On Tuesday (November 1), Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, Wade’s former wife, requested Zaya Wade wait until “the age of majority” to make permanent changes to her identity in a Los Angeles County court filing obtained by TODAY.
Wade slammed Funches-Wade’s court objection on Thursday (November 3) in a statement released on Instagram.
“Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame,” Wade said on the social media platform. “While I’m on a life-changing trip in 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. These are serious and harmful allegations that have hurt our children.”
Funches-Wade and Wade, who were married from 2002 to 2010, share Zaya and 20-year-old son Zaire Wade.
“While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn’s attempt to fight Zaya’s identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I’m very disappointed that she continuously find ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children,” he added. “This report came out while Zaya was in class. This is a kid who has maintained a 4.0 GPA in honors classes while navigating all this unsolicited and harmful attention and debates about her gender and sexuality from those who are committed to not listening to her, much less even knowing her.”
Zaya came out as transgender in 2020, and the former NBA star has publicly shown his support for his daughter since.
However, Funches-Wade said in court filings, “I contend that our child should be given the opportunity to decide for themselves at the age of majority if they want to move forward with changing their name and/or gender.” Wade’s ex-wife also claimed that he was using his status as a former basketball star to make money off Zaya’s brand deals.
“Siohvaughn tried a similar attempt over a decade ago (with equally damaging lies and causing irreparable harm to her children) and 13 lawyers later, I was awarded sole custody of our two kids as an active NBA player,” Wade continued in his statement. “All I ever wanted was to have my parenting time uninterrupted, as I knew that it would be a very difficult time for our kids to navigate their new normal.”
He added of Funches-Wade: “So Instead of actually trying to co-parent over the years, she’s left her home to see more lawyers and has taken the time to talk to more lawyers since I filed for divorce than she’s left her home to actually see or have truly spoken and LISTENED to Zaya over all these years.”
“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,” Wade also said in his statement. “She won’t do it! She has not been to a school, recital, graduation, school dance, play date, practice, parent-teacher conference, etc and Zaya has given her every opportunity to try to get to know her. She won’t do it.”
He later continued: “Zaya is not that same 3 year child anymore and she’s screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother! No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them. This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya. This is her life.”
A hearing for the case is set for December 12.