Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Reflects on Their "Amazing" Yet "Overwhelming" New Chapter

Weeks after WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russian detention, her wife Cherelle Griner is opening up about their next chapter: "It's a new journey for us."

By Kisha Forde Dec 27, 2022 3:00 PMTags
Watch: Brittney Griner's Wife Reflects on Their Next Chapter Together

Following Brittney Griner's release from Russia, her wife Cherelle Griner is focused on their road ahead.

The WNBA star, who was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court and sentenced to 9 years in prison earlier this year, was released on Dec. 8 in a prisoner swap that freed Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Now, nearly three weeks after Brittney's return to the U.S., Cherelle is reflecting on the moment she saw her wife for the first time in almost 10 months.

"I couldn't stop touching her face," Cherelle told People Dec. 27 of reuniting with the Phoenix Mercury star, who was arrested at arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport in February for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil. "I was like, 'Is this really you?' It did not feel real. It was chilling—and warm. I was just holding on tight. I couldn't let her go."

Brittney Griner Breaks Silence After Release From Russian Captivity

And with so much to catch up on, the two understandably spent hours lost in conversation.

"The first night, we didn't sleep at all," Cherelle shared. "We just talked all night long and all morning. And it was so good to be able to do it without three weeks in between the conversation, because for 10 months we were passing letters. It was great to have that dialogue back and forth."


But as for the journey ahead, she has mixed emotions.

"On one hand, I'm doing amazing," Cherelle explained. "My family's whole, I have my person, and so I feel the most supported and safe and secure as I've ever felt in life. But it's very overwhelming. We're plus-13 days in from BG being away for almost 10 months. So it's a new journey for us. And so we're definitely trying to figure out how we blend back as one."

And that blending naturally has a lot to do with the small things in life that they treasure, including one of their favorite traditions of watching holiday movies.

"We typically watch one a night for the month of December," Cherelle noted. "We haven't even gotten to any of the new movies because we always start with The Grinch. We can't get past it because we keep talking. That's the starter, and we're officially failing."


Brittney's 10-month detention in Russia, where she played basketball during the WNBA off-season, has also brought forward a new path for Cherelle, a lawyer, which is to help advocate for wrongfully detained Americans everywhere.

"I realized how voiceless the issue is," she said. "I was 29 when Brittney was detained, and that's when I found out that it was even a real thing. That shouldn't be the case. I should have known about that before, which means we need more voices around this issue. My story came full circle. But there's so many other Americans, their story is not full circle."

And while life has changed for the couple remarkably since Brittney's arrest, it's about moving forward from here on out.

"We're mindful of the fact you can't go backwards. You say, 'Oh, let's get back to normal,'" Cherelle said. "We do understand that the normal we are referring to was what we were doing before February 17. We reminisce about certain things in the past. Still, we're trying to make sure we're not going backwards. For the most part, we're eyes focused on what's in store next for the both of us."

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App