WNBA Star Candace Parker Is Married — and Expecting a Baby with Wife: 'Always Dreamed of Growing Our Family'
Candace Parker is excited to be a mom of two.
On Tuesday, the WNBA star, 35, announced that she and her partner Anya Petrakova are expecting a baby. Parker shared a carousel of photos on Instagram and also revealed that she and Petrakova, who is pregnant, are married.
"Happy Anniversary Моя жена! 2 years ago, 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…. 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 shared in her caption along with photos from their wedding.
"Thank you for always loving Lailaa as your own, being my calm, my support, my voice of reason, my laughs, my cuddles, my dance in the rain, my happy, my home… Thanks for constantly challenging me and telling me when I'm wrong 🙄. I LOVE YOU🐞 I appreciate you, I value you and what we have," she continued.
Parker concluded, "We've always dreamed of growing our family….it's surreal that we now have a baby on the way! Lailaa is pumped to be a big sister! You couldn't be more beautiful! Glowing, while understanding that I have to constantly love, kiss, and talk to your belly AND yes… play Jay-Z for the baby (Goose knows "Song Cry" already by heart😜 !) I can't wait to embark on this next chapter in life with you!"
The Chicago Sky captain, who helped lead her hometown team to their first-ever WNBA Championship last season, is already a mom to 12-year-old daughter Lailaa.
After defeating the Phoenix Mercury in four games in October's 2021 WNBA Finals, Parker shared a celebratory hug with her daughter, which became a viral moment after the Sky's victory.
Motherhood has been an essential part of Parker's life since she welcomed Lailaa in May 2009. During a post-Finals press conference with reporters, Parker, who won a championship with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2016, shared the special significance of sharing the latest title with Lailaa.
"I owe everything I am to her, just because she's been my motivation and my reason for everything," the NBA on TNT analyst said, noting that Lailaa was 7 years old when she won her first WNBA championship.
"We've gone through this together, you know? She sacrifices her mom so that I can live my dream. I just am so thankful for her, that she's here for the big moments, but she's also here when I don't want to get up and go work out, she sees those moments," the proud parent said. "So I just am so over the moon at how amazing she's grown up to be, and I know I'm partial, but she's an amazing young lady."
At the time, Parker also dedicated a post to her daughter. "I know people see the wins but in this journey you have been there through the losses too. I love you Lailaa Nicole. Thank you for supporting Mommy in all of her hopes and dreams! Thank you for teaching me my greatest lessons and for inspiring me every day!" she wrote along with mother-daughter photos from the 2021 win and 2016 victory.
On Monday, Parker shared a highlight reel of Lailaa's "basketball journey" in honor of the pre-teen's first seventh-grade basketball game.
"It's hard to believe this kid has her first 7th grade basketball game today🥺🥰❤️ it's bittersweet, you are growing up!" the athlete wrote on Instagram. "From playing in confetti and following me around the world while I dribble a ball. To now picking it up on your own! I HATE that I can't be there. It makes me sick, but you know I'm sending the crew to cheer you on and best believe I'm going to get the film! I LOVE YOU LAILAA."