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Cherelle Griner: Major Role In Bringing Brittney Griner Back To The US

Brittney Griner’s wife Cherelle Griner fell in love with the Olympic champion at first sight. They met at Baylor University in Texas It was not until much later, after Brittney divorced in 2016, that they confessed their love to each other. Brittney Griner and Cherelle have been married since 2019 but she was arrested in February 2022 on drug trafficking charges. By December 2022, Brittney Griner was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison. Her wife Cherelle Griner played a significant role which we will explore in this article. 

Brittney Griner’s New Wife Cherelle Griner Played A Massive Role In Bringing Her Back 

Cherelle fought for Brittney’s repatriation to the United States:

American basketball superstar and Olympic champion Brittney Griner experienced a real descent into hell when she was incarcerated on Russian soil on February 7, 2022 after Airport security found hash oil in vape cartridges in her bag when she had just landed in Moscow. 

Accused of the act of smuggling drugs into the country, Brittney pledged that she was unaware that the vape or hash oil was banned in Russia and indicated that she had never intended to trade/sell. 

In court, the basketball star pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 9 years in prison on Thursday 4 August.   

Brittney Griner has since her arrival in jail received the unconditional support of her wife, Cherelle Griner who lives in America. 

Cherelle’s freedom speech at the Glamor Women of the Year Awards: 

In November 2022, Cherelle gave a moving speech in November stating: “I’ve spent the past eight months riding waves of grief and, to be honest, utter disbelief and I can’t believe I stand before you today, living without my favorite person, my greatest love, my greatest support and just a sanctuary. Her last message to her wife was significant. “You are certainly not forgotten. So keep your head up, champ. This will work as well. I love you and I can’t wait for the day when I can kiss you”.

In her misfortune, the basketball player was only able to count on her wife, Cherelle Watson:

Cherelle Griner

During Brittney Griner’s legal struggle in Russia, Cherelle Griner has been by his wife’s side throughout the ordeal. In a chat with CBS News in early October, Griner said the first time she spoke to his wife in Russian custody, she was relieved to talk to her. “It was so nice to hear her voice,” Cherelle said, assuring his wife that they “could survive this.” However, on her second call, Cherelle said the mood was 180 degrees. “You could hear she wasn’t well,” after she went on to describe it as the most disturbing phone call I’ve ever experienced. 

After her return, Brittney Griner finally touched the ball:

Cherelle Griner

A champion within the Mercury club of Phoenix, Brittney Griner didn’t even play in a basketball court offered to her in prison. Cherelle spoke with President Biden who tried to do everything to bring Brittney home. The young woman was successful in fighting tooth and nail to bring back her beloved. 

The two-time Olympic champion, 32, only touched a basketball since her release in Dec 2022 during a quick practice session at a military base in San Antonio, Texas. Culminating at 2.06 m and wearing a 54, Brittney Griner, who plays indoors, has established herself as one of the best basketball players since her professional debut. Using her size, Griner pulled her signature weapon in women’s basketball: the dunk, with which she also returned.

The return of the champion should do good for her Phoenix Mercury franchise, which finished 8th in the 2022 season, completely missed by Brittney Griner. On May 19, the Phoenix Mercury should resume their next season against the Los Angeles Sparks.

When Brittney Griner came back to the USA, she thanked her wife:

Cherelle Griner

Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner expressed her gratitude in December 2022 to be back in the United States after ten months of imprisonment in Russia, and assured that she would play in the league again this season.

“It’s good to be home. The past ten months have been a constant battle,” she said in an Instagram post, speaking publicly for the first time.

She thanked President Joe Biden, her Phoenix Mercury basketball team, assuring that she will play again this season, and ofcourse her beloved Cherelle Griner. 

“I want something to be very clear: I intend to play basketball for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA this season,” she said.

Cherelle is a doctor of the law:

Cherelle Griner

Cherelle majored in political science and government as an undergraduate and later continued her studies having graduated from North Carolina Central University of Law in May 2022 exactly while Brittney was in custody. Cherelle wrote: “It’s graduation day. The name just got a little longer: CHERELLE T. GRINER, JD,” she posted on Instagram. 

With a degree in Law, Cherelle even met with President Biden on July 6th. In a statement, the White House said, “The President has called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals detained wrongfully or held hostage in Russia and around the world”.

It’s time to prove that love overcomes all trials!

They married in 2019:

Griner got engaged to Cherelle Watson in August 2018, and in June 2019, the two wed in a beautiful ceremony. Watson later changed his surname to Griiner and became Cherelle Griner.

Brittney fell in love with Cherelle while she was married to Glory Johnson:

According to The Sun, Brittney and her future wife met at Baylor University, which Cherelle attended from 2010 to 2014, in Texas and was immediately blown away by her beauty. 

But by 2015, On June 4, Greiner and Johnson announced that Johnson was pregnant with twins but less than a month after their marriage, Greiner sued for an annulment for fraud and intimidation.

However, the annulment of the marriage was rejected because the court found that Brittney gave her full consent to have Glory’s children and to be a family together. On October 12, Johnson gave birth to twins as 16-week premature babies via in vitro fertilization. 

Greiner was ordered to pay Johnson child support.

In June 2016, the divorce was finalized which is when Griner’s separation from her previous wife permitted her to act on Cherelle’s beauty. In an Instagram post in 2020, she said: “I’ll never forget the day I met you at Baylor in the underfield”. Brittney Griner even said to Cherelle “You had no idea but I knew you were the one for me” before adding “you stayed by my side at the lowest and at the highest!”

Other FAQs about Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner:

Is Brittney Griner a lesbian?

On April 17, 2013, Brittney Griner publicly announced that she was a lesbian when interviewed by And she added that she was frequently bullied during her childhood and said: ‘It’s hard. Just being criticized for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything’. 

Arriving with the label of physical phenomenon in the American league, Griner had been a prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ community.

The native of Houston, Texas is also committed to civil rights and was among the first basketball players to ask the WNBA to no longer play the national anthem before games in the wake of historic protests against the police violence suffered by African-Americans, after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

How did Cherelle and Brittney meet?

They both attended Baylor University for undergraduate studies where Brittney graduated in 2013. On the other hand, Cherelle Watson, (her name at the time pre-marriage to Griner), graduated later in 2014. 

Brittney and Cherelle Griner are college sweethearts.  Even though they only started dating around 2017, Brittney posted about their marriage in June 2020 and wrote that it was love at first sight.

Why was Brittney Griner arrested?

Arrested in February on drug trafficking charges Brittney Griner was previously hired by the Russian team in Yekaterinburg during the American offseason, a common practice.

Sentenced to a nine-year prison term and then transferred to a penal colony in central Russia, she was freed after long negotiations in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.  

Who is Viktor Bout, the man exchanged for Brittney Griner?

Famous arms trafficker arrested in Thailand in 2008, Viktor Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the United States. Nicknamed the “merchant of death”, his extraordinary journey served as inspiration for the film Lord of War in which Nicolas Cage plays a cynical arms trafficker. Joe Biden, (who also wanted to secure the release of former US soldier Paul Whelan, who despite his denials was arrested in Russia in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for “espionage”), finally had to resolve to exchange only WNBA superstar and huge money cash cow for American sports Brittney Griner. 

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