The Golden State Warriors are in the thick of the playoff race once again and Stephen Curry is back in MVP-caliber action after missing 11 games while nursing a leg injury.
But even when he's off his game on the court, his home team is always winning.
"My forever valentine...I love you," Ayesha Curry wrote to her husband on Feb. 14 in honor of their enduring partnership, fine to keep it brief because they'd just been posting about date night, and their 10th Christmas With the Currys event, and their stop at the White House...
Let's just say, while they both have time-consuming careers, these two keep finding stellar ways to spend time together.
"My Ish! Loving this journey with you more and more," Steph captioned a few photos from a European getaway for their 11th wedding anniversary last summer. Already blessed in so many ways and who knows what's next. That's the best part! through it all- we keep growing and loving each other. Next chapter begins…"
Considering all the Basketball Wives who are no longer, or never were, wives of basketball stars, and all the drama that seems to cling to NBA players' personal lives like athletic tape, the heartwarming story of these longtime sweethearts is one to be savored.
When they got married, "I was 23; she was 22," Steph, who's celebrating his 35th birthday March 14, told Parents magazine in 2016. "But I knew I had found the right woman and I wanted to start a life with her."
The couple met when they were just 14 and 15, and members of the same church youth group in Charlotte, N.C. But the future Warriors superstar was apparently too shy to ask Ayesha out—and she wasn't allowed to date in high school.
"We always laugh that we were both focused on God," Ayesha, whose family moved to Charlotte from Toronto when she was 14, told Parents.
"He's actually one of the first people I laid eyes on when I moved to the States," Ayesha told E! News' Jason Kennedy in October 2017. "Didn't say two words to him."
She did tell her sisters she'd spotted a cute guy, "and then they made fun of me because they said he looked like a relative." Shaking her head, she added, "Which I don't see it, but everybody else seems to think that! Maybe it's 'cause we're on the same wave-length, I don't know."
Steph, son of former NBA player Dell Curry and older brother of the Brooklyn Nets' Seth Curry, went on to play basketball for North Carolina's Davidson College, where he was a two-time Southern Conference Men's Player of the Year and appeared in three straight NCAA tournaments. (He graduated in September 2022, returning to campus to get the degree he'd started 16 years earlier and have his No. 30 jersey retired.)
On a trip out to Los Angeles to attend the ESPYs in 2008, Steph and Ayesha—who'd moved west to pursue acting—reconnected.
"That was just kinda fate right there, two kids from Charlotte, meeting again in L.A. on a whim," Steph said in 2016 on In Depth With Graham Bensinger.
Ayesha remembered their re-meet-cute slightly differently...
"We were friends up until I was 19, and I thought we were just friends," Ayesha told E!, admitting that she did dodge Steph's first attempt at a kiss. "I didn't know we had those feelings—I was flattered once I realized halfway through the dive-in that he had other feelings...Oh, he came all the way in and I went like"—she ducked back. "It was mid-conversation, it was very..." she shook her head. But, "we had a do-over!"
Eventually they did have their first kiss, in the driveway of her parents' house back in North Carolina, and Steph proposed in that very spot a few years later.
"Yeah, it was like The Notebook," he told Parents. "The plan was to act like we were going to a family cookout. So we pulled up to the house, and I stopped in the middle of the driveway, got down on my knee, and went into my spiel. Little did I know the whole family was looking out the window, videotaping the moment."
They got married on July 30, 2011, and a few months later found out they were going to have a baby. Ayesha admitted to Parents that she "struggled with that for awhile" because at the time she was still trying to figure out her own next career move. Steph had been drafted by the Warriors in 2009, signing a four-year contract worth a reported $12.7 million, so they were living in the Bay Area.
But when daughter Riley Curry, destined to become queen of the NBA press conference, was born on July 19, 2012—"Riley came so fast I almost didn't have time to get my scrubs on," Steph told Bensinger—life had a way of falling into place.
Becoming a mom inspired Ayesha's next career move: Starting her own lifestyle blog and Little Lights of Mine YouTube channel, to get her cooking game on in front of an audience. "Food and my family" was her passion, she told E! News.
Having a child "puts everything into perspective. I don't ever have a bad day," Steph told Bensinger. "When I go home, knowing I have a wife and daughter to enjoy life with...especially with basketball and having that as my career...that used to be my world. That was it...Now obviously I get frustrated when things don't go your way [on the court], but when I go home, there's nothing more gratifying...I don't really know what I used to do with my free time."
Ayesha and Steph enjoyed a swoon-worthy pregame ritual where he would tap the tattoo on his left forearm, two arrows pointing at each other, and Ayesha did the same with her matching ink.
