Nearly nine years after Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade said, “I do,” the couple is still making headlines as they share the highs and lows of their relationship.
The pair met in February 2007, but rumors that love was in the air didn’t surface until two years later. They premiered their, ahem, union with a little courtside PDA in 2010 and have been sharing their love story with the world ever since.
The couple tied the knot in 2014 with a lux Miami wedding and sealed the deal with a three-part honeymoon extravaganza. Union has embraced her role as stepmom to Wade’s two children with his former wife, and his nephew whom Wade has custody of. And in November 2018, after a public struggle with fertility, the couple welcomed daughter Kaavia James via surrogate.
Here’s a closer look at Union and Wade’s journey — the breakups and makeups, the kids, the advocacy work and the life lessons, including that splitting the bills 50/50 is what works for them.
Feb. 4, 2007: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade meet while co-hosting a Super Bowl party
The couple met while co-hosting a sponsored 2007 Super Bowl party, but they actually didn’t hit it off right away. The “Bring It On” star hung on one side of the room partying with her pals, and according to Union, Wade was on the opposite side. He doesn’t partake, she said, so he “was on the other side of the room holding [B]ible study.”
She told Glamour in 2014 that she finally gave her husband a shot after a bad breakup. “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.’ Then, after I had a heart-crushing breakup with yet another immature jerk, I thought, it can’t be any worse if I date a fetus. Let’s just see what happens. Turned out he’d been on his own since he was 15. He had wisdom that comes with facing an insane amount of adversity. He’s sweet, funny, honest about his shortcomings. When I put my preconceived notions to the side, I found someone cool.”
July 2010: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade debut their relationship
The couple had people speculating about sparks flying as early as July 2009, when they were seated together at Wade and Alonzo Mourning’s annual charity dinner, the Summer Groove.
But it wasn’t official until July 2010, when the couple strutted the red carpet together at that same event. Cementing their coupledom days later, Union supported her Miami Heat beau at the Summer Groove All-Star Basketball Game at American Airlines Arena in Miami. During Flo Rida’s half-time performance, with about 10,000 people watching, Wade gave Union a court-side kiss.
ESPN reported on the PDA, saying that the new (official) lovebirds were seen together variously throughout the weeklong charity event, which included a youth summit, comedy show, street party, silent auction and golf tournament.
“It’s nice to be able to just live your life and not really care about what people are going to say, and just be free,” Wade told ESPN, referencing his acrimonious years-long divorce. “It is nice that you can just move on with your life.
“This summer’s been real big for me for that. I’ve been getting a lot of things behind me — and God has continued to bless me — and a lot of it has been positive. It’s been a two-and-a-half, almost three years hardship. But now it’s going away.” He said he wouldn’t get himself “in anything like this soon,” and he’ll be fine.
January 2013: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade break up
Due to busy schedules and distance, the couple broke up in early 2013. Union told Glamour, “I finished filming ‘Being Mary Jane,’ then I flew to Vegas right away to start shooting ‘Think Like a Man Too.’ I couldn’t take time off, and I missed some quality togetherness we desperately needed.”
During the summer of 2013, Union says she reassessed her priorities. “I’d always wanted an awesome career with back-to-back projects, but I realized I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my relationship for it.
“Moving forward, I decided my work schedule has to make sense for our family. … If your relationship isn’t something you’re willing to give up and you can compromise, do so.”
During their split, Wade fathered a child with “Basketball Wives” star Aja Metoyer.
Union later opened up about finding out that Wade would share a new baby with another woman in her memoir “You Got Anything Stronger?” published in late 2021. “To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience,” Gabrielle wrote. “I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now. But truth matters.”
Dec. 21, 2013: Dwyane Wade proposes to Gabrielle Union, and she says, ‘Yes!’
By December, the couple was back together with a bang. The “Being Mary Jane” actor and NBA basketball champ shared the news of their engagement in a handful of Instagram photos. “Sooooo this happened… #Yessss,” Union gushed, captioning a photo of an enormous cushion-cut sparkler settled snugly on her ring finger.
