Now that Brittney Griner is finally home following nearly one year in Russian custody, her wife is thanking the people who made her return possible.
This weekend, Cherelle Griner shared her first Instagram post since the WNBA star’s release. In it, she included two collages featuring photos of friends and advocates who used their voices to call for Griner’s freedom.
“Yesterday my heart was made whole thanks to the collective efforts of MANY! I’m humbled by their hearts. To care for another, a stranger to some, a friend to some—is humanity in its purest form!” Cherelle, who’s been married to Brittney since 2019, wrote.
Brittney was released from Russian custody last Thursday, December 8, after President Joe Biden negotiated a prisoner swap with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The pro basketball player was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport by Russian authorities in February for having vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil in her luggage, and spent the next 10 months in Russian custody. The athlete was in Russia at the time to play in the Russian women’s professional basketball league. She admitted to having the cartridges, but said it was an accident that she had packed them, and documents showed the cannabis oil was legally prescribed to her by her U.S. doctor for pain management, per NBC News.
“As BG and I start our journey to heal our minds, bodies, and spirits— I wanted to personally say thank you to some of the hands; seen and unseen, that helped make it possible for me to see my wife again!” Cherelle continued in her post, adding a special thanks to the Biden–Harris administration and the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA).
Cherelle also brought attention to the case of Paul Whelan, a 52-year-old retired U.S. Marine Corps veteran who, during a visit to Russia in December 2018 to attend a colleague’s wedding, was arrested on espionage charges that the United States has said are false, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He remains in Russian custody.
“I appreciate each and every one of you! Let’s continue to use our hands, voices, platforms, and resources to bring Paul and all Americans home. All families deserve to be whole!” Cherelle wrote.
Rosa Sanchez is the senior news editor at Harper’s Bazaar, working on news as it relates to entertainment, fashion, and culture. Previously, she was a news editor at ABC News and, prior to that, a managing editor of celebrity news at American Media. She has also written features for Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Forbes, and The Hollywood Reporter, among other outlets.