Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, is married to his college sweetheart Nina Earl. Westbrook and Earl met while enrolled at UCLA and tied the knot in 2015. They have three children together – a son and twin girls.
According to PEOPLE, the two got married in front of many friends and family, including Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Serge Ibaka, James Harden and Khloé Kardashian. Russell and Nina reportedly asked the crowd to attend the ceremony and reception without cameras or phones.
Here’s what you need to know about the couple:
1. They Met at UCLA Where Both of Them Played Basketball & They Have Been Together Since 2007
Westbrook and Earl both played basketball at UCLA, and were both, successful, star players. In his two seasons at the school, Westbrook averaged 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds, helping the Bruins to the Final Four in consecutive seasons (2006-2007, 2007-2008). When he was on the team, he played alongside Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and other well-known NBA players.
Earl started playing as a freshman, starting in 15 games and scoring in double figures 11 times. Due to her successful freshman season, she saw more playing time and scored a season-best 17 points in a game and then shot a career-best 51 percent from the field as a junior. Her team bio describes her as “one of fastest players on [the] team.”
They first began dating in 2007 while still enrolled at UCLA. Earl graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in English, eventually receiving her Master’s in clinical psychology and worked as a marriage and family therapist after graduating.
Westbrook told ESPN last year that he loves his wife for her “mind and her ambition”:
… she’s a smart girl. She’s in school right now, trying to get her master’s in psychology. She knows what she wants to do in life, which is great. That’s easy for me to cope with.
“I’d go up to Russell and tell him what a cute couple they were,” former UCLA men’s basketball coach Ben Howland said of the couple after they started dating. “They were beautiful together and just fell in love.”
2. They Have Three Children – Their Son Noah & Twin Girls, Skye & Jordyn
Earl gave birth to their son Noah Russell Westbrook in May, 2017. The following year in November, 2018, the couple welcomed a pair of twin girls – Skye and Jordyn.
“For me, family’s the most important thing,” Russell told ESPN.com’s Royce Young shortly after Noah was born. “So regardless of if anybody needs anything, or anything happens, if something’s going on in my family, I always put that first.”
Russell posted a collage of his children on Instagram on New Years Eve, writing: “WOW what a year, I’m so grateful and blessed to see another year. Thank you to the man above for many blessings I received in 2018. Through the ups and downs, I will continue have faith. I can’t wait to see what God has in store in 2019.”
3. Westbrook Proposed to Earl in 2014 With a $700,000 Ring & The Two Wed in 2015 at the Beverly Hills Hotel
Westbrook proposed to Earl on September 3, 2014, with a beautiful, $700,000 ring. TMZ reports that the ring is a “six-piece elongated cushion cut” diamond masterpiece made by renowned jeweler-to-the-stars Jason of Beverly Hills. They announced the engagement on Instagram.
The two wed on August 29, 2015 in an outdoor ceremony at The Beverly Hills Hotel, according to Bleacher Report. Their first dance was to “Nothing Even Matters” by Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo. There were plenty of basketball celebs who attended the ceremony, including Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and many more.
The bride wore two dresses, the first by designer Vera Wang and the second by Monique Lhullier., People reports. Westbrook wore a tuxedo by celebrity favorite Tom Ford. There were even a few R&B stars in attendance, including Keri Hilson and Grammy winner Miguel, who gave a surprise performance around 11 p.m.
4. Earl & Westbrook Are Involved in Several Charities, Including One That Westbrook Started Called “Why Not?”
The couple are active with multiple charitable organizations, including one that Westbrook himself started in 2012 called the “Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation.” The foundation seeks to “inspire the lives of children, empower them and ask ‘Why Not?'” The website says that the goal of the foundation is “to teach kids to never give up.” The organization has worked to help children facing any hardships to fight adversity and succeed.
Around Thanksgiving time, the couple joins volunteers from the organization to serve meals to those in need at the Boys and Girls Club in Oklahoma.
The Thanksgiving event has taken place five-straight years. Westbrook told Thunder.com: “It’s something I look forward to every year. I think it’s very important. I’ve seen a few kids that I’ve seen now over the course of the years. Seeing them coming back and looking forward to this every year is something that puts a smile on my face.”
In addition to his work with the foundation, Westbrook has given back to his alma mater, UCLA. In fact, he donated the largest amount of money ever gifted to the school by a former basketball player. Westbrook’s financial contribution went toward UCLA’s Mo Ostin Basketball Center project.
In a press release from the school, UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero said of Westbrook:
Russell isn’t merely a dominant force in the NBA, he’s a force to be reckoned with in the community as well. While his Why Not? Foundation’s mission is to inspire the lives of children and teach them to never give up, the fact of the matter is, having witnessed firsthand and from afar his growth over the years, Russell himself is an inspiration. We could not be more proud of his leadership both on and off the court since he left Westwood, and I know the Bruin faithful will be excited to welcome him back home next month and thank him for this tremendous gift.
5. Earl Is Related to Pro Football Hall of Fame Safety Kenny Easley
Earl’s cousin is Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Kenny Easley. Like Earl and Westbrook, Easley also attended UCLA. He had an illustrious collegiate career and was drafted No. 4 overall in the 1981 NFL Draft to the Seattle Seahawks. He played for the franchise his entire career, finding major success. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times in his career, grabbing 32 interceptions and scoring 3 touchdowns.
In 1988, he was traded to the Cardinals, but he would never suit up and play again. He was diagnosed with a severe kidney disease during the team’s physical. He announced his retirement several months later and received a new kidney two years after, the New York Times reported.
Easley’s disease was brought on by overuse of Advil to heal an ankle injury. He blamed the Seahawks organization for it occurring and settled a lawsuit out of court with the team. He severed all ties with the Seahawks, but has since returned to several games.