Maralee Nichols, the woman suing Tristan Thompson for child support and pregnancy-related fees, has broken her silence on the highly-publicized paternity case.
Nichols has claimed that Thompson, 30, is the father of her baby, born Dec. 1, though the NBA star has disputed the paternity of the child. In a lengthy statement issued on Friday, she spoke out about reports regarding her and Thompson, sharing that she wanted to "defend my character."
"Over the past couple of weeks, many inaccurate and false stories have been circulated about me. I have not at any point released – nor have I directed anyone else to release – any information regarding Tristan Thompson or any litigation involving him," Nichols began. "I have never spoken to any media outlet, nor have I leaked any information to anyone at any time. I am providing this statement because I feel I must defend my character."
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Attorneys for Thompson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Nichols said she met Thompson at a party at his California home in 2020. (Thompson has denied this in one of his previous court filings, published by the Daily Mail, saying they met at someone else's home).
"He told me he was single and co-parenting. I would never have gotten involved with Tristan if I thought he was in a relationship," she wrote in Friday's statement, seeming to reference his past relationship with Khloé Kardashian, with whom he shares 3-year-old daughter True.
Maralee Nichols/Instagram; George Pimentel/Getty
"Tristan told me he was not having a sexual relationship with anyone else; it was not casual sex nor did we have any arrangement. Tristan and I communicated daily and talked on the phone. We would see each other several times a month," Nichols continued, disputing Thompson's past claim that the pair's relationship was "based on sex only" and that they communicated solely through Snapchat.
"He invited me to see him Christmas, New Years, and his birthday," she added.
Nichols cited two time periods that have also appeared in her and Thompson's previous filings — March and April 2021. Thompson has claimed that the "only" time the child could have been conceived was on his birthday, March 13, in Texas. Nichols has claimed it was in April in Boston.
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In her Friday statement, Nichols said she saw Thompson both in March and in April, and learned that she was pregnant "a few weeks" after the trip to Boston in April.
"I told him the news of my pregnancy in person in North Carolina," she wrote. "Despite the challenges that I know I would have as a single mother and Tristan's reaction to my pregnancy, I told Tristan I would be having the baby. Tristan has not helped me financially with my pregnancy or with our baby; I have paid 100% for my son's expenses. I did not ask Tristan for any money, nor did I accept any money that was offered to me."
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty
Nichols filed a paternity suit against Thompson in Los Angeles, where she lives and had her baby, while Thompson filed a parallel paternity suit against Nichols in Texas. His case has since been dismissed by a Texas judge, though the L.A. suit is still pending.
"Paternity matters in California are sealed, and I do not wish to discuss my ongoing California litigation with the media," Nichols wrote in her statement and said she tried to remain private throughout her pregnancy to keep it "as peaceful as possible."
"Instead of focusing on any negativity, I am choosing to embrace being a mother and doing the best I can for my son. I do not want any further media attention, nor do I want a romantic relationship with Tristan," Nichols concluded. "My goal is to raise our son in a safe, healthy, loving and private environment."
Though Thompson still disputes that he is the father of Nichols' baby, he has admitted to a months-long sexual relationship with Nichols during the time that he was publicly dating Kardashian, 37.