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WNBA Star Maya Moore Stepped Away From The Game To Help Free A Wrongfully Convicted Man From Prison And Now They're Married
Maya Moore and Jonathan Irons quietly wed months after a judge overturned his conviction for a home invasion shooting, for which he'd been in prison for more than two decades.
Activist and WNBA star Maya Moore announced her marriage to Jonathon Irons, a wrongfully convicted man she helped free from prison.
The couple appeared on “Good Morning America” Wednesday to share the news.
"We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple," Moore said. "We got married a couple months ago and we're excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”
Moore, who was a forward for the Minnesota Lynx for nearly a decade and is an Olympic gold medalist, took a break from professional sports in 2019 to help fight for justice for Irons, according to a New York Times report. Irons was accused at the age of 16 for breaking into a private residence and shooting a homeowner; he was tried as an adult and sentenced to 50 years behind bars. However, the case remained controversial, as there was no physical evidence linking Irons to the crime and he denied an officer’s claim that he confessed to the burglary during a private interview, the paper reports.
A judge overturned his conviction in March, ruling that, among other things, prosecutors had withheld fingerprint evidence that would have helped Irons’ case, NBC News reports. Irons was released in July after serving more than 20 years and when he emerged from the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri, Moore was among those who were there to greet him.
“FREEDOM,” she captioned an Instagram video of his walk out of the facility.
Moore, who is a Christian, first met Irons through prison ministry when she was 18 years old, according to “Good Morning America.” They maintained a friendship while Irons was incarcerated and she was among those fighting to have his conviction overturned; their relationship blossomed over time into love, she explained.
"Over the last 13 years we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts and now we're sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together," she said.
Irons told “GMA” that he confessed his feelings for Moore while he was still incarcerated, telling her that he wanted to marry her, but asking her to wait to answer him.
"I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it's extremely difficult and painful,” he explained. “And I didn't want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard."
Once he was free, Irons proposed to Moore following a gathering with friends at a hotel room, and she accepted, he recalled during Wednesday's interview. Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they had a wedding with their closest loved ones, who all wore masks and practiced social distancing.
Moving forward, Moore and Irons said that they plan to help others who have been wrongfully convicted as well as encourage others to get out and vote. “GMA” host Robin Roberts is also working on a documentary about the couple’s love story.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story referred to Moore as an ex-WNBA star. She's been on a two-season sabbatical to focus on Irons' case and has not retired.