Dwyane Wade is responding to his ex-wife’s “damaging lies” after she accused him of profiting off their transgender daughter, Zaya.
Wade, 40, acknowledged the situation in an Instagram post on Thursday morning, where he began a message, writing, “Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame.”
Noting how he is currently “on a life-changing trip in our motherland, Africa,” the former NBA player continued, “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.”
“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[s] ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children,” he added.
Wade also said that the report tied to his ex “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.”
Continuing his statement, Wade detailed how Funches-Wade, 41, “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.”
“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 explained.
The father of four noted 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.”
Wade claimed that his ex-wife had “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,” but said, “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.”
The athlete also explained that he has not yet seen Funches-Wade “make any sacrifice or effort to participate in her children’s lives in over a decade.”
“Zaya is not that same 3 year child anymore and she’s screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother!” Wade said. “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,” he added. “All the while my wife [Gabrielle Union] and our village has been her rock in helping her pick up the pieces after heartbreak after heartbreak.”
Wade concluded, “Siohvaughn has decided to pretty much be an absent parent to Zaya ALL ON HER OWN. … I will not sit on my hands this time and allow her to make a mockery of my dedication to my family. The high road has run out of real estate. My lawyer will be in contact and best of luck to the 14th lawyer as they try to unravel this book of lies that’s been sold to them.”
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, Funches-Wade’s petition was filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles as an objection to an initial petition Wade filed in August to legally change Zaya’s name.
Funches-Wade is asking the court that Zaya make the decision herself when she turns 18, or the “age of majority,” in two and a half years. She also claims that “there will likely be media pressure on the minor child” to make the change.