Romantic relationships can have their fair share of bumps in the road – whether you’re a football legend, a chart-topping singer or just a regular person on the street. And while for some married couples, the bond becomes stronger with time, others eventually decide to call it a day and look elsewhere to start from scratch. After all, who’s to say that you won’t find true love just around the corner? When Russell Wilson and Ciara found romance together, though, they ultimately made a decision that caused some controversy: to keep things chaste until after they had wed. And when the pair candidly opened up about their decision to abstain, what they said may just get others doing the same.
Furthermore, Ciara and Wilson’s choice may have been influenced by what they had both gone through in past relationships. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback had previously been wed before to high school sweetheart Ashton Meem, although the couple ultimately split in 2014 after just two years of marriage.
And Ciara had also endured a tough period in her personal life. Back in 2013, the singer had celebrated her engagement to rapper Future. Then, a few months later, she had welcomed her first baby – a son named Future Zahir Wilburn – into the world. Ultimately, though, things between Ciara and Future began to disintegrate.
So, in August 2014 the singer finally broke up with her beau amid rumors that he had cheated on her. Despite that heartbreak, though, Ciara was able to eventually bounce back, finding new love with Wilson. The new couple’s relationship thrived, too, leading them in March 2016 to decide to tie the knot. But before the pair became man and wife, they took a vow of celibacy – the very same decision that Ciara chose to explain in an interview with Cosmopolitan.
Ciara and Wilson had each had their own fair share of success by that point, though. Born in November 1988, Wilson was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, before his family packed their bags for Richmond, Virginia. There, the future NFL star grew up alongside his two siblings, Anna and Harrison IV. And during this period, Wilson was introduced to football by his brother and his dad, Harrison III.
Wilson’s dad was in fact a former college football player, having represented Dartmouth College some years before. In 1980 he had even made the cut for the San Diego Chargers’ pre-season team, for whom he had played wide receiver. And in time, Harrison’s son would follow in his footsteps – and eclipse his father’s success on the field to boot.
After the younger Wilson’s introduction to the sport at the age of four, he took to the field for his first youth football game with the Tuckahoe Tomahawks when he was in sixth grade. Then, during his junior year at the Collegiate School in Richmond, he showed signs of future brilliance by racking up some impressive stats in play.
Wilson bagged a number of passing touchdowns as a junior quarterback, in fact, while his passing yards total ultimately came to over 3,200 for the 2005 season. During that period, he also registered more than 15 rushing touchdowns and 600 rushing yards. Thanks to his sterling performance, then, Wilson earned the prestigious Player of the Year accolade from the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.
Wilson followed that success up with another excellent season during his senior year, with 34 passing touchdowns and more than 3,000 passing yards to his credit. The quarterback’s rushing game greatly improved on his first year, too, with the star in the making racking up 18 touchdowns and over 1,100 rushing yards during offensive play.
Thanks in no small part to Wilson, then, the Collegiate School team reached the state championship game that year. And after they went on to win the game, the quarterback earned a shout-out in Sports Illustrated magazine – proof for sure that he was on the right track. But a big decision was looming large.
You see, as Wilson’s time at the Collegiate School began to come to an end, he naturally had to decide which college he was going to attend. And picking the right institution was crucial, as it could make or break his promising football career. So, while Wilson had the choice of enrolling at either Duke University or North Carolina State University, he ultimately decided to become part of the Wolfpack.
Then, although Wilson was held back from playing ahead of the 2007 season, the conclusion of his redshirt year saw the rising star return to the field for 2008. And following his hiatus, Wilson enjoyed an excellent freshman campaign.
From 275 attempted passes during the 2008 season, Wilson successfully completed 150, while only a single interception was added to his record along with 17 touchdowns. Wilson’s passing yards for the Wolfpack came in at just under 2,000, too.
And over the next few years, Wilson would continue to establish himself as one of the most promising college football talents around. In April 2011, though, the quarterback took the next step in his fledgling career – and only time would tell whether it worked out.
That year, Wilson decided to jump ship to Wisconsin, and fortunately all seemed to go swimmingly. The player to watch – who had by now graduated from NC State – even took the Badgers to a win over the Spartans at the history-making 2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game. With his star continuing to shine, then, Wilson seemed sure to be picked up in the 2012 NFL Draft.
And the quarterback was duly recruited to the Seattle Seahawks during the third round – bringing him finally into the big leagues. Wilson’s career hit new heights in 2014, too, as he won the Super Bowl in just his second season with the Seahawks – beating the Denver Broncos 43–8. But although the player was excelling on the field, he was having more trouble behind the scenes.
Back in January 2012, Wilson and Meem had tied the knot, but by April 2014 the marriage had deteriorated to such a point that the NFL star started divorce proceedings. That revelation was made via a written statement on the Seahawks blog, and it touched on the impact of the separation for Wilson.
“I have made the difficult decision to file for divorce,” Wilson wrote in the statement. “Clearly, decisions like these don’t come easy. Ashton and I respectfully ask for prayers, understanding and privacy during this difficult time. Moving forward, I will have no further comment on this personal matter.”
But Wilson wasn’t single for long, as in the early months of 2015 he began to date Ciara. Much like him, the musician had faced a heartbreaking spell in the months before, while she too was a committed Christian. And it wasn’t long before things started to get serious between the pair.
Born in October 1985, Ciara had grown up alongside parents Carlton and Jackie Harris, who had been in the army and U.S. Air Force, respectively. So, although the future songstress had actually entered the world in Austin, Texas, she spent the first few years of her life living in military bases in New York, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and even Germany.
