Gabrielle Union continues to open up about her life with her new book, You Got Anything Stronger? The actress details her harrowing journey to motherhood, how she felt about husband Dwyane Wade getting another woman pregnant while they were on a break and now she's opening up about the time in her life once she divorced her first husband.
Gabrielle was married to NFL star Chris Howard for five years and ultimately broke up due to her husband's cheating. The L.A's Finest star detailed her marriage to Chris in her first book, We're Going to Need More Wine, where she also revealed his bizarre proposal and their wedding, in which she ignored all the red signs.
However, in her second book, she reflected on what happened after her divorce, which involved a bucket list of men.
During her recent book tour stop in Atlanta, Gabrielle sat down with her friend and music manager Chaka Zulu and recalled the time she shared the list with him.
"So I got divorced and like other divorced people, you have a mental bucket list. I had a bucket list of diddles. I was like, here is my deep, what do they call it, Red Sea scrolls of gentleman callers I would like to check their [availability] on, check their pulse and Chaka was like, 'about 99.9% of that list are f--k boys and I was like, 'yes exactly.'"
The Being Mary Jane star assured her friend that she was ready to take on f-boys despite his warnings.
"I feel tall enough to enjoy this ride. I will strap in and I will hold my arms up and I'll buy the picture at the end of the ride."
While neither one of them revealed names from the bucket list, it would appear that her happily ever after was closer than she expected.
She divorced her husband in 2006 and met Dwyane in 2007. Although they were just friends at first, they began dating and got engaged in 2013.
Now, they have been married for seven years, she is a bonus mom to his kids from previous relationships and they share a two-year-old daughter together.
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Both actresses have achieved groundbreaking success in Hollywood and have also thrived in entrepreneurship. Taraji made a name for herself starring in Baby Boy as well as Hustle and Flow, Hidden Figures and the popular TV drama Empire. Gabrielle became a household name thanks to Bring It On, as well as Deliver Us from Eva, and the hit TV show Being Mary Jane. The two also starred in Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too together.
In regards to entrepreneurship, they both have their own haircare lines. Taraji's line is called TPH by Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle's line is called Flawless by Gabrielle Union, but while they have similar careers and business ventures, they aren't in competition with each other. Taraji and Gabrielle both stopped by The Late Late Show with James Corden and talked about their 20 year-long friendship.
Both actresses shared their love for a cocktail and strip clubs when asked what a girls night out with them would be like. After much laughter, Taraji went on to praise Gabrielle about her vulnerability in her new book You Got Anything Stronger? and "what she means to our culture."
"I just sent her a text not too long ago thanking her for her book because, her vulnerability, (looks at Gabrielle) you're setting so many people free and especially in the Black community we have to be strong all the time. That is how we cope, but strength is killing us. Buildings are meant to be strong, not humans. You need a wall to lean on to help you stand up, but humans, we are emotional creatures and it's OK to feel all the feels and I think that was so beautiful to share."
The host of the Facebook Watch show Peace of Mind continued to gush over her friend Gabrielle, who looked on in appreciation, and opened up about how grateful she is to have a "sister" in the industry.
"It just feels good to be in an industry where it's so judgemental and it's so competitive; to find someone, to have someone, your sister in the business do the same thing you do, but we don't compete. I big her up. I'm proud of her for everything, every accomplishment she makes because it lets me know that I too can do it. It gives me hope."
Instead of competing, the L.A.'s Finest star and Muppets Haunted Mansion actress are teaming up to co-produce a feature film based off of the graphic novel Sorcerority.
Speaking on their new joint venture, Gabrielle said in a statement:
"Taraji and I have been looking for a project to work on together for a few years now and I'm excited to be partnering with her, TPH Productions and Gamechanger Films on this project. I'm looking forward to bringing this graphic novel to the big screen."
We love to see Black women working together and getting the bag.
Taraji P. Henson & Gabrielle Union Are Friendship Goals
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In addition to being mom and wife of the year to her family, these days, Gabrielle Union is making her rounds to promote the follow-up to her first memoir, You Got Anything Stronger? I don't know about you, but Gab's revelations keep proving why she will forever be a BFF in our heads. The best-selling author recently let it slip that she has an unapologetic love for frequenting strip clubs.
