Russell Wilson and Ciara Make the Perfect Couple

This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue.

The first thing Russell Wilson and Ciara do together in the morning—right around 6 a.m., after one kid or another has chosen to wake them up—is pray. The prayer is always the same: They say thank you for the day. They set their intentions. They ask that the day be great. In football season, they do this in Seattle, where Wilson plays quarterback for the Seahawks and they have a house overlooking Lake Washington. In the off-season, it might be at their house in Los Angeles—if they have business there, which Ciara, now going on her second decade of pop stardom, often does—or at their house in San Diego (“our home away from home”), or if they’re looking for a little more fun, their house in Mexico. And you know what? Usually it’s a great day.

Ciara and Russell Wilson cover the March 2021 issue of GQ. To get a copy, subscribe to GQ.

On Wilson: Blazer, $4,995, by Brunello Cucinelli. Turtleneck, $995, by Ralph Lauren. On Ciara: Dress, $2,180, by Bottega Veneta at Nordstrom.

“It’s always a blast that we get to do love together,” Wilson says. He’s in his hyperbaric chamber, laid back on a pillow, the white tent around him gently wheezing and sighing. Yesterday the Seahawks narrowly beat the San Francisco 49ers, and so today is a recovery day. “I’m getting hit by 350-pound dudes,” Wilson says. The body can take only so much. The chamber helps. How does the chamber help? “It brings good oxygen to my cells and helps me recover faster. Science shows that it helps with recovery and healing, and so that’s why it’s such a big thing for me.” It’s weirdly intimate, seeing him occasionally lift an oxygen tube to his mouth and nose, the phone screen just inches away from his face. He has a couple of these chambers; this one is in Ciara’s office. She’s on the other side of the room, feeding their youngest son, Win, who was born in July of last year, and in this way they get to be near each other, even while separate.

Being near one another is always a priority. “We have some fun rules that we created,” Ciara says—rules about how long they are willing to be apart. “What is it, like 10 days that we don’t wanna push past, babe? Ten days when we travel?”

“When we first met,” Wilson answers, “it was 14 days.” That was in 2015. They got married in 2016. “Then it was 10 days. And now it’s no more than seven or five. I don’t know, it may be really five days at this point.”

“We laugh about it,” Ciara says, “because I’m like, ‘Babe, how many days?’ ”

During the season, Wilson is often on the road with the team, but at least his schedule is predictable. As for Ciara, well: “I could be called tomorrow to go and do a private for somebody’s wedding, and I’ve got to be able to rock and roll.”

Ciara, 35, has sold more than 20 million records since she began making music as a teenager; Wilson, 32, has won a Super Bowl, appeared in two, and has been selected for the Pro Bowl eight times. On one level, they have a marriage like anyone else’s, a blended family—Wilson helps raise Future, Ciara’s child from a previous relationship with the rapper of the same name—and together they nurture, as Wilson likes to put it, “an old-school love.” But there are differences. They have a staff of eight to ten: two full-time chefs, a physical therapist, a full-time massage guy, a trainer, childcare, assistants, security. They have, collectively, around 32 million Instagram followers (most of those followers are Ciara’s). They have lived, at times, in the tabloids, most notably during Ciara’s contentious split with the elder Future—a split so public and well documented that it ended up in a Jay-Z lyric. Wilson and Ciara have businesses together, fashion brands, fragrances, a charitable foundation, LLCs. People speculate about how they got what they got. They go on Twitter and give relationship advice based on Wilson and Ciara’s relationship: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but Ciara didn’t pray for a man, she prayed for herself. Wilson and Ciara are aware of the speculation, of the advice, and of what sometimes even seems to be envy; they are honored by it.

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