If you've been keeping up with social media, you might be familiar with the now-viral video circulating of a couple embodying black love goals. The bride was a statesque goddess, her crown of afro hair surrounding her like the queen she was. And her groom who surrendered to the emotions of the moment as he cried tearfully in the middle of his vows. It was a beautiful sight for sore eyes and a beautiful reminder of the power of love.
The couple featured in the video were newlyweds Chris McFadden Jr., 32, and Nicole McFadden, 28. One conversation with the Philly couple and you understand how much of each other's yin is in tune with their yang, a rhythm. Like soul speak.
The couple's love story has humble beginnings. After meeting through a mutual friend while doing volunteer work at a local food desert, Nicole decided to shoot her shot with Chris over Instagram and a couple of strategically placed likes. They felt like home for one another from the jump. Found comfort in their similarities, and security in the fact that they knew they were each other's one.
"I think what I saw in her was what I wanted in a woman and I knew I didn't want to be without her. I saw the passion that she wanted in a relationship and out of me as a man, and I wasn't that person that she wanted as a man, but I saw that she just wanted to pull that out of me," Chris said. "I was looking at her like she wants me to be this person for her, and she really, really, really wants me and I really, really, really want her so I'm gonna be this guy. And it wasn't like a fake the funk vibe, but it was like…I want to grow to this place, so I could be a better man for myself and for her."
On November 11, 2017, the couple said, "I do" under the eyes of God and surrounded by friends and family. Like their love, a particular moment from the ceremony, lives on in the form of a viral video. The 15-second clip spread like wildfire on social media on gossip site pages and black love pages, and showed the blushing bride and her groom as he read his vows. While reading his promises to his wife-to-be, Chris could be seen falling to pieces, overcome with emotions.
It was the official start of their forever. And the gravity and the reality of that could be felt by Chris in that instant. "I was at the last sentence of my vows," he recalled. "It wasn't like I was emotional to the point where I was about to cry while reading my vows. I literally was thinking, 'Let me just get through these vows so I can kiss the bride and we'll be on our merry way. We'll go to the reception, we'll have a party.' But that last line hit me, and it hit my soul like whoa…we're about to get married. I'm spending my life with the woman I love."
Chris continued, "So after, I don't know if you can see in the video, I was kinda trying to be macho, but it was a subconscious thing like whoa, this feels kind of like a soul cleanse. That cry was like clearing up a lot of old me and I just turned into a new me and a new man I'm about to become after I say my vows and kiss the bride and all of that. That's all it was. Like legitimately, it felt like I was shot."
The line that brought him to tears was, "And forever isn't long enough." It struck a chord with him because those five words were a true embodiment of how they feel about their love.
"We said it in both our vows," he said. "I was about to say forever isn't long enough, but I broke down right before I said that."
Despite the attempt of the public to gain control of the narrative, the moment was an emotional time for Nicole as well. In their wedding, the couple had their bridal party walk in to the ceremony to the skits from Lauryn Hill's Miseducation where the students answered the question of, "What is love?" From there, they took a seat on lounge furniture couches. At the altar, on her side, she had her two brothers, and on his side, he had his two sisters. They were the only people standing at their wedding. For them, it symbolized the love they had all their lives from their siblings who always had their back.
"When he broke down, his sisters began to console him and honestly it just all came full circle for me," Nicole explained.
"To see his sisters have his back in that moment, I felt that it would have been selfish for me to interrupt, because I don't know if they feel like I'm taking their brother or they're gaining a sister."
"I saw a moment happening and I respect them too much to interrupt. I'm actually crying in the video. And I look away, because I began to cry more and I look to my brothers, who were behind me, and I look to my bridesmaids, I turn back around…and then like I'm holding my hands really tight and I wanted to touch him, but I know him and if I would've touched him when he was crying, I just felt like a lot of emotions…a lot more emotions would have come about. But the biggest, biggest piece was I saw his sisters consoling him and I didn't want to interrupt that moment. I have the rest of my life to console this man and to take care of this man and to cherish this man. And I know that that was a special moment for his sisters to stand next to him, specifically on that day. I would do the same thing again, despite what people think."
Nicole and Chris made it clear that despite some of the backlash and the unsolicited criticism of their marriage after a weekend reposted on a prominent Instagram account, that their foundation isn't shook. They've spent years cultivating and nurturing their love – people who mind don't matter. "We lost nothing from that day; we had an amazing honeymoon in China and in Thailand. We have amazing careers and we're happy. We just want to change the narrative. We found that a lot of people are reaching out to us just flat out stating like trolls ruined your wedding day, but it's like… no, that still happened. That was amazing, you know what I mean? The internet is not reality. Social media for us has been one of the biggest hurdles of our marriage and we jumped over it easily, in our opinion."
Walked around it, over it, and ultimately through it. A month and a little over a week since making it official, Chris and Nicole are very happy about what spending the rest of their lives looks like. With flourishing careers, a fulfilling home life, dedication to self-work, and traveling every other month – the two soulmates who are lucky in love are ready for wherever life takes them. No timeline necessary.
Congrats Chris and Nicole!
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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