Brittney Griner and Cherelle Griner's Relationship Timeline
Brittney and Cherelle Griner have supported each other through thick and thin.
The WNBA star and her wife got engaged in August 2018 and tied the knot one year later. However, they had met years earlier, having attended the same college, Baylor University.
Cherelle has always showed her support for Brittney's career highs, and she's shown herself to be equally dedicated to her wife during some of her most difficult moments, including when Brittney was recently detained in Russia on drug charges, making the couple the subject of international news since March 2022.
Up until Brittney's release on Dec. 8, Cherelle has been transparent about the fears and concerns she had amid her wife's imprisonment — but never strayed from showing support for her from afar, in addition to updating her fans on social media.
Here's a look back at Brittney and Cherelle's relationship timeline through the years.
RELATED: A Timeline of Brittney Griner's Detainment in Russia
2009-2013: Brittney Griner and Cherelle Griner meet
Brittney and Cherelle met for the first time during their tenure as students at Baylor University in Texas, which they attended between 2009 and 2013.
"I will never forget the day I met you at Baylor in the sub area!" the WNBA star wrote on Instagram in June 2020. "You tapped me on my shoulder and told me I took your milkshake (still up for debate lol) and I was immediately blown away at your beauty!
The two didn't start dating until years later, and Brittney recalls that it was love at first sight.
"You had no idea but I knew you were the one for me baby. You stuck by my side at the lowest and at the highest!" she continued in her Instagram post.
August 2, 2018: Brittney and Cherelle Griner get engaged
Brittney proposed to Cherelle in August 2018. "I will never forget the first time I said I love you and I will never forget when you said YES!" the basketball star wrote alongside a now-deleted Instagram post, as reported by The Grio.
"My best friend, my lover, my partner in life. I love you. I'm so lucky to have you in my life forever," she continued. "You never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself. You have pull me from the ashes and held me up when I couldn't stand. You really are my backbone and my spirit that keeps me going. I love you baby."
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June 18, 2019: Brittney and Cherelle Griner get married
Nearly one year after Brittney popped the question to Cherelle, the two tied the knot in June 2019. In the years that followed, the couple have posted sweet tributes to each other in celebration of their wedding anniversaries.
June 18, 2020: Brittney Griner celebrates her one-year wedding anniversary with Cherelle
One year after tying the knot, Brittney posted a heartfelt message to her wife. "Your love never wavered with me at any point if anything it grew and you have showed me how to love and how to be loved!" she wrote to Cherelle on Instagram.
She continued: "You over the years have also showed me what it takes to Really have a relationship that takes sacrifices, compassion, understanding, and communication! I have to give you the credit where it's due! You have opened my eyes to see me for who I truly am!"
RELATED: Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Graduates Law School with Juris Doctor Degree
July 1, 2021: Cherelle celebrates her birthday with Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner/Instagram Brittney and Cherelle Griner
In addition to thanking her followers for all the birthday wishes she received in light of her special day, Cherelle was sure to show her appreciation to Brittney for planning fun and stress-free activities to celebrate.
"Special thanks to you baby for coordinating a chill day of celebrating me! I've been operating off fumes with school/work and asked for a relaxing day! You nailed it honeybun 😘 I love you unconditionally ✨," Cherelle wrote on Instagram.
March 5, 2022: Cherelle Griner speaks out on Brittney Griner's detainment news
Mikhail Voskresensky/TASS via ZUMA Press
In the WNBA off-season, the Phoenix Mercury star plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a Russian basketball team based in the city of Yekaterinburg that competes in the Russian Premier League and FIBA Europe's EuroLeague Women.
PEOPLE reported that on Feb. 17, as she was on her way to join the team, Brittney was stopped at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport after a customs dog indicated there were drugs in the player's carry-on bag. After officers searched the bag and found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, Brittney was taken into Russian custody and charged with smuggling "narcotic drugs" into the country, where marijuana is illegal.
It wasn't until March 5 that the news of Brittney's detainment broke in the United States. That same day, Cherelle spoke out in a post on Instagram, thanking "everyone who has reached out" to her regarding her "wife's safe return from Russia."
"I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely," she concluded.
July 26, 2022: Brittney Griner wishes Cherelle 'good luck' on bar exam
On June 26, Brittney appeared in court as her legal team shared supporting evidence about the medicinal use of cannabis. In addition to the legal arguments, Brittney was able to share a message for her wife from the courtroom while speaking with a producer from ABC, GMA reported.
From behind the bars in the courtroom, at one point, Brittney was seen holding up a clear plastic folder that shows two photos, including one of Cherelle, the outlet said. "Good luck on the bar exam," Brittney told her wife.
RELATED: Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Criticizes the U.S. for Lack of Action: 'I Will Not Be Quiet Anymore'
May 7, 2022: Brittney Griner shows support for Cherelle's law school graduation
Cherelle T. Griner/Instagram
Cherelle graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law with her Juris Doctor degree in May — and while Brittney couldn't be there in person to celebrate her wife's major accomplishment, Cherelle knew she was there in spirit.
In addition to her graduation announcement news, Cherelle shared with her followers a sweet video of Brittney sporting the North Carolina university's apparel. "This is clearly BG's sweatshirt! She has more school apparel than me! Lol I love the way you support my dreams babe," the law school graduate wrote.
RELATED: Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Graduates Law School with Juris Doctor Degree
May 24, 2022: Cherelle opens up about Brittney Griner's detainment during an interview on Good Morning America
Cherelle spoke with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, saying that she and Brittney have communicated sporadically through letters amid the latter's detainment. "[Brittney] wrote me one letter and was like, 'Babe, I know you wanna go down right now but like, don't just yet,'" said Cherelle. "I won't go down until she's back ... Every single day matters for me to be sound, for me to be alert, for me to be attentive, to make sure that she comes back."
May 25, 2022: Cherelle requests President Joe Biden's help
Cherelle T. Griner/Instagram
Cherelle pleaded for President Joe Biden's help amid her wife's detainment in the Russian prison. She opened up about the helplessness she felt as she hoped for government officials to secure Brittney's safe release.
"There is one person that can go get her, and that's our president," she told ESPN's Angela Rye. "He has that power. You know, I'm just like, 'Why are we not using it? Like, urgently, use it.' We're expecting him to use his power to get it done."
Since Brittney's detainment, Cherelle said she had received support from the Phoenix Mercury, and had spoken to to Antony Blinken, U.S. secretary of state; Adam Silver, NBA commissioner; and Cathy Engelbert, WNBA commissioner. But she remained very concerned for Brittney's wellbeing.
"I'm in a position of complete vulnerability right now. I have to trust people that I didn't even know until Feb. 17," Cherelle told the outlet. "So I'm trusting her lawyers. ... 'How does she look? How is her spirit? How is her energy?' I'm just asking all those questions, trying to just get some type of indication or vibe."
RELATED: LeBron James Calls for Brittney Griner's Safe Return: 'Our Voice as Athletes Is Stronger Together'
June 21, 2022: Brittney Griner tries to call Cherelle during detainment
Since being detained by Russian authorities in February, it was very difficult for Brittney to communicate with her wife. Cherelle expressed her frustration to the Associated Press about a Russian government-approved phone call which never came through to her in the U.S.
"I find it unacceptable, and I have zero trust in our government right now," Cherelle told AP. "If I can't trust you to catch a Saturday call outside of business hours, how can I trust you to actually be negotiating on my wife's behalf to come home? Because that's a much bigger ask than to catch a Saturday call."
RELATED: Brittney Griner's Wife Cherelle Speaks Out on WNBA Star's 9-Year Sentence: 'It Terrifies Me'
June 29, 2022: Cherelle says Brittney Griner is 'struggling' behind bars
EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Brittney Griner holds up a photo of her teammates while in court
During an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on Wednesday, Cherelle gave an update on how she and Brittney are doing almost four months since the WNBA star's arrest in Moscow.
