Gabrielle Union's stepkids asked her to be a stay-at-home-mom: 'They thought I shouldn't work'

Megan Sims
·3 min read

Gabrielle Union opened up becoming a bonus mom to husband Dwyane Wade's kids.

On a recent episode of Gwyneth Paltrow's The Goop Podcast, the actresses discussed their experiences as stepparents. Union, who admitted that her experience was different as she came into the relationship with no children, noted that things moved quickly after Wade gained full custody of his kids Zaya and Zaire from a previous marriage.

"Let's say the judge ruled at 1 p.m. and they were on a plane like a few hours later," she recalled. "Like it was that fast and everything changed. We were just dating, but I was going to be the consistent woman in their life." 

Union opened up about her own experience with her stepmom, who came into her life after her parents divorced following 25 years of marriage. She decided to implement takeaways from the experience in her new role.

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"My dad married my stepmother nine days after the divorce was final, I've got some unresolved issues there. So I tried to do the opposite of what I thought my stepmother did wrong, or could have done better," she said. "So I tried to stay in my lane and just be consistent. As I tell other women and men in this position, whoever you are, if you're a curmudgeon then just be a curmudgeon and then they get used to that. If you're a pushover, just stay the pushover. Don't try to put on personalities around them. Whoever you are, just be consistent so everyone can get used to whoever the hell you are and you're not putting on an act so that the mask falls off and they're like 'whoa, now you're the psycho stepmom, or the irrationally mean stepdad.' Be the consistent adult that is above the fray."

She also advised against saying anything negative about their biological parents, even if they're not doing the same. In that situation, she suggested that stepparents show understanding, grace and compassion.

While no family is "normal," Union said that by the time the kids were preteens, they started to crave a more conventional setup and asked that she be a stay-at-home mom. 

"They thought I shouldn't work, I should be at home like the other moms," she said. "By the time we got married, it was just, I think, a relief for them, which isn't always an emotion you associate with kids in this situation. Then they were like, 'ah we're a normal family. But wait, you're still leaving and dad's still rich, so what's happening here?' I'm like, 'oh yeah, sometimes women want to work and have a career, and do other things, and this is what makes me who I am. And it doesn't mean that I love you any less or that I don't want the job, or I don't love being your stepmother. I will do my best to be here for all the things you want me to be here [for], at the same time making that space for mom or dad is there. It is the golden seat of honor always." 

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Union regularly shares photos on social media of her blended family that includes daughter Kaavia, whom she shares with Wade. The couple has also been praised for their unwavering support of Zaya, who came out as trans last year. In a series of tweets, Union praised Zaya for living her truth.

"Meet Zaya. She's compassionate, loving, whip-smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people," she wrote.

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