In an excerpt from her memoir, the actress recalls being 'devastated' after finding out her husband had a child with another woman.
For the first time ever, the actress recalls the life-changing moment and the aftermath that ensued in her memoir, You Got Anything Stronger (out now).
"In 2013, before we were married, Dwyane had a baby with another woman. It should go without saying that we were not in a good place in our relationship at the time that child was conceived. But we were in a much better place when he finally told me about the pregnancy," Union pens. "To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience. There are people - strangers who I will never meet - who have been upset that I have not previously talked about that trauma. I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now. But truth matters."
Union began dating Wade in 2008. The athlete fathered his 7-year-old son, Xavier, in 2013, when he and Union were on a break. Wade was already dad to Zaire, 19 and Zaya, 14, as well as guardian to his nephew, Dahveon, 19. The couple tied the knot in 2014 and attempted to have their own children. However, Union went through a couple miscarriages. They eventually welcomed daughter Kaavia through a surrogate, an experience that led Wade to retire from basketball in 2019.
"'You’ve done enough,' he said. I looked at D with an instantaneous white-hot rage. Astonishment, really. I was fighting with my husband about what was best for my body? Did he really think that surrogacy and a baby was our chance to set it right? To rebalance? I said coolly, 'You’re going to be the voice of reason now? Really? Really? Is that what we’re on today?'" Union recalls. "He looked me in the eye. 'As much as we want this baby, I want you,' he said slowly. 'We’ve lost too much in our relationship for me to be okay with encouraging you to do one more thing to your body and your soul.'"
Union notes that at the time she didn't think the NBA star's words towards her were out of "concern," instead, "It was an acknowledgment of failure."
"Because at that point I would have sold my soul for a win. To get out of the endless cycle of loss. What was the going rate for souls? What was mine worth, anyway? The experience of Dwyane having a baby so easily while I was unable to left my soul not just broken into pieces, but shattered into fine dust scattering in the wind," she explains. "With desperate hands, we gathered what we could to slowly remake me into something new."
She continues by sharing that she felt like "such a failure" and if they didn't go through their surrogacy to have the baby they wanted, "Then I was convinced I needed to let Dwyane go. Even if he didn’t want to, I had to let him find someone who could give him what he wanted."
"But I loved him. As our relationship went in and out through the years, the times when it wasn’t even about romantic love, I always loved him. Each day, he had worked to be forgiven, and I had chosen to love him and forgive him," she expresses. "And part of this journey of making peace with our love is also making peace with ourselves. I had come to accept that without that awful collision in our lives—this Big Bang moment in our relationship that set our galaxy as we knew it— he wouldn’t have become the man he desperately wanted to be, and I would not become the woman I dreamed of being."
Union also touches on the "fear of public humiliation" she had from her relationship woes and how, "The me of today would not have stayed with him."
"But would I be who I am now without that pain? That fiery explosion that created life and light? The advice I would give myself now would be to leave. 'You don’t have to do this. You don’t think you have an option, but you do. Save yourself,'" she writes. "I remember a small voice in my heart saying just that. My fear of public humiliation was so great that I didn’t take my own advice."
The couple, meanwhile, celebrated their seven-year wedding anniversary last month.
Last year, Wade opened up about telling Union that he had fathered a child with someone else in his ESPN documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected.
"I had a child with someone else and I had to tell her. Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is man up and tell Gabrielle Union that I’ve had a child with somebody else," he said in the documentary. "I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating."
"When you hold something in that you know is going to come out and you have this information and you know it’s gonna f**k somebody’s life up, that you care about, that you love, if it don’t hurt you, then you’re not human," Wade continued. "... Me and Gab just went through something that you never want to go through and we still came out of it."
For more on the couple, see below.