Cherelle Griner Honors Wife Brittney Griner in Birthday Tribute Nearly a Year After Captivity Release

Brittney Griner's Wife Reflects on Their Next Chapter Together

This birthday message is a slam dunk.

Cherelle Griner shared a heartfelt tribute to her wife Brittney Griner on the WNBA player's 33rd birthday, nearly one year after Brittney was released from detention in Russia. 

"Happy birthday my love!" Cherelle captioned an Oct. 18 post, featuring a video montage of her and Brittney over the years. "God did his big one with you. I couldn't ask for a better soul to do life with! Celebrating you is easy and to love you is an honor. Cheers to another year baby."

And Brittney showed the love right back, commenting, "Awww baby I love you so much."

While the couple were able to spend the Phoenix Mercury player's special day together this year, Brittney's birthday last year looked a lot different, as she was imprisoned in Russia after being found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court and sentenced to 9 years in prison that August. In total, the basketball star spent 294 days in Russian custody after being arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport in Feb. 2022 for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage.

photosStars Arrested Fighting for a Cause

Last December the athlete, who had been playing for a Russian basketball team during the WNBA offseason, was ultimately freed in a prisoner swap that saw arms dealer Viktor Bout released from US prison and returned to Russia.

Cherelle worked closely with the White House during Brittney's 11 months in Russian captivity and tirelessly worked towards bringing her wife home. And when that day finally came on Dec. 8, she shared a message of gratitude to everyone involved. 


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Cherelle Griner Honors Wife Brittney Griner in Birthday Tribute Nearly a Year After Captivity Release

"Yesterday my heart was made whole thanks to the collective efforts of MANY!," she captioned an Instagram post at the time, in which she also named individuals for their contributions. "I'm humbled by their hearts. To care for another, a stranger to some, a friend to some— is humanity in its purest form! As BG and I start our journey to heal our minds, bodies, and spirits— I wanted to personally say thank you to some of the hands; seen and unseen, that helped make it possible for me to see my wife again!"

For her part, Brittney also penned a heartfelt message of gratitude for everyone who was involved in her release. 

"It feels so good to be home," she captioned a Dec. 16 post featuring photos of herself stepping off a plane and reuniting with Cherelle. "The last 10 months have been a battle at every turn. I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love from so many of you that helped keep me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help."

The Olympic gold medalist also took a moment to speak to her athletic future. 

"I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury this season," she continued. "And in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you' to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon."

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