Finally, Ciara’s family made Atlanta, Georgia, their home when she was a teenager. And at this time, Ciara also harbored a clear ambition. Following a spell in a girl group named Hearsay – and after finishing her studies at Riverdale High School – the young singer signed a deal with a record label in 2003. It looked likely, then, that she would get a shot at the big time.
And when Ciara’s first solo release, Goodies, hit the shelves in September 2004, it catapulted her to the top three of the Billboard 200. The singer was then nominated for two Grammys in 2006, receiving nods in both the Best New Artist and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration categories. More success was to come, too.
Yes, after the star’s sophomore release, titled Ciara: The Evolution, was finally unleashed in December 2006, it went on to better the performance of its predecessor. That record topped the American charts upon its release, with over 330,000 units being sold in its opening week.
And the R&B artist’s third full-length release, Fantasy Ride, similarly did well, as in May 2009 the LP again scaled the dizzy heights of the U.S. album chart. However, the singer suffered a downturn in her fortunes in 2010, as her fourth album failed to live up to the numbers that she had achieved before.
Sadly, after Basic Instinct hit the shelves in December 2010, it didn’t even make it into the top 40 of the Billboard tally. But while this could have indicated a stalling career, Ciara wasn’t done yet. When her self-titled fifth studio effort emerged in the summer of 2013, it was considerably better received – and cracked the top two.
Before releasing her sixth record, Jackie in May 2015, though, Ciara had been through a whirlwind few months in her personal life. Back in August 2014, of course, she had left her then-fiancé Future amid unconfirmed allegations that he had cheated on her.
And Ciara had made that decision just three months after she and the hip-hop star had had their first child together. Nevertheless, the musician’s life took another significant turn in 2015 when she and Wilson became a couple. The two eventually went public with their romance that spring, appearing at – of all places – the White House. Yet this wouldn’t be the only surprise to grab the public’s attention.
You see, in February 2016 Ciara divulged an interesting detail about her relationship with Wilson. According to her, the duo had decided to hold off on making love until after their marriage. Regarding the arrangement, the singer told Cosmopolitan, “It’s going pretty good. We’re hanging in there.” But her thoughts didn’t end with that point.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Ciara continued. “I’m human, so it is not easy, especially when I look at [Wilson], and I think he is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – that I’ve ever laid my eyes on, to be honest. I’m like, ‘Look the other way! Look the other way!’” Yes, the two had taken a vow of celibacy until after their marriage – not a course that one can imagine most celebrity couples taking.
And Ciara then spoke about the bond that she’d built with Wilson. “We get to have really healthy conversations and focus on each other as people,” she said. “That is very important to me and him. It’s very valuable. We’re just enjoying ourselves and going one day at a time and praying and staying positive. Being strong here!” Wilson, meanwhile, took to another public venue to talk about the topic.
At a gathering at Rock Church in San Diego, California, Wilson explained how the two had come to the agreement – and he had a good explanation for the deal. According to People, the NFL star revealed, “I said to [Ciara], and she completely agreed, ‘Can we love each other without that?’” He added, “If you can love somebody without that, then you can really love somebody.”
And just a month after Ciara’s revealing interview, she and Wilson announced their engagement. For the musician, though, it all came as something of a shock, as the question was apparently popped during an unexpected vacation. “Following Paris Fashion Week, Russell surprised Ciara with a surprise holiday,” one of her representatives told People in March 2016.
Ciara’s rep added, “[Ciara] was shocked when they landed in the Seychelles at the exclusive resort [of] North Island. The biggest surprise was that Russell proposed to his new fiancée at the romantic private Honeymoon Beach, located on North Island.” And, naturally, the couple were quick to share the happy news on social media.
Plus, when an ecstatic Wilson posted a short video on Instagram confirming everything, the clip drew a big response. The post earned over one million views on the social media site, in fact, along with more than 170,000 likes from online users. Ciara, meanwhile, chose to take to Twitter to share her reaction to the engagement.
“[Wilson has] got that all factor,” Ciara tweeted. “He got it all.” And in another message on the social media platform, she wrote, “God is good! Grateful for you, Russell Wilson. You are heaven sent. I’m looking forward to spending forever with you.” The wedding itself was due to take place in the summer of 2016.
Then, in the build-up to the big day, Ciara reflected on her mindset prior to meeting Wilson. “I remember telling my friend the kind of guy I wanted,” she told Essence in April 2016. “[My wish was for a] God-fearing man with a very fun spirit who loves kids and would really, truly care for me.”
Ciara added, “I was very specific because I do believe you can have it all.” And after having finally found that man, she tied the knot with Wilson in July 2016 in Cheshire, England. The ceremony was held outside Peckforton Castle in the county, and the couple were surrounded by family and some famous friends.
Yes, Kelly Rowland, Jimmy Graham, Jennifer Hudson and Robert Turbin were all there to wish the newlyweds good luck. Serena Williams was set to join them, too, but she found that she ultimately couldn’t attend after qualifying for the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. And some three months after the wedding, Ciara and Wilson had yet another announcement to share.
What’s more, the news was good: in October 2016 Ciara and Wilson confirmed that they were expecting a baby. A little girl duly arrived in the spring of the following year, with the couple naming her Sienna Princess Wilson. But that added responsibility hasn’t seemed to have put back the couple’s respective careers any.
In fact, thanks to Wilson’s consistent performances for the Seahawks, in April 2019 he bagged a contract worth $140 million – keeping him with the team for another four years. That makes the quarterback now the NFL’s top-earning player. And Ciara has been busy, too, following the May 2019 release of her latest album – which she titled Beauty Marks.