D-Wade’s ex-wife Siovaughn is going to great lengths to convince everyone that she’s not crazy… In a lengthy new interview she discusses the pain of losing custody of her sons and describes how she feels the NBA lifestyle destroyed her relationship with her ex Dwyane Wade.
She felt moved to publicly reveal her torment weeks after Wade, who has enjoyed a nine-year career as shooting guard with the Miami Heat and accrued a fortune of $65 million, released his book, A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball.
The memoir’s portrayal of Wade, 30, is fiercely disputed by his ex-wife, who said she saw him harshly discipline their eldest son, Zaire, now 10, in a repeat of the own emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his strict father.
‘I was concerned,’ Siohvaughn, 31, said. ‘There was not a time out or anything. Zaire was small in age and small in size.
I would remind Dwyane of the things that had happened to him when I noticed him doing it to his sons. If this sort of thing was happening inside the house what was happening when I wasn’t there?’
She passed on her fears at custody evaluations during their lengthy dispute over who would get their two children, Zaire, 10, and Zion, five, but her concerns were ignored, she said.
Despite an expert witness concluding that the children would be best placed with their mother in Chicago – with two visits to their father’s Miami home each month – the court gave Wade custody of the youngsters on March 11, 2011, a decision she puts down to his ‘celebrity, influence and money’.
He was granted sole custody of the children, with two visits a month from their mother. The judge also ordered no contact between Siohvaughn and the boys for 30 days.
News of the ruling came through just hours after Siohvaughn had kissed her sons goodbye as they boarded a plane for their fortnightly trip to Miami.
‘I promised them I would see them on Sunday; I learned from that not to make children promises,’ she said, tearfully.
‘When my lawyer called, I knew it was bad news but I begged him to tell me. I remember taking a moment to pause. I could break down at that moment or I could say, “God help me”. There’s no money that can buy that kind of strength.
‘In the hours and weeks after, I cried and cried and I remember being scared when I’d see them again. Would they look different? Would their clothes still fit them? Would they still love me? I worried that they would think I wanted them to go away. There’s nothing anyone could have done for me to say, “Get me away from them”.’
Siohvaughn said the judge ordered she not contact the boys for a month as they settled in with their father – a ruling that horrified her.
‘The way it broke down was heartbreaking. It was a mourning to me rather than a divorce. This person I had loved was literally dead’
‘How devastating and traumatic for these two small boys,’ she said, sobbing. ‘Zion was a baby. To tell your baby that I’m going to see them in two days and that turns into two months. I can’t describe what it felt like to speak to them after 30 days. They were crying so hard they couldn’t even talk.’
I was worried,’ Siovhaughn said of his parenting. ‘The things that [the children] went through – I feared they would be hurt. I was worried that I failed at protecting [Zaire]. I was worried about their emotional well being because I knew how it felt and I couldn’t imagine how that would be as a child. It was devastating.’
Despite these fears – as well as claims he was physically abusive with Siohvaughn – Wade was granted sole custody, and his ex-wife is certain the courts were seduced by his celebrity.
‘I think influence had a lot to do with it,’ she said. ‘Celebrity had a lot to do with it. Money had a lot to do with it.’
Her attorney, Brian Hurst, agreed. ‘You can’t help but wonder if the celebrity and the notoriety and the money had an impact on [the case],’ he said.
‘Mr Wade’s attorneys were very successful in creating a negative portrayal of Siohvaughn in the media. They were successful in making that stick. It has been a real ordeal for her.’
He added that the case was ‘unusual’.
‘There was a supportive family for the children [in Chicago],’ he said. ‘Mr Wade has a career and a schedule which is not amenable to small children [as a single parent].’
That does sound like a heartbreaking experience as a mother, but we can’t imagine it would have been easy for D-Wade if things were the other way around and he was separated from his kids for a full month without any contact at all allowed.
Would a phone call have been so terrible?
Hit the flip for Siohvaughn’s take on what went so wrong in the first place…