But supporting her husband at work—she told E! she was "such a passionate fan—isn't a date night. "We're in the same building, but it's all eye contact from the stands to the court. And then we have the drive home," Steph explained to Parents. Added Ayesha, "The drive home is the date."
They welcomed their second child, daughter Ryan Carson Curry, on July 10, 2015, after which Steph tweeted, "My wife is a champ!" Ayesha wrote on her blog, "The gift of life is truly an indescribable thing. We were fortunate enough to experience it all over again Friday night... Riley is completely enamored with her little sister and has taken on her role as big sister beautifully."
In 2018, just in time for fireworks, their son Canon W. Jack Curry was born on July 2. (Noting the off-season, post-playoffs birthday pattern?)
"We named him after my granddad," Steph shared on Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes' All the Smoke podcast. "He's the first boy on either side [of our family]. First boy grandbaby. He's spoiled rotten, but he's unbelievable."
The only perk of being sidelined with an injury, as Steph was for most of the 2019-2020 season after breaking his hand in October 2019, was more time at home with the family.
"The first three weeks that I was hurt I was like a stay-at-home dad," he told All the Smoke, doing "all the stuff that I'd always wanted to do, like take 'em to school, pick 'em up, go to all the extracurricular activities. My daughter's in horseback riding, playing soccer. Just being at every event without any excuse like, 'Oh I gotta be somewhere,' or having to be on a road trip and stuff."
When he's on the road, he relies on FaceTime to check in, but when he's home he's hands-on. And we're fairly certain the family has stock in matching pajamas.
"The thing I love about him is that he's not too cool for school. He'll get down on the floor and play with the girls," Ayesha told Parents. "He'll put on dress-up clothes if he has to, and he's very patient, which is something I'm not. We balance each other out."
But the couple do make a point of stealing away for adults-only time when they can, such as when they went to Paris and Lake Como for a romantic vacation in the summer of 2017, or their trip to Cabo San Lucas for Valentine's Day in 2020, date night at the Met Gala in 2021 or their excursion to Ireland last September.
Ayesha agreed with Jason Kennedy's assessment that Steph has helped make it cool for an athlete to visibly be in love with his wife.
"I think he's just never been the stereotypical guy in that environment. I'm proud of him for making that cool," she said, laughing. A proud homebody, her ideal date night is getting the kids to bed early, staying at home, "and just hammering through wine, watching TV and just cuddling."
The most romantic thing Steph had ever done? Breakfast in bed on Mother's Day, preparing recipes out of Ayesha's cookbook. "And for him to wake up early is, like, a big deal," she told Jason. "So when he does that it's really, really special to me, and he puts so much effort into it."
Breakfast in bed may have been surpassed, however, when Steph surprised her with a backyard vow renewal ceremony for their 10th anniversary, with Riley officiating.
"It's everything I've always dreamed of but didn't know could be possible in this way," she wrote on Instagram, sharing the photos a few weeks later. "A moment I will never forget."
Steph, who had made many a cameo on his wife's various food-themed shows (and they teamed up last year for their own HBO Max game show, About Last Night), has said that Ayesha really is always cooking at home, whipping up late-night snacks at a moment's notice and making family dinners.
He told ABC News that he's happy to go to the grocery store—when allowed.
"My wife doesn't let me do it that often, 'cause I always mess somethin' up," he said, laughing. "I'll forget one of the main ingredients for the recipe...So I'm on a short leash, when it comes to the grocery store runs. But I like doin' it."
Ayehsa told FabFitFun, "As a mom, I hit road bumps really often. There are days when you feel you aren't good enough or not doing enough. My husband is the one that keeps me going. [He] is my driving, motivating force, and I'm really appreciative of him for that."
When Ayesha got dragged online for in 2019 for candidly admitting on Red Table Talk that she doesn't love all the attention her husband gets from women, and that she didn't feel as if men ever noticed her, Steph was quick to step up on her behalf.
"Proud of you for being authentic and putting yourself out there—not being afraid of the potential bulls--t and nonsense that could and did come at you," he wrote to his wife on Instagram. "Way more positive than negative with all of this. Keep being you. I love you."
That kind of support has been baked into their marriage, with Ayesha noting in 2019 that the key to their family unit's long-term success is she and her husband prioritizing each other above all else.
"Because when you become a parent, you want to put your kids first, and we do," she told Hello Giggles, "but we do it second to our relationship. Because ultimately, when our relationship is good, the kids are happy and they're thriving and our family life is good. We have to put that into perspective and realize that it's not us being selfish, it's making sure we set a strong foundation."
(Originally published April 14, 2018, at 6 a.m. PT)