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Dwyane Wade 'very disappointed' as ex-wife files petition objecting to daughter Zaya's legal name change

Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade and Gabrielle Union in March 2020.
Dwyane Wade, Zaya Wade and Gabrielle Union in March 2020. (Photo: Getty Images) (Andrew Toth via Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade issued a statement overnight in response to his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, attempting to block their 15-year-old daughter Zaya from legally changing her name and gender. In a statement on social media, the former NBA star called out Funches-Wade for being an "absent parent" and disregarding their children's needs.

"Since this must be the new way of parenting, I guess I have to address these allegations here, which is a damn shame," Wade began, who also shares 20-year-old son Zaire with Funches-Wade. "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."

On Tuesday, Funches-Wade filed a petition objecting to Zaya legally changing her name and gender, claiming her ex-husband is financially benefiting from their daughter's transition. Wade filed papers in August seeking "recognition of minor's change of gender and issuance of new birth certificate and change of name."

In his statement on Thursday, Wade said he's not "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 continued. "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."

Funches-Wade and Wade married in 2002, but he filed for divorce five years later. Their contentious split was drawn out for years with the athlete ultimately getting sole custody of their two children. In 2012, Funches-Wade was arrested for attempted child abduction after failing to return the kids on time. Wade referenced her past "damaging lies" a decade ago in Thursday's statement and claimed his ex-wife has neglected to co-parent.

"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! She won't do it!," Wade alleged, adding that "Zaya has given her every opportunity to try to get to know her."

Wade further claimed his ex has not made any effort "to participate in her children's lives in over a decade."

Dwyane Wade and ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade at the 2006 ESPY Awards.
Dwyane Wade and ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade at the 2006 ESPY Awards. (Photo: Getty Images) (Frazer Harrison via Getty Images)

"Zaya is not that same 3 year child anymore and she's screaming that to the world but most importantly to her Mother!" Wade continued. "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."

Zaire wrote a message of support to his sister on Instagram on Thursday, writing, "I love you Zaya."

In Funches-Wade's filing this week, she claims that their divorce settlement entitles her to be included on decisions like Zaya's gender change.

According to documents obtained by People, Funches-Wade claims her ex-husband is "positioned to profit from the minor child's name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney."

"I have concerns that [Dwyane] may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies," she alleged.

Funches-Wade claims she met with her ex-husband in Atalanta in April where he "informed me that a lot of money had been already made and that additional money will be made in relation to our child's name and gender issue."

"[Wade] told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith," she claimed.

Wade first revealed in 2020 that Zaya came out as transgender. He and Union have been publicly supportive of her journey over the past years.

A hearing is set for Dec. 12 in the case.

MORE: Dwyane Wade on why he's blocked comments on daughter Zaya's social media