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Why Gabrielle Union Isn't A Fan Of Being Referred To As A 'Stepparent'

Sis can do without the label.

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union is not here for the label stepparent. While she became a stepparent after marrying Dwyane Wade in 2014, that doesn't mean that she wants to be defined by it. The actress spoke about the dislike of that term during her appearance on Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things podcast.


Dwyane is a father to three children, Zaire, Zaya and Xavier Zechariah, who Dwyane had with Aja Metoyer after he and Gabrielle took a relationship break. The former Miami Heat player also takes care of his nephew Dahveon Morris and he shares Kaavia James with the LA's Finest actress.

"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?" She said. "It's very annoying. It's not a word that I use."

Rather than being the stepparent, Gabrielle wanted to just be the "additional adult" that the kids will have in their lives. "I wanted to make sure I was consistent in their lives. 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. I just didn't know what my role was," she shared.

"I knew that when I married him, I was married to them. 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. That is not your job. Your job is to be consistent. If you're a disciplinarian in your own life, continue to be that. Just be consistent so they know who you are… and kids adapt."

This isn't the first time the Do You Have Anything Stronger? author has spoken about being the additional adult in Dwyane's kids' lives.

During an episode of Red Table Talk, Gabrielle sat down with Jada Pinkett Smith to discuss what it was like being a "bonus mom," a term Jada uses with Will Smith's son, Trey Smith, who he shares with Sheree Zampino.

"It is a master class of staying in your lane while at the same time as being a consistent presence," she said. She also touched on the challenges that come with that such as not always being able to give your opinion. "It's just your job to love them up whether the parent is involved, not involved, deceased; that parent is a presence in their life forever."

Featured image by Rich Fury/Getty Images for Gucci

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