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‘Pretty Doesn’t Pay the Bills’: Gabrielle Union Says Addressing Her ‘Daddy Issues’ In Therapy Helped Rid of Her Desire to be Validated for Her Looks Over Her Acting Skills

Gabrielle Union is opening up about coming to terms with her appearance.

The 50-year-old actress recently explained that not being told she was pretty as a child led to a “soul wound” that was uncovered during therapy.

Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union. (Photo: @gabunion/Instagram)

During an interview on the June 21 episode of the podcast “Skip Intro with Krista Smith,” Union told the podcast host that she began her acting career as a model and wanted to be validated for her looks rather than her acting abilities.

“The Perfect Find” star admitted that once being rejected because of her looks robbed her of “confidence” and “joy.” 

“I just wanted it so badly. And it’s beyond just being chosen for a role, it’s feeling like I was chosen because I was attractive,” admitted Union. “Or, like, you know, I didn’t care if you thought I was a good actor, I just wanted to know that someone outside of my parents thinks I am cute, attractive, lovely, whatever.”

Union went on to say that after she began booking jobs, her self-esteem didn’t change and someone told her that she should seek therapy because she may have “daddy issues.” The “Bring It On” star added that after speaking with her father, she learned he had been focusing on encouraging her to be a great athlete, student and person.

“I was like, ‘Why did you never tell me I was pretty?’ And he was like, ‘Pretty doesn’t pay the bills. You’re Black. I’m Black. Your mom’s Black. Your grandparents are Black. We didn’t come from s—t. I came from the projects. Being pretty never helped any one of us. So I thought I was encouraging you to be a great athlete, to be a great student, to be a great person.’ And I was like, Damn,” recalled the actress.

Union explained that she has since learned about self-love and is happy being who she is without needing anyone else’s validation.

“The more I’ve leaned into self-love and self-realization, I can’t be invested in your opinion of me or anyone’s opinion of me,” she said. “My truth just is, and it’s none of my business how anyone else reacts or responds to my truth, and it has freed me from the constant need to be validated by a man, a job, an opportunity, a cover, whatever. I’m good in every hood being exactly who the hell I am, and at some point, that’s enough.”

Union’s latest film, “The Perfect Find” is currently streaming on Netflix and is based on the novel by Tia Williams about a media mogul who finds love with her boss’s son.

Union is married to former NBA star Dwyane Wade and the couple has a 4-year-old daughter, Kaavia James. Union is also stepmother to Wade’s children from previous relationships — Zaire, 21, Zaya, 16, Xavier, 9 and Wade’s nephew, Dahveon Morris, 21.

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