MIAMI (AP) — Adding to an already contentious divorce battle, Dwyane Wade’s estranged wife has filed a lawsuit, claiming his relationship with actress Gabrielle Union is causing her and the star Miami Heat guard’s two sons emotional distress.
Dwyane Wade called the lawsuit “baseless and meritless,” and Union issued a statement insisting the allegations are false.
Siohvaughn Wade filed the suit in Chicago this week, the latest chapter in the lengthy, often-nasty divorce saga between the former high school sweethearts who separated in 2007. She and Dwyane Wade had two sons, ages 8 and 2, who are listed as plaintiffs.
An attorney for Siohvaughn Wade did not immediately respond to an interview request.
“Each and every allegation made is entirely false,” said C. Anthony Mulrain, an attorney for Union.
The lawsuit alleges Union “engaged in sexual foreplay” 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.”
“Defendant has played sexually explicit roles, including roles as a seductress,” the lawsuit reads. “Defendant has apparently decided to take her role beyond the films and into the home of a married man, Dwyane Wade, in the presence of his two minor children.”
Damages in excess of $50,000 are being sought by Siohvaughn Wade.
Mulrain, Union’s attorney, said the accusations were first made about a month ago in court, although the actress was not named as a defendant at that time.
“The court ultimately rejected these claims as frivolous,” Mulrain said. “Gabrielle apologizes to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois for tying them up with erroneous claims when there are real victims who should be receiving the legal attention they need.”
The suit also alleges that the Wade’s oldest son has suffered from anxiety, manifesting itself in “significant hair loss causing bald spots” and that the younger son “is suffering from feelings of rejection and depression.”
Said Dwyane Wade: “My primary concern is my children and actions such as this only inflame the situation and are harmful to their well being.”
Trial in the divorce case has been scheduled for June, although a motion is pending to have that pushed back until September. Dwyane Wade’s side remains hopeful that a settlement could be reached beforehand; many have been offered in recent years, all of them refused.
It’s also possible that the court could rule on Dwyane Wade’s custody plea before the divorce case goes to trial or is settled.
“She makes allegations about some incidents that occurred in December 2009 at or around Christmas when the children were with Dwyane, including some foreplay, hugging, kissing and other allegations,” said James Pritikin, Dwyane Wade’s attorney. “This pops up for the first time in this complaint, which seems to suggest to me that it’s rather creative writing.”
Several other matters involving the former couple are pending, including a request by Dwyane Wade for sole custody of his children and that his wife be psychologically evaluated. Siohvaughn Wade has alleged Dwyane Wade abandoned his children and that he was “guilty of extreme and repeated mental cruelty” toward her.
“I can state with certainty that the claims Siohvaughn made about Gabrielle are untrue,” Dwyane Wade said. “I am deeply saddened and disappointed that Siohvaughn has used our sons once again as pawns and is now lashing out at Gabrielle, who is an innocent party. It is clear that this is a desperate attempt to retaliate against me for seeking sole custody of our children.”
A perennial All-Star and former NBA scoring champion, Dwyane Wade has a number of other lawsuits pending stemming from failed business deals. He will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Heat and become a free agent July 1, at which time he’ll receive a six-year offer from Miami that could be worth about $127 million — far more than any other NBA club could pay him.
The custody battle and divorce case, he said last week, could “overshadow” his free-agent maneuvering.
“It’s going to be a very busy summer, challenging summer and important summer for my life off the court and on the court,” Wade said last week. “I have big decisions ahead of me. It’s not easy.”
Siohvaughn Wade also recently filed a libel-slander lawsuit against former friend Andrea Williams, who claimed in a deposition that Mrs. Wade bought a man she was romantically involved with from 2004 through 2007 a car and a motorcycle, threatened to find a gun and shoot Dwyane Wade, and voluntarily entered an Illinois hospital to deal with anger-related issues.
Plus, Nottage and Ward LLP, the Chicago law firm that was representing Siohvaughn Wade in the divorce, has been excused from that case after citing “an impasse” and “irreconcilable differences” between attorney and client.
Associated Press Writer Don Babwin in Chicago contributed to this report.