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‘It’s Not a Word That I Use’: Gabrielle Union Reveals She Doesn’t Describe Herself as a Stepparent to Dwyane Wade’s Children

Gabrielle Union assumes numerous titles in her life but stepparent is not one.

In 2014 the actress married then Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade who came in tow with three children of his own — Zaire, Zaya, Xavier Zechariah as well as his nephew Dahveon Morris. While Union had been in the lives of Wade’s children throughout their years of dating, marriage solidified her presence to those outside of the family. 

(From left) Zaire, Zaya, Dwyane Wade, Kaavia James, Gabrielle Union. (Photo: @gabunion/Instagram)

“The stepparent label was put on me by the kids’ school because you have to describe yourself: Who are you if you’re not their mother?” explained Union on the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast. 

Though the term stepparent is widely used and accepted for non-biological parental figures, Union said it is not a term she embraces. “It’s very annoying. It’s not a word that I use,” she said. The “Breaking In” actress further explained that when she wed Wade she was also knowingly stepping into the dynamic of a blended family where her role would have to be defined in the ways she showed up for the children, not just by a title.  

“I knew I needed to be consistent. I just didn’t know what my role was,” she said. “What I realized very quickly is you will never, ever, I don’t care if the other parent is dead, you will never be able to replace the other parent. Don’t try to replace the other parent. … Just be consistent so they know who you are and kids adapt.”

Since then Union and Wade have shown more often than not that they are a united front despite public scrutiny of their parenting style. The duo even welcomed a daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, in 2018 via surrogacy after years of Union dealing with infertility, ultimately giving Union what she wanted all along: to be a mother. 

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