Ciara has sold more than 4.4 million albums as of March 2024, in addition to charting five singles within the top three in Billboard's Hot 100. 

The success that she's experienced in the music industry, however, is just one facet of what that word means to her. She's also a successful entrepreneur with multiple business ventures and the mother of four young children.  "I chase life success, personal life success," she told Singers Room back in 2012. "I chase having that family foundation balance to it all because that to me is how I will really be able to enjoy what I do, just know that it's supported with love." There's definitely a lot to learn about this multitalented and multifaceted artist. Let's dive in.

She was named after a perfume

Born Ciara Princess Harris in 1985 in Austin, Texas, the singer eventually went full mononym, following in the footsteps of such fellow music-industry heavyweights as Beyoncé, Cher, and Adele.

Ciara's name has a fascinating origin, which she revealed to Women's Wear Daily in 2016. "My mom had been trying to figure out my name for a long time before I was born ... it was two names — it was Bianca or something else," she recalled. Her mother remained uncertain until her father — stationed at Texas' Fort Hood Army Base at the time — returned home bearing a gift for his pregnant wife from the commissary. "The Ciara fragrance by Revlon ... and not only did he love this fragrance but the name also really resonated with her and she ditched all the other names," she explained.

Ciara came full circle when she became Revlon's spokesperson, as she believed her name had, somewhat mystically, led to her eventual association with the brand. "I think my mom was putting it into the universe," the singer mused. "'Your name will be Ciara and one day you will have a Revlon campaign.'"

Ciara started her music career as part of a girl group

Ciara charted her first single as a teenager, hitting number one in 2004 with the crunk-inspired "Goodies." While that is impressive enough, she was already a music-biz veteran as a three-year member of a girl group called Hearsay. Being in the group was inspired by her love of another wildly successful group, she told The Associated Press. "I saw Destiny's Child perform and I knew that's what I wanted to do," she said. "They were so rockin' and beautiful and powerful."

Hearsay had garnered enough buzz that a record deal was on the table. However, internal strife among the members led them to go their separate ways, forcing Ciara to quickly pivot toward being a solo artist. She signed a publishing deal, tasting success early when a song she'd written — "Got Me Waiting" — was recorded by Fantasia Barrino for her first album. She eventually hooked up with producer Jazze Pha to work on the songs for her debut album, "Goodies." "When the beat goes on I let it hit me and then I think about what I want to say, and there it is," she said of her songwriting process.

She's collaborated with some of music's top acts

As Ciara's fans are well aware, she worked with rapper Petey Pablo and crunk trailblazer Lil Jon on her breakout debut single, "Goodies," combining rap with her distinct R&B groove for a style that came to be dubbed "Crunk&B." In the years since, she's made it a habit to collaborate with other artists — and there have been a LOT. She's worked with Ludacris on "Oh" and "Ride," and with 50 Cent on "Can't Leave 'Em Alone."

She's also worked with Missy Elliott on "1, 2 Step," and "Work," and with Chamillionaire on "Get Up." Other collaborators include Young Jeezy on "Never Ever," Nicki Minaj on "I'm Out," and Justin Timberlake on "Love Sex Magic." Ciara was also one of the celebrities to appear in Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" video.

In 2023, she recorded "How We Roll" with Chris Brown — whom she'd previously worked with on 2009's "Turntables." "A lot of the best moments in my career have happened when it's organic," Ciara told Billboard. "We got back together this go-round, and it just felt right ... When things are organic and easy, that's when you know it's right ... that's how we roll." 

She's acted in a bunch of movies

In addition to her music career, Ciara has branched out into film and television. We're not talking brief cameos or appearing as herself, but legitimate acting roles. She was first cast in the 2006 TV movie "All You've Got," then co-starred in 2011's "Mama I Want to Sing" and had a supporting role in the Adam Sandler comedy "That's My Boy." 

She portrayed the older version of Nettie (played as a younger woman by Halle Bailey) in 2023's "The Color Purple," the film adaptation of the Broadway musical based upon the 1985 film and the novel that preceded it. As Ciara told "Access Hollywood," she and the Chloe X Halle singer didn't film together. "When I was preparing for my role, they showed me some of her shots, so I could get a feeling of what she felt like," Ciara said.

Back in 2010 — when she had begun dabbling in acting — Ciara discussed her various creative interests. "Am I more passionate about music, films, or fashion?" she mused to Wonderland, offering a very telling answer. "I'd say I was most passionate about Ciara. I've been lucky enough to achieve everything I've wanted to do so far."

