Damian Lillard and his college sweetheart, Kay’la Hanson, got married in 2021. The NBA star filed for divorce in October 2023
Damian Lillard and his college sweetheart, Kay'la Hanson, are going their separate ways.
The NBA star, who played for the Portland Trailblazers for 11 seasons before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, filed for divorce in October 2023.
Lillard met Hanson while they were students at Weber State University in Utah. The couple were together for more than 10 years before tying the knot in 2021. The point guard shared photos of their nuptials on Instagram with the hashtag #ItsAboutDameTime, a clever play on his nickname, "Dame Time."
While answering fan questions in a 2022 video for GQ, Lillard shared his thoughts on being a married man.
"It meant a lot to me," he said of his wedding, explaining that he didn't always believe marriage was necessary. "I was just like, I'm cool with [the way things are.]" He added that Hanson and their three children are "the people that I can't live without."
Lillard and Hanson welcomed their first child, son Damian Jr., in 2018. Their twins, Kalii and Kali, were born in 2021, just months before their wedding.
Here's everything to know about Damian Lillard's wife Kay'la Hanson and her relationship with the NBA star.
She and Lillard met in college
The couple began dating while studying at Weber State University in Utah. While he left school to enter the 2012 NBA draft, he continued his studies and eventually graduated with a degree in professional sales in 2015. Hanson reportedly studied nursing.
"I knew Kay'La was the one a long time ago," he told Ebony in 2021. "When we were in college she took care of me. She had the car, an apartment and bent over backwards for me. Kay'La accepted me with all my flaws as a young man."
She owns a nail salon
Despite getting her degree in nursing, Hanson is now an entrepreneur. In 2019, she and her business partner, Brittney Coleman, opened Dipped Nails, a nail salon near Portland.
"We are super excited," Coleman told Lake Oswego Review of the business venture. "We were walking to the farmers market one day and said this is perfect!"
She and Lillard have three kids
Lillard and Hanson welcomed their first child, son Damian Jr., on March 29, 2018. Two years later, the pair announced that they were expecting twins.
"I'm a DADDY DADDY now 😂😂😂... happy for another boy but this girl gone hit different," Lillard wrote on Instagram next to a photo of him, Hanson, and their son, Damian Jr., holding two peas in a pod.
"Damian and I are so excited," Hanson told PEOPLE during a tour of their "comfortable and modern" nursery for two.
The twins were born on Jan. 21, 2021. Lillard announced the birth of his son, Kalii, and daughter, Kali, on Instagram, along with a caption explaining their names. "Kali Emma Lee Lillard (Callie...girl) and Kalii Laheem Lillard (kuh-lee ..boy )."
Lillard proposed during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend
In an interview with Ebony, Lillard shared that he proposed to Hanson during the NBA All-Star weekend in 2020.
"I snuck all of my family and her family out to Chicago without her knowing. I told her we were attending a new Valentine's Day event the NBA was hosting. We showed up to the venue where I had a wall full of roses designed with 'Will You Marry Me?' " he explained, adding that he got down on one knee to pop the question. "Then both of our families joined us for the big celebration."
She's a Scorpio
During that same interview with Ebony, Hanson praised her husband's "cool, calm, and protective" nature.
"I knew Damian was the one once I realized he could handle my crazy attitude," she said, adding, "I'm a Scorpio. I'm a very passionate and strong-willed person who can easily get stuck in my ways. I needed a man I could feel comfortable leading me in all areas and Damian is the man I trust with my life."
She and Lillard got married in 2021
The pair tied the knot on Sept. 4, 2021, in Montecito, California, during an outdoor ceremony. "The moment she started walking down the aisle towards me I felt even more overcome with love," Lillard recalled to Ebony.
The star-studded guest list included several big names like NBA players Draymond Green, Bradley Beal and CJ McCollum, along with artists Snoop Dogg and Common, both of whom performed during the reception.
She's helped Lillard with his physical recovery
In 2021, Lillard suffered an abdomen injury that left him sidelined for the season. He then had surgery and underwent physical rehabilitation in early 2022.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports, Lillard praised his wife for helping him get through the recovery. "My wife and kids contributed a lot to how strong I did in rehab. I would attack rehab happy. I just had a positive attitude. I used this time to connect with my family, and it has been one of the best experiences."
He went on to add, "These precious moments with my wife. I've been able to date her. You get so used to being just partners. So, we've been doing random things together and it's been fun."
She's Lillard's "closest friend"
Lillard frequently praises Hanson on social media and in 2022, he shared a sweet birthday post on Instagram, calling her his "closest friend."
"Who you choose to go through this life with is probably the most important decision you make. I'd choose you every time..." he wrote alongside a series of photos of the couple. "Happy birthday to my beautiful wife, my closest friend, the person who hates me one minute and loves me the next, the best mom, my biggest fan, my love, and a great partner in life. So happy to bring another year of life in with you! I love you! ❤️."
Lillard filed for divorce in October 2023
On Oct. 2, 2023, Lillard filed for divorce from Hanson in Portland. The documents cited "irreconcilable differences" in the relationship that led to "the irremediable breakdown of their marriage."
The filing also revealed that Lillard moved out of the family home in December 2022.
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