Professional basketball player Dwyane Wade got down on one knee and proposed to his then-girlfriend, actress Gabrielle Union, in December 2013. That engagement was a long time coming, considering the couple had been dating since 2009, and Union had become a loving and supportive fixture in Wade’s children’s lives, as well. Perhaps their snail-paced journey to the altar had a lot to do with the nontraditional start to their union.
For one, Wade was married to his high school sweetheart when he and the Bring It On star began their romance, and in the years leading up to the duo saying "I do," he would go through a lengthy divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife and conceive a baby with another woman. Sounds pretty messy already, doesn’t it? Well, just wait. It gets even weirder. Here are all the strange things about Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s marriage.
Dwyane Wade’s creds looked like ‘crap,’ but Gabrielle Union gave him a shot anyway
Prior to meeting Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union had more than a few unsuccessful relationships with other athletes. There was former NBA star Jason Kidd who dumped her "two weeks before the junior prom," she told the Bay State Banner. And then, there was former professional football player Chris Howard, who Union wed in 2001. After he reportedly cheated on her throughout their marriage, the couple decided to call it quits, Today reported. Striking out in the sports world meant Union wasn’t keen on dating another athlete ever again, especially not someone who arrived with a ton of baggage.
"When I met Dwyane, his ‘résumé’ looked like crap: athlete, going through a divorce, nine years younger than me. None of that screamed, ‘Let’s have a lasting relationship,’ she told Glamour magazine. Union finally had a change of heart after "a heart-crushing breakup with yet another immature jerk." She added, "I thought, it can’t be any worse if I date a fetus. Let’s just see what happens." Okay, their age difference makes us a bit uncomfy, but did she sorta kinda call Wade a fetus? Talk about a low-blow.
Gabrielle Union ignored a sea of red flags
Dwyane Wade’s life was in complete disarray when he began dating Gabrielle Union in 2009. Not only was Wade still legally married to his then-wife and high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches (pictured, right), but the two were embroiled in a nasty divorce and custody battle.
TMZ reported that Funches accused Wade of infecting her with chlamydia during their marriage. She later withdrew her claim, reported The Associated Press (via the Sun-Sentinel), but Wade moved forward with a $50,000 lawsuit against her for causing him "embarrassment" and "humiliation." Things quickly spiraled. Wade filed for sole custody of their two sons, Zaire Wade and Zion Wade (pictured, right), which he was later granted. Funches was arrested for allegedly kidnapping their sons. At one point, she accused him of being a drunk and a druggie, and he accused her of throwing a marble object at him during one of their heated arguments, ESPN reported. What a mess!
Not surprisingly, Union had doubts about continuing her relationship with the professional baller, but she eventually decided it was worth it after she "did a lot of talking with girlfriends and sorting through my feelings about the madness," she told Jet (via Us Weekly). Wade’s divorce from Funches was finalized in 2010. But still, holy moly. Oodles of dramz!
Gabrielle Union reputation took a hit during Dwyane Wade’s divorce
Did you think Gabrielle Union made it through the aforementioned divorce debacle without taking a few punches? Think again. She was dragged through the dirt and into the legal melee, too. Siohvaughn Funches claimed in a lawsuit that the actress and Dwyane Wade "engaged in sexual foreplay" in front of their two sons, which reportedly led to the eldest son developing anxiety, reported E! News. A judge later tossed that case, but in the midst of all the messiness, critics labeled Union a homewrecker.
Union has denied doing anything wrong, telling Jet magazine (via Us Weekly) that the love she shares with Dwyane Wade is "a gift." She added, "It’s so consistent. There’s no way that I would trade it for people who refuse to simply acknowledge the truth."
Dwyane Wade fathered a child with someone else
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s December 2013 engagement coincided with another jaw-dropping announcement. The couple had briefly parted ways earlier that same year, and during their break, Wade fathered a baby boy with another woman. He revealed the baby news during a press conference (via E! News).
The child’s mother, Aja Metoyer (pictured, right), told Bossip in May 2017 (without directly mentioning Wade or Union by name,) that she and the basketball star had known each other for "10 years plus." She added, "It seems messy but if you compare it to any other situation, it’s no beef. Everybody’s good. Everyone’s extremely happy." Um, yeah, we’re not sure we’re buying that.
TMZ dig some digging and reported that all was not so black and white within this triangle. The tab claimed Wade and Union were not on a break when he impregnated Metoyer, though Union and Wade have insisted there was no cheating. TMZ noted that Union’s social media activity in February 2013 — around the time the baby was conceived — didn’t hint at a breakup. In fact, the actress had reportedly posted a series of romantic photos of Wade on her Instagram account during that time. However, in April 2013, Union began posting sad, cryptic messages. Her mood picked back up in May when she began to gush over Wade once again. "One would assume it was right around this time that Union decided to take him back," TMZ wrote. Messy indeed.
Their wedding was his ‘princess day’
While fans were still reeling over the news that Dwyane Wade had fathered a child with someone other than Gabrielle Union, the couple moved forward with planning their fairy-tale wedding. When Union spoke with Us Weekly in June 2014, she admitted that Wade had taken control of all of the logistics. "He realized that I was trying to turn it into a frat party with k-cups and beer pong, and he took over," she said. "He really Kanye’d himself and really doubled down, and it’s his princess day and I’m just along for the ride."
Since it was Union’s second wedding, we can somewhat understand why she may have felt so laid-back about it, but we think Wade made the right decision to grab the bull by the horns. Their beautiful August 2014 wedding at the Chateau Artisan in Miami was one for the books…sans kegger. Nice call, Princess D-Wade.