She's launched branded lines of rum, clothing, and more

In 2016, Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson co-founded Good Man Brand, a men's fashion line focused on sustainability. It's one of many businesses launched by Ciara, who's given her entrepreneurial spirit free rein. "I've always been a dreamer," Ciara told Forbes. "I had big visions when I was just a kid."

All those big dreams resulted in various businesses, such as her travel accessories line, Dare to Roam, and a perfume line with her husband, R&C Fragrances. Then there's her clothing line LITA By Ciara, which was part of the couple's Good Man Brand through the House of LR&C. "The House of LR&C stands for love, respect and care. So, there's always a give-back component to what we do," she told Forbes, revealing they donate 3% of the company's sales to charity.

She's also introduced a branded booze called Ten To One Rum. "It's always been a dream of mine to own a spirit one day and this was the perfect one to be a part of," she gushed. "The rum is incredible and we're trying to reinvent the category but it's also about telling a more authentic story about the Caribbean and the culture that surrounds it."

She has her own line of beauty products

In addition to those ventures, Ciara is also the proprietor of a line of skincare products. In 2022, Ciara launched OAM, an acronym for On a Mission. For Ciara, that particular mission has been personal. "When I'd go into stores, I didn't know where to start and stop. It was so overwhelming, and I thought, 'There has to be a simpler way to understand the steps I need to care for my skin,'" she explained to Harper's Bazaar

She used an analogy comparing one's body to an automobile. "You have to put the best oil into your car, and this relates especially to our skin," she said of the key ingredient within her OAM products: Tri-C Pro-Peptide Complex, a formulation of peptides and three forms of vitamin C. "The vitamin C is game-changing. It helps to correct, protect, and prevent," she added. 

Ciara also said the most distinct aspect of OAM is the degree of hues available to match any skin tone. "It's something we take pride in, and I believe it's one of the things that sets us apart," she said.

Ciara discovered a 'crazy' family secret on a TV show

In 2024, Ciara appeared on the PBS genealogy series "Finding Your Roots," where she discovered a shocking secret about her lineage. During the episode, host Dr. William Henry Gates Jr. said the DNA testing revealed that the man she believed to be her maternal great-grandfather, Willie Bub Head, had no biological connection to the man believed to be his father. Thanks to the show's resources, Gates' team discovered the true identity of her great-great-grandfather, a man named Walker Lafayette Head. "Your biological great-great-grandfather was white," Gates told Ciara. "That's crazy," she responded.

Further digging into the census of 1870 revealed that her biological great-great-grandfather was the son of a landowner, while Nathan Head — husband of Ciara's great-great-grandmother, Emily Redding — was a sharecropper who worked on that land. "At some point, when the men were about 40, Walker slept with Nathan's wife and conceived your great-grandfather, Willie," Gates explained. For her part, Ciara hoped that the circumstances of her great-grandfather's conception weren't as awful as could be imagined. "I'd like to believe there was some connectivity that happened," she mused.

She's been a judge on a reality TV talent competition

In 2019, Ciara joined the lengthy list of recording artists who put their experience in the music biz to use by judging the ability of amateur singers in a reality TV talent contest. That show was "America's Most Musical Family," which aired for a single season on Nickelodeon. Hosted by Nick Lachey, Ciara was joined at the judging table by pop star Debbie Gibson and YouTuber David Dobrik, with the trio critiquing the singing abilities of the 30 musical families who were competing for a recording contract and $250,000 prize.

Speaking about the show at BUILD Series, Ciara shared her empathy for the contestants who didn't make it to the finish line. "You know, I really felt for the families that didn't advance on," she said. "But I also identify with them, because I was that person ... I had some moments where it was supposed to be my big moment, and it didn't happen. I can totally relate to that person and that moment." 

That wasn't Ciara's only experience as a TV talent competition judge. In 2018, she was a guest judge on "RuPaul's Drag Race," and held a similar role in a 2015 episode of "Project Runway." 

Ciara introduced her superhero alter-ego Super C

Over the years, many singers have introduced musical alter egos, from Garth Brooks' much-maligned rocker Chris Gaines to Beyoncé's tough Sasha Fierce persona. The latter inspired Ciara to develop an alternate identity of her own — a superhero character she called Super C, which she debuted for her 2009 album "Fantasy Ride."  

Super C reflected the confident persona she takes on when performing onstage, Ciara said to Right On magazine (via Contact Music). "Another person inside of me totally surfaces when it comes to performing — Ciara, buh-bye, all right Super C," she explained, detailing her alter ego's characteristics. "Super C doesn't hold back. She is definitely aggressive. She goes hard. Super C can do some magical and funky things. She works hard. She dances to the 10th power."

