Russell Wilson is known for his successful career as an NFL player, but many of his fans may be surprised to learn about his childhood.
Born in 1988, Russell Wilson grew up in Richmond, Virginia, with his mother, father, and two siblings. It was in Virginia that he joined his first football team, the Tuckahoe Tomahawks.
Read more about Wilson’s childhood and his rise to fame as an NFL player.
Childhood in VA
Russell Wilson grew up in the city of Richmond with his mother and father, as well as his older brother, Harry, and Anna, his younger sister.
The New York Times describes his upbringing as “middle class”, with his mom working as a nurse and his dad a well educated lawyer. Wilson too is well educated, having attended private schools.
He played in his school football team and as a senior, was named conference player of the year.
His sporting career started early in life, but it’s this toil that has allowed him to become so dominant in his sport. “You develop it so it becomes second nature,” he said. “It becomes part of who you are.”
Having an older sibling helped instill a competitive streak in Wilson. His mom told MYNorthWest that Harry “wouldn’t just let him win,” which, she believes, “really helped him to be tough.”
It wasn’t only his brother who helped to shape his career. Wilson’s father had a sporting background of his own, having trained with the San Diego Chargers.
“I learned from my dad that you always have to persevere, have a great purpose in your life and understand where you’re trying to go, have a great perspective,” Wilson says.
It’s clear that his father had a profound effect on him. In an Instagram post, he writes to his late father, “You were and still are one of my greatest inspirations. You helped instill perspective, vision and belief in me.”
Russell Wilson’s football career continued through college, though baseball remained another of his passions.
At North Carolina State University, he earned all-ACC first team honors, the first ever freshmen to achieve this.
Wilson transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and began playing for the Badgers. In his final year of college, he broke an NCAA record for passing efficiency. He was soon spotted by the Seattle Seahawks.
He joined the Seahawks in 2012, and since, has gone on to break a number of NFL records.
In 2019, he became the NFL’s highest paid player, after signing a $140 million contract.
Life Beyond the Field
Wilson married his first wife, Ashton Keem in 2012, however the couple filed for divorce in 2014.
The athlete married singer Ciara in 2016, with their wedding taking place in the grounds of a castle in the UK. Soon after, the couple welcomed their first child.
Fatherhood, Wilson says, has certainly not come at the detriment to his game. “When you get to have kids and you get to have another thing to play for, it always helps,” he explains.
He spoke to Hollywood Life about balancing his career with being a father. “You get to share these amazing memories with your kids and family…I get to see them after the game…and they are all grinning ear to ear. It’s the best blessing in the world. I’m just so grateful for that!”
You may think that, after such a successful career, he is ready to take it easy, but that’s not the case for Wilson. “My dreams haven’t stopped,” he says.
“I used to write to do lists about my dreams and what I wanted to do, and I can promise you that everything I’ve written down has happened.”
Now, he has an interest in business. “A lot of people tell me that I’ll make more money off the field than on the field,” he jokes.