Inside Candace Parker and Wife Anna Petrakova's Relationship
Prior to their relationship turning romantic, WNBA star Candace Parker and wife Anna Petrakova were teammates and friends first first. While the couple's love story certainly shows you can meet someone on the court, it's important to first understand Parker's impact on women's basketball and why WNBA fans are so fond of her athletic accomplishments.
Parker's journey to basketball stardom began at an early age, having risen to national prominence during her high school years and earning the title of the Gatorade Female Basketball Player of the Year–twice. During Candace Parker's college days at the University of Tennessee, she became a standout player, securing two NCAA championships and numerous individual accolades, including the Naismith College Player of the Year award. Her impact transcends the collegiate level, having become the first overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks. As a 2-time WNBA MVP, Parker's prowess on the court is not one to be taken lightly; she's earned a reputation as one of the league's most versatile and dominant players.
Due to a foot fracture, it's unlikely that Parker will be representing the USA team at the Paris Olympics in 2024. The WNBA superstar also didn't participate in 2016 despite winning two gold medals in 2008 and 2012. While her success in basketball is more than enough to celebrate, Parker's impact extends beyond the sport. As a role model for aspiring athletes everywhere, an advocate for women's sports, and a devoted wife and mother of two, her story resonates far beyond her athletic achievements. Here's what we know about her life off the court.
- Is Candace Parker married? She's married to Russian basketball player, Anna Petrakova.
- Candace Parker met her wife in 2012.
- Candace Parker has a daughter, 14-year-old Lailaa, from her first marriage to former NBA player Sheldon Williams.
- Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova welcomed a son named Airr on February 11, 2022.
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Who is Candace Parker's Wife, Anna Petrakova?
Anna Petrakova is a former pro-basketball player from Russia. In 2002, Petrakova moved to America to play basketball at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she learned to speak English. While at college, she became the first-ever athlete to be named the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Year.
After she left school, Petrakova played professionally with Nur in Kazan, Russia. According to the International Basketball Federation, she played for several teams over the span of her career, including Spartak, CSKA Moscow, Chevakata Vologda, Dynamo Kursk and UMMC Ekaterinburg.
In 2012, she played on Russia's Women's National Basketball Team in the Summer Olympics in London, where they finished in fourth. She also won the EuroCup Women's Championship, became a champion in EuroLeague Women and received the FIBA Europe SuperCup Women title.
In 2015, Petrakova was given the Player of the Year award in the Russian Premier League. She retired on a high note after the 2016–2017 season and became an assistant coach for the Russian National Team.
Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova's Relationship Timeline
2012: Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova meet for the first time
According to People, the couple first met in 2012 when they played together at UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia. They were friends before becoming romantically involved.
2019: Parker proposes to Petrakova
In an interview with TIME, it was revealed that Parker proposed to Petrakova during a family trip to Mexico. It happened on a boat, surrounded by friends and family—including Parker's daughter Lailaa, whom Parker shares with her ex-husband, former NBA player Sheldon Williams.
During the sentimental moment, Lailaa held a cake that read, "Will you marry us?" All this while Parker got on one knee and told Petrakova to look at the cake. "She knows that Lailaa is the center of my entire universe," Parker said to TIME. "So we come in a package deal. It was important for the dynamic duo to be upgraded to the Big Three."
2019: Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova get married
Parker and Petrakova tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in December 2019, but they didn't go public about their marriage until 2021.
2021: Parker goes public about her relationship and shares some exciting news
In December 2021, Parker took to Instagram to announce that she's been married to Anna Petrakova for two years and that they were expecting a child together. This was the first time the couple had publicly shared this news.
2022: Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova welcome their baby son
On February 11, 2022, Petrakova gave birth to their son, Airr Larry Petrakov Parker. Parker and Petrakova announced the exciting news with a shared post on Instagram, including photos of their family and a caption that says, "Airr Larry Petrakov Parker 2-11-22 We are in absolute love and utter appreciation that Goose chose us. Welcome to the fam SON🥺🥰❤️😭😭😭."
2023: Candace Parker's documentary comes out on ESPN
On November 12, 2023, ESPN Films released a documentary about Parker's life: Candace Parker: Unapologetic. Directed by Joie Jacoby, it follows Parker's journey through basketball and her personal life, including intimate details about motherhood, her divorce from former NBA player Shelden Williams and her current marriage to Anna Petrakova.
Candace Parker and Anna Petrakova's Wedding
Parker and Petrakova were married on December 14, 2019, but kept their union under wraps for two years. According to an interview with TIME, their 50 guests, along with staff, were required to keep the wedding a secret.
In the same article, Parker revealed that one of the reasons they chose to keep their marriage quiet was because Petrakova was worried about being discriminated against due to Russia's anti-LGBTQ+ policies.
But after two years, the time was right — especially with baby Airr on the way. Parker also explained that it was important to set an example for her daughter, Lailaa.
"I always tell my daughter to be herself," Parker told TIME. "I always tell my daughter to be proud of who she is. And I always tell my daughter to speak for herself and speak up for those that she loves. And I can't say that to her if I'm not doing it myself. I don't want her to ever think that I'm ashamed or not proud of our family. That was a step that we had to take. But we had to take it on our own terms."