Brittney Griner’s Wife Opens Up About Her Tearful Return From Russian Imprisonment

Cherelle Griner is reflecting on her wife, Brittney Griner, returning home after the NBA star spent months incarcerated in a Russian prison.

Brittney was spending a nine-year sentence in the nation after being caught on February 17 with what was deemed an illicit substance by Russian airport authorities.

The WNBA star was released on a swap deal and reunited with Cherelle on December 9. The long-awaited meeting was emotional for the pair as they broke down in tears upon sighting themselves.

They are currently reconnecting and exchanging individual stories about their experiences through the ordeal.

Read on to learn more.

‘We Were Both Just Instantly Crying’

Brittney Griner is back home and wife Cherelle is over the moon

In an interview with People Magazine, Cherelle recalled her emotional reunion with her wife, Britney, after they had spent nearly a year apart due to the NBA star being detained in a Russian prison on drug charges.

“We were both just instantly crying,” she said, recalling the moment she saw Brittney through the plane’s window as it landed. “I was standing there full of tears, and someone ran over and handed me a handkerchief. I definitely needed it.”

The ordeal became even more surreal for Cherelle when the NBA star finally disembarked from the plane. She could not believe that her wish to see her wife return home had finally come true after 294 days.

“I was just holding on tight. I couldn’t let her go,” the attorney added per the publication. “I couldn’t stop touching her face. I was like: ‘Is this really you?’ It did not feel real. It was chilling.”

Why Brittney Griner Was Arrested


On February 17, Brittney was found in possession of a vape pen containing hash oil by Russian airport authorities and was taken into detention. She was in the nation at the time, playing for the UMMC Ekaterinburg squad in the Russian Premier League as part of her offseason activities.

Brittney was subsequently charged with smuggling illegal drugs and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison after being found guilty in a trial.


“It was almost as if somebody just punched you in the stomach, and you inhaled,” Cherelle recalled she received when she heard the news of her wife’s sentence. “You never get to breathe out.”

After months of passionately advocating for Brittney’s release, Cherelle was informed by the White House that a swap deal was in place to bring her wife home on December 9. The exchange involved the WNBA star being released for a notorious prisoner named Viktor Bout, who is infamously known as the Merchant of Death.

Cherelle Griner ‘Was Hopeless A Lot Of Days’

United States President Joe Biden, alongside Cherelle Griner, prepares to announce a prisoner exchange with Russia from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 08 December 2022.United States President Joe Biden, alongside Cherelle Griner, prepares to announce a prisoner exchange with Russia from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 08 December 2022.

Although Cherelle is now re-bonding with her wife, there were times that her hope to see her again hung by a thread. However, she refused to give up even when it seemed Brittney might live out the rest of her nine-year sentence.

“I was hopeless a lot of days,” Cherelle confessed during the interview. “You try and stay grounded, but I’m human. Still, I would never completely give up hope on my wife’s life.”

All through Brittney’s incarceration, Cherelle would spend several nights besieged by worry or spending the time talking to her wife’s lawyers.

When Brittney was finally back home in their Arizona home, the pair spent their first night talking as they only got to communicate with letters previously.

“The first night, we didn’t sleep at all, “Cherelle recounted. ‘We just talked all night long and all morning. And it was so good to be able to do it …It was great to have that dialogue back and forth.”

Cherelle And Brittney Griner Are Figuring Out How To ‘Blend Back As One’

Brittney Griner and wife Cherelle

Now, the pair have decided not to dwell on how much time they have lost but to share their unique experiences through the ordeal, hoping they can figure out “figure out how we blend back as one.”

“It’s unfortunate that those 10 months happened without us being able to be side-by-side,” Cherelle said. “But it happened, and we’re embracing the fact that we now get to learn each other’s story through that time.”

She added per People, “So we’re taking it slow. We are not doing it all at once. But we are honoring the fact that I went through something that was really hard and difficult without BG’s awareness, and vice versa. Day by day, we’re just feeding a little bit to the soul and understanding each other’s journey so we can actually start walking together.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *