Jailed basketball star Brittney Griner ‘100 per cent not OK’, says wife

US basketball player Brittney Griner stands in a defendants' cage before a court hearing during her trial on charges of drug smuggling in Russia

Brittney Griner is “100 per cent not okay” after a Russian court denied the basketball star’s appeal on drug charges, says her wife. 

Cherelle Griner gave fans an update about how Brittney is fairing during Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards Tuesday (1 November). She also shared an emotional letter she’d written to her wife, opening up about how difficult things have been since Brittney was arrested in February. 

The queer Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player was detained at Sheremetyevo International Airport and was accused of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia.

“I’ve spent the last eight months riding waves of grief and to be honest, just total disbelief,” she said. “I can’t believe that I’m standing in front of you guys today and living without my favourite person, my greatest love, my sanctuary.”

Cherelle said her wife is “100 per cent not okay” despite her strength, and she said there’s “little [she] can do to ease [Brittney’s] pain”. 

“But I believe from the bottom of my heart that while I can’t bring her back, words can make a difference,” she said. 

She encouraged fans to write letters to Brittney to show their support via weareBG.org or by using the hashtag #WeAreBG.


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A Russian court found Brittney had criminal intent and said she was guilty of smuggling illegal drugs into the country. The judge sentenced the two-time Olympic gold medalist to a nine-year jail term in August.

A court rejected Brittney Griner’s appeal against her sentence on 25 October. The Phoenix Mercury star apologised for her “mistake” during a virtual hearing and said it has been “traumatic” to be away from her loved ones in the US for months.

Cherelle said she’s “missing everything” about Brittney, especially her “friendship”, as she read a heartfelt message to her wife aloud during the Glamour ceremony.

“I took for granted being able to talk with you,” she shared. “I catch myself picking up my phone, only to sit it back down because your voice is the only voice I want to hear. It’s giving, I’ll likely talk your ear off once you’re home.

She continued: “I know your heart is heavy right now babe. I wish you were here to feel all the love that surrounds you. 

“You are not forgotten. So, keep your head up champ. This too shall pass! I love you and I cannot wait for the day that I get to embrace you!”

Brittney Griner kisses her wife Cherelle Griner in the stands after a basketball game

Cherelle Griner wrote in a letter that she’s “missing everything” about Brittney Griner and wished her wife could “feel all the love that surrounds her”. (Getty)

Cherelle met with president Joe Biden in September to the White House’s efforts to secure Brittney Griner’s release. 

Biden “appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Brittney” from the WNBA player’s wife, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. The president “acknowledged that every minute” Brittney is “being held is a minute too long”. 

Cherelle described feeling “every minute” of the “gruelling” months without Brittney and “looked forward to the day [her] wife is back home”.