And given the fact that sis pulls up with racks instead of just dolla-dolla bills, her bands are bound to make the ladies dance whenever she hits the scene. In a recent visit to Jimmy Kimmel's late night show, the 48-year-old actress let it be known that she's a strip club "connoisseur" among other the other hats she wears in her life.
It's a fact that she goes more in-depth about in her second memoir, no doubt, but she was sure to give Jimmy a little snippet of her pre-pandemic habit. She told the host that she went around "10, 15 times" a year before COVID. While my tax bracket can't relate, Gabrielle revealed that she could spend anywhere between $10,000-20,000 when she visits a strip club.
"You don't really think about it because... booze. And you just want to make sure all the ladies go home with a little something."
And just in case you thought sis wasn't really about that life, Gabrielle made sure to name-drop the infamous Magic City in Atlanta as one of her preferred strip clubs when she's in the A. She also mentioned that she and her hubby Dwyane used to go to strip clubs together in the early stages of their relationship.
These days, Gabrielle says she prefers to go solo dolo or with friends, citing that Dwyane might have been intimidated by her during their "unique" date nights. As a couple, Gabrielle and Dwyane have never strayed away from being open and honest about how they keep their relationship strong. In a 2016 cover story with Ocean Drive, Gabrielle shared the secret behind their marital bliss:
"If you have good, effective, honest communication, you can handle any issue or problem in a relationship. D is literally my best friend. We really, really enjoy spending time with each other more than anybody else... If you have the chance to marry your best friend, I would highly recommend it."
And when asked about what she thought Dwyane appreciated about her, Gabrielle cleverly replied with a mission statement on self-worth:
"He appreciates my independence, and my high credit score, and the fact that if I want a Chanel bag, I'm not asking for his Amex; I've got my own."
To hear the story of her first time saying she loved her husband and more about her strip club adventures, watch the video below.
Gabrielle Union on Frequenting Strip Clubs & Saying I Love You to Dwyane Wade for the First Time
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When I think about actresses who have been cultural figures throughout my lifetime, Gabrielle Union-Wade is truly one of the first names that come to mind. I can recall being on the playground in grade school urging my friends to learn the cheer routines from Bring it On just as easily as I can remember a few years ago watching Being Mary Jane, crying from the relatability of Mary Jane's life struggles (a story for another day). It's inspiring to watch a powerful black woman whose art has been a consistent source of entertainment and influence. Although I must say, I think many of us have grown to cherish her personal journey and stories just as much.
Through avenues like social media and her first book, We're Going to Need More Wine, Gabrielle has shared her highs and lows, life-changing moments, and more. Now in her latest novel, You Got Anything Stronger?, she continues to let audiences into other intimate details of her life, including her journey to motherhood.
In 2018, Gabrielle Union welcomed her first child via surrogate. After publicly sharing her issues with fertility, many of us felt a sigh of relief and genuine happiness from the announcement. However, in her latest memoir, she shares the complete truth behind what we saw online. Yes, she was elated, but there's a lot more to the story. From questioning the validity of her motherhood to healing after her now husband's 'break baby' years before, she details her surrogacy journey.
Time Magazine shared an excerpt from the new release, and all I'm gonna say is, I understand the realness of the title. Because I would need a shot.
Unfortunately, a lot of us have dealt with the fall-out of infidelity. The feeling of deceit and hurt is indescribable. But for most of us, we're able to heal privately. Sure, we may talk to friends and family, but no one knows except the people we choose to tell. Obviously, as a prominent star, it was different for Gabrielle Union. Imagine having millions of people aware of your situation while you are still processing the intensity of the pain. She writes:
"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."
According to studies, Black women are almost twice as likely to experience infertility than white women. Gabrielle Union is no different, she suffered what she describes as, "more miscarriages than she could confidently count" and an adenomyosis diagnosis, frequent pain, and heavy bleeding that is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. She knew something had to shift, but when her doctor recommended surrogacy, Union was determined to find another outcome. This resulted in multiple IVF cycles and losses. She was even willing to try Lupron, a drug that had only a 30% success rate and dire side effects.
