Gabrielle Union spotted heading out in New York City

Gabrielle Union Talks Feeling 'Entitled To Cheat' In Former 'Dysfunctional' Marriage

Home / Stars / Gabrielle Union Talks Feeling 'Entitled To Cheat' In Former 'Dysfunctional' Marriage

By Afouda Bamidele on January 9, 2023 at 2:00 PM EST

Gabrielle Union is reflecting on her previous marriage to Chris Howard.

The actress and the former NFL champion had walked down the aisle on May 5, 2001, after meeting in 1999 and starting a relationship. Unfortunately, they ended their matrimony four years later, with their divorce finalized in 2006. Although Union previously hinted that their marriage packed up due to infidelity, she has dished some details on her own role in its collapse.

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Gabrielle Union Thought Cheating Was Part Of The "Spoils" Of Having Money

Gabrielle Union and ex-husband Chris Howard at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel

Over the years, fans have become accustomed to Union's transparency and honesty about the sometimes controversial moments of her past. The latest instance came when she sat with Dax Shepard on his "Armchair Expert" podcast and took a trip down memory lane about her first marriage.

Describing the relationship as "dysfunctional from day one," the "10 Things I Hate About You" actress shed light on the reason she felt "entitled" to cheat in the short-lived marriage. As she told Shepard on the Monday, January 2 episode:

"In our first marriage, neither one of us felt like the marriage should get in the way of our dating. A part of it was like keeping up with his activities, like, 'Oh, that's what you're doing? You're going to feel this one.'"

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She detailed that she felt "entitled" to being unfaithful to her then-husband because "I was paying all the bills, I was working my a** off, and I felt like that's what comes [with it], the spoils of riches. Like my dad before me, whoever has the most gets to do whatever the h*ll they want, is what I thought."

The "You Got Anything Stronger?" author recalled going to cash in the therapy session one of her friends gifted her. During the session, the therapist revealed her confusion that the former couple's romance took them to the aisle. 

In fact, the therapist had advised them to "look for a way to amicably dissolve" since they did not have anything in common except "other people, so why don't you just go be with other people?"

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Union admitted that while she was looking for validation from certain people at that point in her life, she had no regrets about her actions. When Shepard admitted that he felt some regret about his actions during a previous open relationship that lasted for nine years, the "Being Mary Jane" star retorted, "I wish I had more guilt for some of that."

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The Gold Derby Awards Nominee's Relationship Timeline With Her Current Husband

Gabrielle Union's post on her Instagram page
Instagram | Gabrielle Union

The year after her split from Howard, Union met former basketball professional Dwyane Wade at a Super Bowl party they were scheduled to co-host. However, it was not love at first sight, as the actress was dealing with her marital issues, and Wade was still with his first wife, Siohvaughn Funches. To hear Union tell it, per PEOPLE:

"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.'"

That soon changed when the "Bad Boys" star suffered a heartbreak. The pair began dating in 2009 and went public in 2010 when they posed for paparazzi on the red carpet of the Summer Groove Benefit Dinner in Florida.

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Although Union and Wade broke up in 2013 due to their busy work schedules, they quickly returned to each other's arms within the same year. They were so sure of their love that they got engaged in December 2013, with both celebrities sharing the big news on social media with their fans.

By August 2014, the "Think Like A Man" star and her Miami Heat beau were married in an intimate ceremony their friends and family attended. The couple was determined to have a family affair, as Union once informed actor Arsenio Hall.

A family affair for them meant there were "no bridesmaids, no groomsmen. It's just us and the kids. And we're just riding out, just us." Unfortunately, their marriage was not smooth as they struggled with fertility for a few years before wedding their daughter, Kaavia James, in November 2018. 

The adorable tot, born via surrogate, joined Wade's three kids — Zaya, Zaire, and Xavier. While the ex-basketballer welcomed the first two children with his former wife, Xavier is the result of a different relationship.

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