The album artwork featured an animated version of Super C that DC Comics artist Bernard Chang created. It was featured in an actual comic book within the packaging. As she explained in a video about the album's artwork, the exercise took nine months and led to the delay of the "Fantasy Ride" album. "It's been a process," she admitted. 

She was engaged to another celebrity before marrying Russell Wilson

Years before Ciara's marriage to Russell Wilson, she was in a relationship with rapper Future. Things got serious — the two started dating in 2013, got engaged, and had a child named Future Zahir Wilburn in 2014. They broke up that same year and had a contentious legal battle over Future Jr., which eventually resulted in joint custody.

Ciara addressed her split from Future on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, admitting their breakup was both "public" and "painful." Asked how she knew it was over, she admitted it was an intuitive feeling. "When you know you're supposed to make a super defined decision in your life — you know it from the head to your feet, from your feet to your head and your soul and your body," she said (via People). "It's almost like your taste buds change. You have a taste bud for a certain kind of thing, and then the taste buds just go."

She explained that becoming a mother ultimately led her to believe that breaking up was for the best. "When you have a child, it's very important to me, it's no time to play around," she said. "I am now responsible for another life."

Becoming a mom changed her life

In addition to the son, Future Jr., she shares with Future, Ciara has three children with her husband Russell Wilson: Sienna, Win, and Amora. Being the mother of four fulfilled her childhood fantasy. "I feel like, if I could look back in a crystal ball when I was a little girl and I looked at the idea of my family and what it would be for me, it's exactly this," she told GQ.

Ciara revealed to BuzzFeed that motherhood has changed her in ways she hadn't expected. For example, her kids have gifted her with a new level of patience. "I feel I've been a pretty patient person in life in general, but you're definitely going to have a lot of patience after having kids because they throw you every curveball you could imagine, and sometimes they throw you a curveball every hour of the day," she said. 

Her children have also given her a new perspective on what's truly important in life, shifting the focus from the superficial to the meaningful. "It's just the simple things," she said. "Seeing how their faces light up when we spend time together and seeing how they get excited by the simple things ... puts things back into perspective."

Her secret to balancing motherhood and her career

Being the mother of four and maintaining a successful music career — and let's not forget about all those various entrepreneurial side projects — is no mean feat, yet it's a balancing act that Ciara has pulled off with aplomb. 

She admitted to Forbes in 2018 that she makes it look easier than it is, and a significant amount of effort is required. "Balance is probably the greatest challenge because I'm very ambitious and determined to achieve my goals, and that takes a lot of work in itself. And then the job of being a mom is a whole different animal, too," she said, admitting that both her family and career demand the entirety of her attention. 

According to Ciara, time management is key, with meticulous planning one of the biggest factors in allowing her to achieve that balance. "It's about putting together the best system and schedule that can allow me to be content in both areas," she said. "What I've learned is that when things are right at home, with your kids and family, that's where it all starts, and then everything else will fall in place."

She's never lost touch with the community that inspired her

As a military brat, Ciara and her family moved around before laying down roots in Atlanta. That was where she spent her formative years and launched her music career; therefore, the city's music community holds an important place in her heart. Ciara credits its influence for making her who she became. "There's so much sauce, so much character. The people. How we all talk. Sometimes, when I go home, it's like speaking another language because of our Southern drawl," she told Allure in 2022. "You don't really know it until you see it. It's an energy."

One person from that time who has remained a part of her life is Yolonda Frederick-Thompson, a makeup artist whose clients included TLC and OutKast. She became Ciara's sounding board, giving the teenager advice on how to navigate the choppy waters of the music industry. Frederick-Thompson is now on the advisory board of Ciara's OAM skincare line.

According to Frederick-Thompson, the positive energy Ciara spreads through her music and other efforts is a direct outgrowth of being part of that Atlanta scene. "Atlanta has been a huge influence on her sound and I think she's evolved so that it translates outside of her community," she explained.

She lives in a place of gratitude

There's no question Ciara has achieved a lot since dropping "Goodies" all those years ago. As an artist whose career has spanned decades, Ciara is no stranger to the ebbs and flows of any showbiz career. Having experienced those peaks and valleys, she found herself on a major upswing in 2018 when her single "Level Up" became the focus of a social media dance challenge that went viral. 

Through the good times and bad, Ciara has followed one guiding principle that's seen her through tough moments and helped her appreciate the good ones. "No matter what I've gone through in my life, I've always believed and always had faith," she shared in a 2018 interview with Refinery29. "The most important thing is believing in love. It gives you the courage, the inspiration to keep on pushing forward."

Reflecting on her life, Ciara revealed the gratitude she felt. "I wake up every single morning knowing that I'm living my dream. It feels good to be in this place right now," she declared.