"Why was I so willing to risk myself for a chance? If there was another way for me to bring my baby into the world, and have my health, why was it so hard for me to make peace with that?"
This decision led to initial insecurity meeting the surrogate, feeling the grief of prior miscarriages, and ultimately a complex sea of emotions and gratitude for Kaavia's birth.
"If I am telling the fullness of our stories, of our three lives together, I must tell the truths I live with. And I have learned that you can be honest and loving at the same time."
As a woman who desires motherhood one day, I think stories like this are needed. Motherhood doesn't look one way, and Gabrielle Union's authentic way of sharing the emotions that come with this, is part of why I and so many others gravitate toward her.
Anyway, I'm excited to add her book to the fall reading list, but I can tell it's going to be intense. If you're interested in checking it out, it's available for purchase here.
Read more of her Time Magazine essay here.
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The concept of going to therapy has now been made mainstream as all things mental health matters have been brought to the forefront. While prioritizing our mental health is something this panorama and 2020 overall has emphasized is of the utmost importance, enforcing boundaries and amplifying self-preservation is still something seen as a radical act of self-love among Black women. And it's because so many of us are still unlearning hard lessons of toxic strength and resilience that brainwashed us into believing we have to have our capes on at all times.
We are so used to being all things to all people, we often forget ourselves, so the Naomi Osakas and Simone Bileses of the world doing their part to emit a battle cry of "no" in lieu of placing themselves first has been yet another thing to add to the list of things "we love to see" for the culture. In her recent cover story with British Vogue, Zendaya added her voice to the growing mental health conversation by revealing why she is such an advocate for therapy.
Despite the undoubtable M's in her bank account and her award-winning projects on deck, the Hollywood starlet had trouble navigating uncertain times as shakily as a lot of us did outchea last year. She described what she went through emotionally as a "kind of taste of sadness where you wake up and you just feel bad all day, like what the f**k is going on? What is this dark cloud that's hovering over me and I don't know how to get rid of it, you know?"
After encountering one of her most difficult years to-date, Zendaya decided to look to therapy to help pull her out of her dark moments. She explained to British Vogue:
"Yeah, of course I go to therapy. I mean, if anybody is able to possess the financial means to go to therapy, I would recommend they do that. I think it's a beautiful thing. You know, there's nothing wrong with working on yourself and dealing with those things with someone who can help you, someone who can talk to you, who's not your mom or whatever. Who has no bias."
Zendaya is not alone in expressing the gratitude for the peace of mind she's experienced since investing in therapy. In fact, here are 9 more celebs on why they are advocates for going to therapy.
In a 2019 interview for Fuse's The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle, Issa Rae admitted that she hadn't really considered going to therapy a priority until hearing the stories of the two co-hosts and how they've done the work. She also noted that watching her mother and grandmother as Black women carry around burdens with no one to help them with it served as another reminder to invest in therapy as an act of self-care.
"...I think the first time I finally made the time to go was just last year. I did three little sessions and I fucked with it. But it is important to not necessarily go because you think something's wrong, but you should if you're in an industry like this, prioritize it because nobody else will. And that's what I've learned just throughout my journey here."
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson has been doing the work and paying it forward through her work with her foundation, Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation. Per The Jasmine Brand in 2019, Taraji P. Henson revealed:
"I suffer from depression. My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I've never really dealt with anxiety like that. It's something new… It [fame] was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be. I think there's a misconception with people in the limelight that we have it all together, and because we have money now and are living out our dreams, everything is fine. That's not the case. When they yell 'Cut' and 'That's a wrap,' I go home to very serious problems. I'm still a real human."
In regards to investing in therapy, she went on to say:
"You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises. So that when you're on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments."
Janelle Monae is another entertainer who has made it no secret that she looks at going to therapy as a vital part of her self-care regimen.
"When I first started getting a check, I went to therapy. Therapy is important. And being a Black woman that was not something that was pushed in my community, it was always 'pray about it, God will take care of it'. I believe in a higher power but I also believe that that higher power gives you people on Earth to help walk you through some of your darkest times and help you cope and deal."
