Gabrielle Union Questions Whether To Be A Stepmom Or Friend To Dwyane Wade’s Kids

The “Cheaper by the Dozen” star reflects on her transition to stepmotherhood.

BYDiya Singhvi
Gabrielle Union Questions Whether To Be A Stepmom Or Friend To Dwyane Wade’s Kids

When Gabrielle Union married Dwyane Wade in 2014, she not only stepped into the role of a wife but also a stepparent. The former Miami Heat shooting guard already had three children, whereas Union was brand new to motherhood. In 2008, the same year that the couple embarked on a relationship, Wade gained custody over his children. Although the Being Mary Jane actress has spent over a decade watching Zaya, Zaire, and Zavier grow up, she still struggles with being labeled as a "stepparent."

Union reflected on her role with Wade's children in her HelloBeautiful cover story this month (February). During the interview, she explained the confusion she faced upon embarking on this new journey. "When I became a stepmom, I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing,'" the actress said. She continued to question whether she should "be a friend" to the kids, or whether she should assume a more maternal role. Eventually, Union concluded that she couldn't abide by typical labels. “I had to figure out how to be consistent, nurturing, and compassionate, and love each of them," she reflected. "I knew that one size fits all was not gonna work.”

Union and Wade's Big, Blended Family

The Truth be Told star also spoke out about her transition to becoming a stepmom with podcast host Glennon Doyle. She reflected on the importance of consistency, especially when presenting herself to the children. Union explained, "whatever personality I was trying on that day, or whoever I was, I just needed to be consistent so they can get used to me."

They’ve already gone through so much upheaval, moving states away, not knowing anyone. Having gone through a divorce, I knew I needed to be consistent.” Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of harboring a quality relationship with her stepchildren. “I knew that when I married him, I was married to them,” she said.

The A-List couple welcomed Kaavia to their blended family in 2018 via surrogacy. Together, Union and Wade the children's book Shady Baby in 2021. The 50-year-old had also previously written Welcome to the Party, which honors nontraditional families. For all things related to hip hop and pop culture, check back with HNHH later.

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