Gabrielle Union is Dwyane Wade’s worst fan
If you’re at a Miami Heat basketball game and you hear someone going absolutely ballistic and heckling like there’s no tomorrow, Gabrielle Union is most likely the culprit.
As of this writing, Wade has won three championships with the Heat, so he obviously knows a thing or two about the game of basketball. Still, that hasn’t stopped Union from chiming in from the peanut gallery. She has even mocked his poor performances in interviews. "Last night he took an incredibly bad shot," she told Ocean Drive magazine in 2016. "It went off of the side of the backboard. It didn’t even come close to the net!" Her criticism reportedly got so bad that Wade even banned her from sitting courtside at his games. "I’m like dance mom. I’ve become like Bobby Knight and like The Great Santini, it’s bad. [I scream] like ‘brick!’ and ‘air ball!’" Union told Conan O’Brien.
As weird as it may seem that she unloads such harsh criticism instead of sugarcoating her words, Union has a solid reason why she’s so tough on her hubby, telling O’Brien, "Who’s gonna tell him if not me?" Welp, enjoy those nosebleed seats, Gabby!
Point them to the nearest Wally World
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union live an action-packed life, complete with frequent vacations to every corner of the globe, but when it comes time to relax, they like to chill with their family, which includes Wade’s three sons from previous relationships, his nephew Dahveon Morris (pictured, second from right), who they’re also raising, and their daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, who the couple revealed to the world in November 2018. So what do two rich and successful celebs like to do during their downtime?
"One of D’s favorite things to do as a family is go to Walmart," Union told Ocean Drive magazine. She confessed that when they’re in Miami, it’s more challenging for them to to do regular, everyday things, but when they’re in Los Angeles, all bets are off. "We really enjoy Walmart, Target, going to the grocery store. He loves to take the dogs to the car wash. He’s the guy with the Maltese at the car wash!" she said. Celebrities — they’re just like us!
Dwyane Wade has always been on Santa’s naughty list
While interviewing former Today show personality Tamron Hall for Oprah Magazine in 2019, Gabrielle Union brought up the subject of parenting and revealed that she and Wade disagree when it comes to Santa Claus. The surprising confession came when Union asked Hall, "You’re a Black woman from the South. Do you ever feel like your experiences inform your parenting differently than it might other parents?"
Before she let the former Today co-host answer, Union took the opportunity to share a personal anecdote, revealing, "I’ll say to my husband, ‘Let’s tell the kids their Christmas gifts are from Santa.’ And my husband is like, ‘There’s no way in hell I’m letting these kids think that old white man is sneaking into our house and doing anything for them.’ Because he didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus." Union added that the disagreement has resulted in the pair having "these conversations when it comes to raising our children about where to draw the line between fantasy and ‘Hey, that’s not how life works.’"
Hall, for one, knew exactly where Union was coming from. "Modern parenting is especially difficult for parents of color," she conceded. "We have to talk about not only ‘Are we gonna say Santa exists,’ but also ‘Is Santa Black?’"
Gabrielle Union wore Wade’s face on the red carpet
In August 2019, Gabrielle Union showed her hubby some serious love on the America’s Got Talent red carpet when she arrived at the quarter finals wearing a dress covered in his face. The floor-length gown featured a black-and-white photo of Dwyane Wade printed all over it, forming a mosaic of the retired NBA star.
The strapless creation was a new take on RXCH’s Gala dress, which retails for $290 and normally features Lil’ Kim’s 1996 mugshot photo from when the young rapper was arrested in New Jersey and charged with possession of marijuana.
The former AGT judge took to Instagram to share a snap of herself in the frock, posing with Wade and their daughter, Kaavia James, and joked, "Future so bright, gotta wear Wades." She also used Instagram Stories [via People] to tell her fans that she had chosen a picture of Wade she was "obsessed" with. Union completed her headline-making outfit by holding up a copy of her own black-and-white high school photo.
Did Dwyane Wade try to play the victim in his baby daddy scandal?
Dwyane Wade made headlines in 2013 when he confirmed that he had fathered a child with another woman while on a break from dating Gabrielle Union. While he addressed the scandal at the time and called the birth of his son a "blessing," the former Miami Heat star opened up about the incident again in 2020 in his ESPN documentary, titled D. Wade: Life Unexpected.
Opening up about that time in his life, he said [via Entertainment Tonight], "Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is man up and tell Gabrielle Union that I’ve had a child with somebody else." Surprisingly, however, he didn’t just touch on the pain Union felt, but also on his own struggle with the truth. "I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating," he continued. "When you hold something in that you know is going to come out and you have this information and you know it’s gonna f*** somebody’s life up, that you care about, that you love — if it don’t hurt you, then you’re not human."
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade keep it ‘fresh’ and ‘exciting’ in the bedroom
It was during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in February 2020 that Wade opened up about how he and his wife keep the spark alive. Showing zero qualms about sharing their bedroom habits with the world, Wade told Cohen, "We go out at night, we’ll be strangers. And I get into character. I’m talking ’bout, I’m grabbing hair in the club! We do roleplay. We keep it fresh. We try to keep it exciting."
Explaining why they find roleplaying so important, he added, "You get into a routine sometimes and you’ll be like… tomorrow. And then tomorrow goes to two months where you ain’t get no action. So we gotta do roleplay. Sometimes I gotta be like, ‘Take your clothes off and go walk down the street,’ you know what I mean?!"