“I knew what a knockout of a woman she was and that she was a good actress, and I just couldn’t believe they thought that she would legitimately pick me as her husband,” he says on Tuesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
And when it came to keeping up with Union's real-life love, Braff admits he had no idea who he was. “First of all, I knew nothing about sports,” he said. “So, when she kept talking about her husband, Dwyane, I was like, ‘Oh, I hope to one day meet this Dwyane.’ I had no idea who it was.”
The 46-year-old actor knows the former athlete now, which he acknowledged added some pressure to the role. “They’re just the coolest couple,” Braff says. “I was worried about pretending to be her husband. So, all I could do was get in the best shape I could, and have some abs. I had an ab or two.”
Union and Wade have been married since 2014, while Braff has been in a relationship with actress Florence Pugh for three years.
Braff and Union are the leads in the upcoming Disney+ original film. The movie, which is a heartwarming “fresh take” on Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt’s 2003 version, will see the couple navigating their life with 10 children.
“It’s a 2022 version with a mixed family,” Braff says. “The beautiful Gabrielle Union plays my wife. She had kids from another marriage. I had kids from another marriage, we came together, had some of our own, so now we have this beautiful mixed family.”
The new Cheaper by the Dozen was directed by Gail Lerner, and the screenplay was written by Kenya Barris (Black-ish) and Jenifer Rice-Genzuk Henry (Grown-ish). Barris and Union also serve as producers on the film.
In addition to Union and Braff, the film also stars Erika Christensen, Timon Kyle Durrett, Journee Brown, Kylie Rogers, Andre Robinson, Caylee Blosenski, Aryan Simhadri, Leo Abelo Perry, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Christian Cote, Sebastian Cote and Luke Prael.
Cheaper by the Dozen premieres exclusively on Disney+ on March 18.