"You need to find a way to talk about the darkest parts of your life. I've been in therapy for the last 25 years. Whatever path you need to take to heal, it's the best one."
A couple of years ago, rapper Big Sean got real about the "why" behind him taking a year-long hiatus to take care of his mental health. Shortly thereafter, he became more candid about his experience with anxiety and depression and how therapy ultimately helped him gain clarity.
"I just felt lost. You know what I'm saying? I didn't know how I got there. I've been meditating since I was 17 years old. You know, that helps with anxiety, depression all those things. All those things that I felt. But it wasn't doing it all the way for this, so I knew that this required some special attention.
"So what I did was, I started therapy. I got a good therapist. You know what I'm saying? I was blessed enough to talk to some super-spiritual people. And they made me realize one thing that I was missing in my life, and that was clarity."
Keke Palmer is another young celebrity that has been candid about her bouts with anxiety and depression throughout the years. She opened up to Cosmopolitan about being in therapy for years as a means to cope with her mental health issues:
"Being able to say how I feel, that was something that was so hard for me for so long. If you grow up in the industry, it forces you to be agreeable at all times. When it came to saying 'I'm tired and I want to figure out how to balance my life better,' 'I feel lonely, 'I'm afraid of my stardom' — those things I could not say."
In a 2018 chat with Oprah Daily about mental health, Kelly Rowland opened up about what inspired her to go to therapy:
"I realized I didn't want to try to figure things out by myself. I can try as much as I can, but doing it all myself, I'd end up driving myself insane circling the same situation and same problem over and over again."
"Sometimes people feel like faith and praying...and don't get me wrong, I have faith and I pray and I do believe I'll get through things with that also. But I like to talk to somebody who has the insight of psychology, too. There are other connectors. It's important that we understand that as well."
"I've done therapy on an as-needed basis since I was probably 10 years old. My father was an alcoholic and a very abusive one, and my mother knew the value of providing me with the outlet of an unbiased person to talk to. So I've done that all my life when times get stressful. It really helps me deal with stuff."
"Therapy helped me realize that maybe it's OK for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it's okay for me to express myself.
"I say that publicly because I think it's really important to take the stigma away from mental health. My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don't know why I wouldn't seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn't I go to a shrink?"
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Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are living their best livesssss hunni, and we are here for it! The 39-year-old retired NBA player, and 48-year-old actress left the kids at home and took off to vacation in the Mediterranean with friends, as they enjoy relaxing sunsets and pull up to gems on a yacht that has us all screaming in poor.
The two couldn't care less about who's watching, packing on the PDA, all of which Union has been documenting throughout the trip.
Additionally, sis' story is filled with views on views on views, as she enjoys life with bae without a care in the world. The two have been traveling quite a bit over the last few weeks, and anyone who has been following the couple for a while knows that a "Wade World Tour" is what the two call their baecations together. And the best thing about the trips? All of the photos, of course! What else?!
The Wade World Tours are (mostly) annual, as in the past, (and pre-pandemic) they've visited Ibiza and the Greek Isles for other hugely documented trips--trips which the couple credits to keeping their marriage in tact. They told PEOPLE:
"This is both of our second marriages, and we're super transparent about that. We didn't do it right, the first time around. There's another way—to be more collaborative and equitable. We humble ourselves, listen and we meet in the middle."
Ever since, the couple have been open about what works for them, no matter how big or small.
"In this partnership, there are times when I have to lead, times when I have to step back and times where we are side by side."
Thankfully, this trip is just in time, as Union is scheduled to go out on tour for her new book, You Got Anything Stronger? in September, and Wade has a new TV game show and journey into NBA ownership.
Keep scrolling for some of our favorite moments!
When Dwyane showed off why he's the GOAT in a video of himself jumping off the yacht. "There's no going back," he captioned the video:
And finally, when Gabrielle had one important question:
Currently, there's no word on how long this vacation will be happening, but we do know that we will be tuned in.
Now, let me check these flights to the Mediterranean...
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