Two years ago, WNBA star Candace Parker married the love of her life in front of close family and friends. Now, with a baby on the way, Parker and her wife are ready to tell the wold.
Parker publicly came out Tuesday, wishing a happy two-year anniversary to her partner, Anya Petrakova. The Instagram post includes a beautiful collection of photos featuring Parker, Petrakova and their 12-year-old daughter, Lailaa. Parker had Lailaa with her ex-husband, former NBA forward Shelden Williams (the couple divorced in 2018).
“I got to marry my best friend in front of our close family and friends. My heart could have exploded. I cried like a baby,” Parker writes. “To know me or you is to know our love. This journey hasn’t been easy. I am proud of us and what we have built and who we have grown to become both individually and together.”
Parker goes on to write that Lailaa is “pumped to be a big sister!”
Parker’s big announcement caps an incredible year for the two-time WNBA MVP, who led her hometown Chicago Sky to the championship last season. Her post-finals celebratory hug with Lailaa was one of the most indelible images of the playoffs.
After a dominant collegiate career at Tennessee, the Los Angeles Sparks selected Parker with the No. 1 overall pick on the 2008 WNBA Draft. She played with the Sparks through 2020, winning her first title in 2016.
Always thinking family first, Parker dedicated her big win to Lailaa, who was seven at the time. “I owe everything I am to her, just because she’s been my motivation and my reason for everything,” Parker said, via People Magazine.
At 35 years old, Parker’s legacy as one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time is set. Publicly coming out, and subsequently becoming one of the most successful out LGBTQ athletes in sports history, only adds to it.