Huge congratulations are in order for Maya Moore, a former WNBA star who just announced her marriage to Jonathan Irons. Irons spent years incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, and walked free this summer. Moore and her family have long supported him and advocated for justice in his case.
After playing in the WNBA as a Minnesota Lynx forward for eight years, Moore—a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion—has taken two seasons off, partially to devote more time to Irons’ case. According to the New York Times, Moore originally met Irons in 2007 through a prison ministry.
Irons was 16 years old when prosecutors claimed he was involved in a robbery and shooting. In 1998, he was found guilty of burglary and assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 50 years in prison. CBS reports that Irons was “tried as an adult and convicted by an all-white jury despite no witness, fingerprints, footprints or DNA proving his guilt.”
A Missouri judge vacated Irons’ conviction in March, and he was freed from prison three months later. During a September16 appearance on Good Morning America, Maya Moore shared that she and Irons got married during the pandemic.
“We wanted to announce today that were are super excited to continue the work that we’ve been 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.”
Irons said that the two had developed feelings for each other over the course of their 13-year friendship, and spoke about it during a prison visit years ago.
“We acknowledged, both of us, that we had really strong feelings for each other,” he said. “So much so that I wanted to marry her, but at the same time protect her, because being in a relationship with a man in prison is extremely difficult and painful. I didn’t want her to feel trapped.”
Moore said she got even closer to Irons during the “huge battle to get him home,” and credited their shared faith for bringing the two together. “Now we’re sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together,” she said.