In court documents filed this week, Storm All-Star forward Natasha Howard denied domestic-abuse allegations made public last weekend by her wife, Jacqueline Howard. Natasha also accused Jacqueline of transferring nearly $600,000 out of a joint bank account and stabbing her in 2016.
Natasha Howard, 27, has filed for divorce in King County Superior Court and was granted a restraining order against Jacqueline, according to documents provided to The Seattle Times on Friday.
Natasha Howard also said in the documents she is broke because Jacqueline emptied her bank account. In the documents, Natasha said Jacqueline transferred $588,888 from their joint account into an account that was in Jacqueline's name only.
"I was left with no money, and I had to borrow funds for groceries," Natasha wrote in a court declaration.
The restraining order prevents Jacqueline from accessing the funds.
When reached Friday for comment via direct message on Twitter, Jacqueline, who also goes by Jackyy, said Natasha's claims are not true. Jacqueline added she plans to issue a statement through her lawyer early next week.
In the documents, Natasha described an alleged incident in 2016 while playing in South Korea in which Jacqueline stabbed her in the back with a knife. Natasha said she was hospitalized for several days and could try to obtain medical records if needed to grant the restraining order.
In a series of tweets posted July 13, Jacqueline said Natasha had stabbed her in the chest and leg.
"Jackyy has provided nothing to support her claim," Howard said in a court statement. "That is because it is absolutely false. I have never used any knife or scissors or any sharp object of any kind to hurt Jackyy (or anyone) ever. It is Jackyy who stabbed me and caused me serious harm. In fact, after this my team in South Korea insisted that Jackyy leave the country."
On July 13, Jacqueline posted videos on Twitter in which she yelled at Natasha about being threatened by her. In several posts, Jacqueline accused Natasha of mental and physical abuse.
But court declarations by Natasha and her stepmother, DeShana Daniels, painted a different picture of the relationship.
Natasha described Jacqueline as controlling, manipulative, jealous and violent.
The couple got married on March 10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
In 2018, the pair engaged in a heated dispute in their apartment in Russia, where Natasha was playing for a basketball team, according to court documents.
Jacqueline tweeted that Natasha was the aggressor in the dispute.
On July 13, Jacqueline tweeted: "Most victims don't even know they're victims until it's near the end. The physical part is almost, ALWAYS the last step. I was I isolated, manipulated, mentally, spiritually, and verbally abused before I even realized I was in a DV relationship. Believe it or not that was the easy part. Realizing it. Doing something about it was entirely different."
But Natasha asserted in court documents Jacqueline had initiated the confrontation, which resulted in a pair of broken apartment doors.
"Jackyy was furious, and she did the damage to the apartment," Natasha said. "The damage was caused by her. I did not cause that damage. She posted the video on Twitter and included tweets insinuating I broke the doors, and I perpetrated acts of violence against her. That is false."
Natasha, who is reportedly earning $115,000 this season and will make $117,000 in 2020, said in court documents she has financially supported the couple since they met in August 2016.
The couple separated July 2, according to court documents.
The Storm and the WNBA have launched an investigation.
"The organization is aware of the recent allegations against Natasha. We are in communication with the league and looking into them," Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel and CEO/GM Alicia Valavanis said in a statement July 13.
The WNBA has conducted another recent investigation involving alleged domestic violence. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams was suspended without pay for 10 games after a December 2018 incident in which authorities say she attacked her former girlfriend at a Florida home.
Williams was arrested April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm.
The criminal case is ongoing, and the WNBA players' association has said it will file a grievance on Williams' behalf, claiming it was unfair to suspend her before the legal process plays out.
Natasha Howard, who is averaging 18.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds, was selected to start in her first WNBA All-Star Game on July 27 in Las Vegas.
The 6-foot-2 forward has remained a fixture in the lineup for the defending WNBA champions, and she had a career-high 33 points in a victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night.
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