Cherelle Griner is thankful that after months of captivity, her wife Brittney Griner is finally on her way home.
Moments after it was confirmed the WNBA star was released after spending 294 days in Russian custody, Brittney's wife spoke out to thank President Joe Biden and those who assisted in the effort to get Brittney free.
"Over the last nine months you all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life," Cherelle said in a Dec. 8 statement, given from the White House. "And so today I am just standing here overwhelmed with emotions, but the most important emotion that I have right now is just sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration. He just mentioned this work is not easy and it has not been."
Cherelle also went on to acknowledge the "many hands involved" in securing the athlete's release, including Vice President Kamala Harris and the National Security Council, among other officials.
But as she noted, "there are so many other families who are not whole" and remain in captivity, including American businessman Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018.
"B.G. is not here to say this," she continued. ‘But I will gladly speak on her behalf to say B.G. and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate B.G. being home."
"We do understand that there are still people out here who are enduring what I endure the last nine months of missing tremendously their loved ones," Cherelle added. "So, thank you everybody to their support and today is a happy day for me and my family, but I'm going to smile right now."
On Dec. 8, Brittney was freed in a prisoner swap that saw the U.S. return Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was 11 years into a 25-year sentence, to Russia.
The 32-year-old's release comes almost a year after her February 2021 arrest at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil in her luggage.
In August, the Phoenix Mercury star was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court and sentenced to 9 years in prison and was transferred to a penal colony in Russia's Mordovia region in November.
"Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner," the president tweeted on Dec. 8 alongside photos with Cherelle and the Vice President at the White House. "She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home."