Wade gets day in court in custody battle
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Testifying for the first time in a case for custody of his children, Dwyane Wade denied on Friday a slew of allegations made by ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade.
The Miami Heat superstar said he never abused or abandoned them, denied using drugs or owning guns, and indicated he was a victim of domestic violence.
He also rebutted the charge that he engaged in sex acts with his girlfriend in front of his boys.
Wade spent much of the day answering questions from his attorney, Jim Pritikin, and is expected to testify again on Monday.
“For the first time I have an opportunity to have my voice heard,” said Wade, wearing a pinstriped suit and Louis Vuitton sneakers. “It’s great the court has allowed me to (give it).”
He used that opportunity to paint a picture of a caring father who only wants what’s best for his sons, ages 8 and 3, and wouldn’t let his career get in the way, while responding to a long list of claims made by his ex-wife in court papers.
One was that he used drugs and drank, which Wade denied.
“Never drank, never smoked, anything like that,” he said.
Another was that he keeps weapons in his Chicago home.
“No weapons,” Wade said.
One of the wilder allegations involved actress Gabrielle Union, whom Wade said he is still dating.
In May, Siohvaughn Wade filed a lawsuit on the children’s behalf saying Wade and Union engaged in sex acts in front of the boys, which “severely inflicted the Plaintiffs emotionally and mentally.” It also claims that the boys received “medium size gifts” from Dwyane Wade for Christmas last year, while Union got “the biggest gift of all.”
That suit was dismissed.
Wade said, flat out, “never happened” when Pritkin asked about the sexual foreplay. As for giving Union bigger gifts, he responded, “Not at all.”
Wade testified that that a then-pregnant Siohvaughn attacked him and threw a marble object at him during an argument in the bathroom at the home they shared in Florida. He said that he “sat her down aggressively” on an ottoman during that argument to subdue her, but that she kept swinging and hit herself, resulting in a bloody lip.
He also denied claims that he abandoned her and the children, hit them, endangered the boys’ lives and unleashed expletive-laced tirades at his older son while ignoring the younger one.
He testified his ex-wife stopped returning calls, texts and e-mails and wouldn’t allow him to see the kids unless she was around.
He insisted he’s not seeking custody simply to avoid child support. And he said he still wants Siohvaughn to be involved with them and believes they could have joint custody down the road, although “a lot of things” would have to take place.
Plenty has happened in Wade’s life the past few months.
Over the summer, the 2006 NBA finals MVP decided to stay in Miami and form a superstar triumvirate with LeBron James and Chris Bosh after being wooed by other teams, including his hometown Bulls.
He settled four civil cases in Miami stemming from failed business deals, and his divorce from his high school sweetheart was finalized in June after nearly a three-year separation.
The appointed attorney for the children recommended last month to the court that Dwyane Wade be awarded custody, and that their mother should agree to undergo “extensive therapy” as part of any scenario in which she would have visitation privileges.
Dwyane Wade was awarded “physical possession” of his sons in June by a judge, who found that an emergency order was merited because Wade’s time for visitation with his children “has been frustrated on an ongoing basis as a result of continual interference” by his ex-wife. They’re still living with their mother, though.
“I would like to see parents raise their children together, but I believe it’s in the best interest of these children that custody be awarded to dad,” said Lester Barclay, the boys’ attorney. “He is the parent that could facilitate a loving and ongoing relationship between the children and both of their parents. I just think there’s been too much interference with the relationship between dad and the children under mom’s watch.”
Wade, meanwhile, said all this has been particularly hard on his oldest son and that “it hurts to see him go through this.”
He also said keeping quiet wasn’t easy.
“Human reaction is to automatically shoot back, fire back,” he said.
Received 10/15/10 10:13 pm ET