Trending Topics

‘Am I Supposed to Be a Friend?’: Gabrielle Union Says She Struggled to Find Her Footing as Stepmom to Dwyane Wade’s Kids After Marriage 

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade welcomed their first child together, daughter Kaavia James Wade, via surrogacy in November 2018. But the actress had already stepped into motherhood years prior.

When the couple married in 2014, Wade already had three children, Zaire and Zaya, whom he shares with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, and Xavier Zechariah, whom he fathered with Aja Metoyer in 2013. The former Miami Heat shooting guard also cared for his nephew, Dahveon Morris. In 2008, while still dating the actress, Wade, 41, gained custody of Zaire and Zaya. 

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

In a recent interview for HelloBeautiful, Union, 50, rehashed how figuring out her role in the children’s lives came with a learning curve. “When I became a stepmom, I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing,'” she recalled. The “Truth Be Told” actress shared that her thoughts regarding her place in the family included, “They have a mom, she’s alive. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, but like I’m here with them every day.”

Union said that at one point she questioned, “Am I supposed to be a friend?” Instead, of anguishing over her family role, she realized that “I had to figure out how to be consistent, and nurturing, and compassionate, and love for each of them. I knew that one size fits all was not gonna work.”

In 2021, Union opened up about being labeled as a stepparent. By definition, she obviously fits the title, but in the Wade household, she is not reduced to the outsider designation. “It’s very annoying. It’s not a word that I use,” she told “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast host Glenn Doyle.

The “Breaking” star also stressed the importance of consistency. “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,” she noted.

“I knew that when I married him, I was married to them,” said Union. She also expressed that she was aware that making her presence permanent was by no means an attempt to replace Funches-Wade. In fact, she said anyone who attempted to do so would be making a grave misstep. She warned, “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. That is not your job. Your job is to be consistent.”

Back to top