Joel Embiid is in a relationship with Anne de Paula, a Brazilian model. Embiid has been with De Paula since 2018 and they share a son together, Arthur Elijah De Paula Embiid, who was named after the Philadelphia 76ers star’s younger brother.
Here’s what you need to know about Joel Embiid’s girlfriend, Anne de Paula:
1. Anne de Paula Was Born & Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, & She Was Passionate About Playing Soccer When She Was a Child
De Paula was born on March 31, 1995, and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “I grew up by the beach, and it’s warm all the time and you don’t wear many clothes,” she told Sports Illustrated Swimsuit about the comparison between her home city and New York City. “It doesn’t have all these big buildings. Rio is totally different. I feel alive a little bit more in New York, but I still love going home to recharge.”
When she was growing up, De Paula was a tomboy and played a lot of soccer with the boys in her neighborhood. “I was a goalkeeper for five or six years,” she shared with the publication. “That was everything I wanted to do. I started playing when I was 8, 9 years old. Because my father never had a boy he was always pushing me to play soccer.” She said she was always playing with the neighborhood boys and was the only girl on the field.
“I grew up around the favelas,” she added. “Those are my best memories. I played for my school team, and then for my city team.” However, she said she had to stop playing because of her modeling career, which began at 13 years old. Though she doesn’t play much anymore, she admitted that she’s still “very passionate” about the sport, she told Fox News. “You have to keep your nails looking nice for this job,” she shared. “But if I had some free time, I would definitely go back to Brazil and play.”
In addition to her passion for soccer, De Paula revealed that she does Muay Thai. She also has a love of cooking, she told Fox, and said she enjoys trying and creating new recipes in the kitchen.
2. Anne de Paula Pursued a Career in Modeling From the Age of 12 or 13 After Her Mother Suggested She Take Part in a Photoshoot
De Paula works as a successful model, but it wasn’t always her career plan. When she was younger, her original goal was to become a doctor, she told Fox News. She shared that her family all worked in the health industry and she aspired to be like them. “My mother does X-rays, my dad’s a nurse,” she said. “My uncle is a cardiologist… And I’ve always loved babies. So I always thought I would be helping babies come into the world.”
However, De Paula said she began playing soccer and that turned into her passion as she played for her city and her school. Modeling wasn’t on her radar at the time. It was her mother who got her into that industry, she told Maxim. “I became a model by accident, or I would say because of my mom,” she explained. “She asked me if I wanted to do a professional photo shoot after she was approached by an agent in the city. And here I am now. Thanks, mom!”
At first, when her mother asked her if she wanted to do the photo shoot, she said she wasn’t convinced and didn’t even know how to walk in high heels, she told Fox. However, as soon as she did her first one, at the age of 12 or 13, she said she loved it. “I loved sports, but I also liked this girly version of myself,” she explained. The model added that she wasn’t one of the popular kids in school and the boys weren’t interested in her because she was such a tomboy.
De Paula shared that her family loves her modeling photos, even the ones of her wearing only body paint. “My mother has a big photo in the house right in the living room of me just wearing body paint,” she revealed to Fox. “My grandmother and grandfather? They had loads of copies of the magazine.” De Paula explained that Brazilians are “very open-minded” in regards to wearing bikinis and she praised SI for doing “tasteful photos.”
3. Anne de Paula & Joel Embiid Met at a Dinner Hosted by a Mutual Friend & Developed a Friendship First
De Paula and Embiid met in 2018, though neither of them were looking for a relationship, they’ve shared. They were both at a dinner with a mutual friend in New York City and De Paula recalled that neither of them really spoke much to the other during the dinner, she told ESPN.
“It started off as a beautiful friendship,” she told the publication. She liked that he prayed before his meals and the two had a lot in common. They were both soccer fans, they both spoke French, and they’d both left their home countries to go to the U.S. for their dreams.
“We FaceTimed every day for a while,” she added. “He just has this personality where he wants to motivate you. His friends, his family and now with Arthur. He pushes all of us to be the best of ourselves. That’s the type of person you want to have around.”
De Paula confessed to Maxim, “I would say that he caught my attention by just being himself. Also, by liking soccer and speaking French… I love the language and speak it as well.” She also said her boyfriend was her crush “all day, every day.”
4. Anne de Paula & Joel Embiid Welcomed a Son Together in September 2020 & Embiid Hinted That He Wants a Big Family
De Paula and Embiid welcomed their first child, a son named Arthur Elijah De Paula Embiid, on September 17, 2020. The model posted a few days later, writing, “Welcome to the world, my little gift from God.” As for the Sixers star, he posted, “We are so blessed and fortunate to welcome our little boy in this family. First of 11 or more? Trying to convince her but I’m not winning so far. I’m just trying to build a soccer team but for real I’m so excited for the future and my life has a new meaning.”
“Kudos to @annedepaula_ for being so strong and giving me the Greatest Gift our life can offer #GodisGood,” he concluded. Embiid confessed that his “whole mindset” shifted after the birth of his son and he said he was more aware of all of his actions to set the right example for his boy, he told NBC Sports.
Embiid referred to his partner as his “fiancée” in a 2023 press conference, although neither has publicly posted about the proposal.
5. Anne de Paula Described Her Son Arthur & Joel Embiid as ‘Best Friends’
De Paula has spoken about the connection between her partner and her son, describing them as “best friends.” She told ESPN, “When Arthur sees him, there is no one else in the room. It is the most beautiful thing ever.”
Embiid spoke about his family and fatherhood in 2021, sharing that he was “bummed” that he couldn’t always be at home because of the NBA schedule and told NBC Sports, “I miss them a lot when I’m on the road, but it’s been great.” He added, “I like to keep my life private, so I don’t want to talk too much about it, but it’s been an amazing experience. Just watching him grow every single day makes me better. I think that’s also part of me being better this year.”
Embiid also revealed that he didn’t have any plans to leave Philadelphia and wanted to play his entire NBA career in one city only. The city supported Embiid when he missed the first two years of his career through injury after getting drafted and he said he wanted to stay with Philadelphia his whole career. “My son was born in Philly,” he added. “That’s why I want to win so bad and I want to just reward the fans for the trust that they’ve had in this process.”