Russell married Tsarnaev in June 2010 in Cambridge, Mass., municipal records show. The couple has a 2-year-old daughter though they weren't living together at the time of the bombing, Russell's lawyer Amato DeLuca said. The child lived with Tsarnaev because Russell worked seven days a week as a home healthcare aide.
Why the couple didn't live together is unclear.
Russell's friends told CNN Monday they had long been suspicious of Tsarnaev for the influence he exerted over the one-time college student who dropped out her senior year when she became pregnant. Russell was raised Christian but converted to Islam when she married Tsarnaev and family said she remains a devout Muslim who wears a headscarf.
Russell's friends and family said she distanced herself from them when she began dating Tsarnaev.
In the wake of the bombing, Russell's family released a statement:
"Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child," the family said. "We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriots' Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted. Please respect our family's privacy in this difficult time."
Authorities say they believe Russell saw Tsarnaev just hours before his death last week when they exchanged custody of their daughter.
DeLuca said Russell learned of Tsarnaev's implication in last week's bombing, in which two devices were set off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring about 200, through the media.
"The whole family is a mess, to put it bluntly," he said. "They're very distraught. They're upset. Their lives have been unalterably changed. They're upset because of what happened, the people that were injured, that were killed. It's an awful, terrible thing."
DeLuca said Russell intents to cooperate with the FBI investigation in to her husband's actions but has yet to speak with investigators.