"BG is struggling, she's human," Cherelle said on Sharpton's SiriusXM show Keepin' It Real. "She's there terrified, she's there alone."
In addition to expressing her concern over Brittany's well being, Cherelle also noted that Brittney wasn't sharing all the details of her confinement, in an attempt to protect Cherelle from worrying too much.
"Because I'm her person she will always try and write persuasively to make sure I don't break because she knows I'm studying for my bar and she knows I have all these things going on and she's trying to always be my strong person," Brittney's wife said.
RELATED: Brittney Griner's Wife on Her 'Complete Vulnerability' as She Pleads for Help for Detained WNBA Player
Sept. 18, 2022: Joe Biden meets with Cherelle and other members of Brittney's family
President Biden met with Cherelle in the Oval Office to discuss her wife's release from prison. Following their time together, she uploaded an Instagram photo from her visit paired with a caption expressing her gratitude for his help and support.
"I want to thank President Biden for yesterday's meeting as well as the Administration for its efforts to secure my wife's release," Cherelle wrote. "It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love. I've felt every minute of the grueling seven months without her. I look forward to the day my wife is back home."
She continued, "As my family and I continue on this journey, I'd like to thank the broad coalition of friends, leaders and supporters who continue to stand with us and advocate for Brittney's swift and safe return."
Oct. 4, 2022: Cherelle speaks out for the first time since Brittney Griner's 9-year sentence
Christian Petersen/Getty Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, speaks during a rally.
Brittney was sentenced to nine and a half years of prison for drug possession charges on Aug. 4, 2022. After two months of silence, Cherelle publicly spoke out for the first time about the verdict and her wife's future during an interview with CBS Mornings.
"I'm like, in no world would I ever [have] thought, you know, our president and a foreign nation's president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife," Cherelle told Gayle King in her first interview since Brittney's sentencing. "And so to me, as much as everybody's telling me a different definition of what BG is, it feels to me as if she's a hostage."
She added: "It terrifies me, because when you watch movies, sometimes those situations don't end well... Sometimes they never get their person back."
Nov. 1, 2022: Cherelle asks people to write letters to Brittney Griner
At Glamour's Women of the Year Awards, Cherelle read an emotional letter she'd written to her wife to share how difficult things have been since Brittney was arrested in February. Cherelle said she "took for granted being able to talk with" Brittney before the arrest.
Asking fans to do the same, she encouraged them to letter write in support of the imprisoned basketball player via weareBG.org or by using the hashtag #WeAreBG. Cherelle said that the thoughtful gesture would go a long way.
"She is 100% not OK, and there is little I can do to ease her pain. But I believe from the bottom of my heart that while I can't bring her back, words can make a difference," Cherelle said.
RELATED: Paul Whelan, Imprisoned in Russia Since 2018, Is 'Disappointed' in U.S. Efforts to Secure His Release
Dec. 8, 2022: Cherelle says her "family is whole" after Brittney Griner was released from prison
U.S. Army South photo by Miguel Negron
On Dec. 8, Brittney was released from Russian custody in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. Upon learning the news, Cherelle said during a White House press conference that her "family is whole" again after the WNBA star was released from Russian custody.
"So over the last nine months, you all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life, and so today I am just standing here overwhelmed with emotions, but the most important emotion I have right now is just sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration," she said at the Biden-hosted meeting.
Dec. 27, 2022: Cherelle opens up to PEOPLE about Britney Griner's emotional homecoming
Following Brittney's release, Cherelle opened up about the relief she felt when she learned her wife was heading home. "I had thought about that moment a thousand times, and I thought I would be full of tears," she told PEOPLE. "But I was overwhelmingly happy. It was the first time I was able to finally exhale, and I'm like, 'Oh, thank God, this is such a great day.'"
Since returning to their shared home in Arizona, Cherelle admitted their reunion hasn't been the most restful. "The first night, we didn't sleep at all," she said, laughing. "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."
As Brittney and Cherelle rebuild their lives together, Cherelle added that they are taking this time to reconnect. "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. 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."