The world recognizes Brian Banks as the man who was wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit when his classmate, Wanetta Gibson, accused him of raping her in 2002. Banks, who was 16 back then, lost his chance to continue his football journey. He spent a year in juvenile hall followed by 5 years in prison.

Banks was exonerated later, after he was proven innocent with the help of the California Innocence Project. He recounted his story in his book What Set Me Free, which also inspired the 2019 movie Brian Banks.

Banks did eventually get to play in the NFL, but his career was short-lived as he had missed the best timing in his life. He is now a speaker who travels around sharing his story and helps others with similar experiences to him.

But the real happy ending for Banks came in form of a child. He welcomed son O’rion King Banks in 2019 with his girlfriend Vanessa Alvarez.

False Accusation Made Him Spend 5 Years In Prison

Banks was arrested in the summer of 2002 after his then girlfriend, Wanetta Gibson, accused him of raping her. Prior to the incident, he had received a full scholarship to USC as he was a star football linebacker.

His lawyer advised him to plead no contest to one count of sexual assault, promising that she would get him a probation. Just 17 years at the time and having no prior experience with judicial dealings, Banks accepted his lawyer’s suggestion.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the probation his lawyer had promised him and instead received the maximum sentence: five years in prison. Besides the incarceration, he also received five years of probation and was registered as a sex offender.

Gibson won $1.5 million in settlement for the lawsuit against the school district, which she had claimed as an unsafe environment following the rape allegation.

After serving his time in prison, Banks sought the help of the California Innocence Project and cleared his name of the crime he hadn’t committed. 

Banks Will Do Everything In His Power To Raise His Son Right

In May 2015, he tied the knot with Emanuela Marinova. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last long, and both sides filed for divorce just two years later.

It was Banks’ next relationship that brought about big changes in his life. He began dating Alvarez after his divorce. The two welcomed a son O’rion King Banks in January 2019. When talking to Forbes, the exonerated football star shared how fatherhood had completely changed his life.

It absolutely has changed me—my whole perspective and how I see my life, myself and my purpose, the legacy I want to leave behind, and the things I want to fight for that I hope my son will never have to experience or go through.

Banks shared a similar sentiment in an interview with People, where he said that he would do everything in his power to raise his son in the right way.

His wife Alvarez runs a blog where she shares her experiences, advice, and tips for motherhood.