For years, Gabrielle Union-Wade has been a strong voice for women from all walks of life. Now, the actress, activist and author plans to take things a step further and empower others.

If her social media is anything to go by, she leads a charmed life. She’s got it all – beauty, brains, a thriving TV and movie career, a beautiful family, a handsome husband who adores her and a healthy bank balance. However, if you walk a mile in her Christian Louboutins, you will realise that Gabrielle Union-Wade (47) has similar challenges to those of other regular women – well, almost…

Gabrielle has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA, and although she didn’t set out to be a movie star she has, in her 25-year career, starred in prominent TV shows and movies including Sister Sister, Bring It On, Think Like a Man, 10 Things I Hate About You and Bad Boys II. The talented actress became a permanent fixture on our small screens following the success of her TV show, Being Mary Jane.

The series ended in 2019 after four seasons and a two-hour movie special. Months later, much to fans’ delight, she made a return in November on a new show called LA’s Finest. In the new female-led action-comedy cop series that is a Bad Boy II spin-off, Gabrielle stars alongside actress Jessica Alba. The women are also executive producers of the show. ‘Going into the creation of the show, it was already a revolutionary act,’ says Gabrielle in an interview with Hollywood Reporter. Many had been looking forward to it, and it didn’t disappoint.

With a baby girl, four stepsons, a husband, five dogs, a new TV show, a production company called I’ll Have Another and, until recently, America’s Got Talent on her plate, Gabrielle sure has her fingers in many pies. And being in the public eye makes it more challenging, she reveals in a recent interview with Glamour. ‘You feel raw, exposed and vulnerable,’ she said, adding that part of the journey is accepting how others, especially mothers, view her. Being a mother to a baby has its own challenges, but Gabriel isn’t new to the mommy role. She and husband Dwayne Wade’s family is a true representation of a beautiful blended family.

Besides 14-month-old Kaavia James, who is the couple’s only daughter and child together, Gabrielle is stepmom to the 37-year-old former NBA basket-ball star’s sons, Zaire (17), Zion (12) and Xavier (5). They also have custody of Dwayne’s nephew, Dahveon (17). Things
at the Union-Wade household are hectic, but they ‘enjoy every moment,’ she says, ‘as days fly by in a blur of life.’

Gabrielle says being a stepmom to the boys helped her prepare for caring for Kaavia. The Omaha-born actress, who also grew up in a blended family following her parents’ divorce, soon discovered that it was okay to not be a perfect mother. ‘I give myself permission to be human,’ she told Parents in an interview.

‘When I need a minute to return emails, or cry or mindlessly scroll social media, I’ll take it. I’m not trying to be a perfect parent. I’m okay with life not being balanced.’ It helps that her husband is a hands-on father, she adds. ‘When he’s in Miami, and we’re in Los Angeles, he wants to know everything, from her poops to what outfit she’s wearing.’

Dwayne and Gabrielle met in 2007. Their relationship was built to withstand rough seas. Together they sailed through many storms from dealing with their respective divorces and a brief split at the beginning of 2013 over conflicting schedules, to a custody battle with Dwayne’s ex-wife, Siohvaughn Funches and infertility.

But they were back together soon after the break-up. Later that year, Dwayne rallied the kids at the poolside, each with their own sign asking Gabrielle to marry ‘them’. And she said yes! They married in 2014 in Miami, and five years later are still going strong.

I give myself permission to be human. When I need a minute to return emails, or cry or mindlessly scroll social media, I’ll take it. I’m not trying to be a perfect parent.

Their unwavering support of one another is often evident – such as when Gabrielle slammed a troll for an insensitive homophobic comment over a sweet snap Dwayne shared of his family on social media. Or the time an online news site wrote a story about Gabrielle and Dwayne’s donation to a student-run gun control rally, then referred to Gabrielle as merely ‘Dwayne’s wife – he set them straight! It is the same support they needed to get through one of the biggest hurdles they encountered, which was conceiving.

Bringing Kaavia into the world was a significant challenge for the couple. They dealt with numerous misdiagnoses, years of failed in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles and nine miscarriages. Gabrielle was later diagnosed with adenomyosis (when tissue grows into the uterus wall), which meant that having a baby would be difficult. She still had hope of having her husband’s child, so she remained steadfast in her resolve.

‘On those days when I felt like I was circling the drain emotionally, physically, spiritually, I allowed myself to have a freaking moment,’ wrote Gabriel in her memoir published in 2017, titled We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True.

In 2018, she and her husband decided to explore the possibility of surrogacy. And they found the perfect surrogate in a woman who loves the smell of books, which was exactly what Gabrielle wanted. A bookworm herself, she was looking for, ‘someone who loves reading,’ she revealed. In 2019 the Union-Wade family welcomed Kaavia.

‘I’m so glad I got over myself and my fear of what people would think of me if I did not carry my own child,’ Gabrielle said. It was accepting that there were other ways to bring a child into the world that helped her heal. ‘The world will not consider you a failure. Every route to parenthood is perfect, worthwhile and amazing,’ she told Glamour. She admits to sometimes having thoughts about how it would have felt to have carried their daughter when she sees a pregnant woman, but says she quickly moves on because it doesn’t change that they have Kaavia, and that’s all that matters.

Her experience with difficulty to conceive is not the only thing she shares in her tell-all book. She also details a sexual assault when she was 19 years of age. ‘After I was raped,’ she writes, ‘I didn’t leave my house for a whole year unless I had to go to court or to therapy. Twenty-four years later, fear still influences everything I do.’ Even though she worked through the pain, opening up about her ordeal also exposed old wounds. However, she healed through helping other women and she has become a voice against sexual abuse. And sharing her journey is not the only way she plans to empower other women.

She does so through her work by bringing change to the industry using platforms such as her production company. She wants to create content the audience wants to see more of. ‘I’m not here to serve Hollywood,’ she says. She intends to continue being part of creating narratives that depict strong female lead characters, and with her work on LA’s Finest she is well on her way to achieving that.

· She loves ice cream and refuses to give it up, even though she’s lactose intolerant
· She likes tequila
· She enjoys country music

Facebook: @gabrielleunionofficial
Twitter: @itsgabrielleu
Instagram: @gabunion



Powered by Blogger.