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Gabrielle Union Says Stepparent-Child Relationships Take ‘Time and Consistency’

Gabrielle Union warns against romanticizing the relationship between a stepparent and a child, and says she had to learn her place in Zaya Wade’s life.
Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia Wade, and Dwyane Wade

Zaya Wade, Gabrielle Union, Kaavia Wade, and Dwyane Wade

Courtesy of Extra

Actress Gabrielle Union documented her glam date night with husband Dwyane Wade at the 2022 Met Gala with her social media followers!

Extra’s Rachel Lindsay spoke with Gabrielle about their star-studded date, as well as her take on mental health.

The couple twinned in Versace. Union shared, “We just have stylists that work very, very well together … It’s all about having fun. If we are not having fun, we are not doing it. We had a ball.”

Dwyane went shirtless, and Gabrielle was all for it! She quipped, “I have never seen my husband so manhandled … His body is insane. He works hard.”

Gabrielle has been open about her mental health journey. She shared, “I’m almost 50. I’ve lived through traumas. I suffer from PTSD, and working out helps my mental health.”

Union is a mom to daughter Kaavia and a stepmom to Dwyane’s three kids from previous relationships.

Gabrielle has developed an especially close bond with his daughter Zaya, 14, who transitioned in 2020.

She noted, “I think a lot of people romanticize stepparent-child relationships and that it’s all super-fast, and the reality is, just like any other relationship, it takes time and consistency ... You can’t step in and assume any role that doesn’t exist … Time is time.”

She continued, “I had to figure out a way to know what my place is — not just in her life but in our house. And then who can I be to her, like a revered adult … And our relationship is beautiful because we took the time.”

Gabrielle and Zaya work together on handling social media at home. She explained, “It’s all checks and balances … We have to constantly check in and have real discussions about the people that she follows, the people she wants to follow.”

Now, the two are teaming up to combat toxic online beauty advice with the help of the Dove self-esteem project. Gabrielle pointed out, “Fifty percent of girls on social media report getting bad or negative beauty advice. That’s leading to low self-esteem, and we know how far it can go and where low self-esteem can lead. I’m not willing to take that risk… It helps empower parents.”

As for how to fight back against toxic information, Gabrielle answered, “We do positive affirmations. We don’t speak negatively about our skin color or our hair texture. We try to use more celebratory language in our house.”

Union stressed the importance of “promoting resources, helping folks to start a conversation.”