Dwyane Wade spoke about the bitter divorce with his ex-wife, Siovaughn Funches, in a new documentary, where he revealed how grueling the battle for custody over their two children was.
The former Miami Heat star has been in the headlines along with his wife, Gabrielle Union, for how the family has supported his daughter Zaya Wade after she came out as transgender. Wade had Zaya and her older brother, Zaire, with his first wife, whom he says he had a tumultuous relationship with.
In his new ESPN documentary D. Wade: Life Unexpected (via Us Weekly) the NBA legend opened up about difficulties in his marriage to Funches. He says the two started dating in his junior year of high school and he was attracted to how established she was compared to him. She already had a job and her own car and helped the Chicago, Illinois, native stay focused as a teenager.
During the film, the 38-year-old talked about getting his then-girlfriend pregnant when they were still in high school. At the time, he believed this was the end of his playing career because the couple was starting a family at such a young age.
“I broke down. [I thought] my career, my life is over…Our relationship was rocky,” Wade recalled. “We got together at 16-years-old.”
This is when the three-time NBA champion says the two started to fight a lot, which he chalks up to both of them being teenagers. He hated hearing his parents argue as a kid and he did not want to subject Zaire to that.
Wade started dating Union around 2006 but he was still legally married to Funches and the two were in a bitter divorce and custody battle. He alleged that his ex-wife would keep changing her lawyer, which made the legal proceedings drag on.
“My divorce was taking forever. She wound up having 13 different lawyers in the process,” he said. “I’m having a hard time having a relationship with my kids, seeing my kids. A lot of times she would not bring them out and I would have to get the police involved to find her.”
The Heat legend admitted that he was very emotional during that time. Once the divorce and custody dispute was settled, he was torn because he was relieved but also realized this was not something he wanted to celebrate.
“It became ugly and nasty…There’s no winner in a custody battle.”
To promote the new documentary, Wade has been giving multiple interviews and offered insight into his family life. When speaking about Zaya identifying as transgender, the basketball icon previously said the family has been following the 12-year-old’s lead.