Union then posted on X (then-Twitter) “Maaaaaannn… I’m floatin! Thank you SO much for all the love, well wishes & support!” she wrote, adding, “And yes my hands were ashy … And yes my nails arent done… I was truly caught off guard but happy nonetheless 🙂 lmao #ashyknucklesbringgoodluck”
A month later, Union sat down with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on “Live With Kelly and Michael” and said she was completely surprised when Wade popped the question. Apparently, he’d planned it with the kids, and Union was told they “were just gonna spend the day together, having a little quality time, went to brunch, I’m clueless.”
After brunch, the family visited a home they were having built, and while she and her soon-to-be fiancé were touring the second level of the house, the kids called them over. “Me and D turn around and they’re like, ‘OK, now!’ And they’re holding signs that say, ‘Will you marry us?’ “But the thing is, they ask me all the time, so I was like, ‘Oh, this is embarrassing! Now they’ve made signs!’” Union said. “I turn to D like, ‘Here we go!’ and he’s down on one knee.”
February 2014: Gabrielle Union insists on a prenup to protect ‘her stuff’
This was to be the second marriage for both Wade and Union, and the “Bring It On” star wasn’t shy about wanting a prenup this time around. Union told Arsenio Hall she insisted on protecting “her stuff.”
“The biggest difference between this and the last marriage will be a prenup … at my insistence,” Union told the host, per BET. “When you have you own stuff, you don’t need to worry about anybody else’s stuff. So everyone should go into the relationship knowing I’m here for you and you’re here for me. And the reality is, I’ve never seen Dwyane balance a checkbook, so I gotta protect my stuff. It’s the wave of the future, protecting your stuff.”
Union also said at the time that she was forgoing the hassle of planning a large wedding. “No bridesmaids, no groomsmen. Trying to wrangle a bunch of broads, like oh, somebody wants one kind of dress, somebody wants something else, you start to not like them after a couple of months. So, yeah. We’re older. This is the second time around. It’s just us and the kids. We’re just riding out, just us.”
Aug. 30, 2014: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade get married in Miami
The couple wed at Chateau Artisan castle in Miami. The nuptials, which featured a performance by John Legend, were a black-and-white affair, to which Union wore a strapless Dennis Basso gown from Kleinfeld Bridal. Wade wore a customized Dsquared2 suit and white bow tie he designed himself from Tie Bar’s wedding collection.
Female guests were asked to wear white; male guests were asked to wear black tuxes and were given the option of three different black bow ties that Wade helped design as well. The moat-surrounded castle appealed to the couple, who according to TMZ asked their guests to sign confidentiality agreements and refrain from using social media at the event.
“Everyone wants to look good on their wedding day,” the fashion-forward basketball star told the New York Times. “And I’m not going around the back. My fiancée may have the bigger moment, but I want everyone to turn and see me when I’m walking down the aisle. I want my entrance.”
A casually stunning portrait shared to Instagram bearing the hashtag #TheWadeUnion showed the bride, the groom, his two children and nephew, all bespoke in their white tuxedo jackets. The basketball champ’s tailored ensemble bore white lapels.
“Our next chapter begins…together. #WadeUnion,” the athlete wrote on Facebook, posting the same snapshot.
Wade took on much of the planning himself, saying that Union “had input, but when we started, it was 85/15 leading my way. Now, it’s probably 70/30.”
About 175 to 200 guests were invited to the reception, and 250 to 275 were on the guest list for the after-party.
And then it was bon voyage to the happy newlyweds! They embarked on a three-part honeymoon, soaking up the seclusion on a desert isle in the Maldives, then going on safari in Africa’s Serengeti, and concluding their epic trip in the Seychelles.
October 2017: Gabrielle Union opens up about their infertility struggles
Gabrielle Union revealed she struggled with infertility in her memoir “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” writing, “I have had eight or nine miscarriages. For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’” she told People. “A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.”
Union later penned an essay about her experience for Time magazine. “In 2016, my doctor, Kelly Baek, a no-nonsense reproductive endocrinologist in L.A., gave it to me straight: ‘Your best chance for a healthy baby would be surrogacy.’ I had been through an adenomyosis diagnosis and more miscarriages than I could confidently count, and all I could do was nod. I was not ready to do that. I wanted the experience of being pregnant. To watch my body expand and shift to accommodate this miracle inside me. I also wanted the experience of being publicly pregnant.
“I held out for a year after Dr. Baek suggested surrogacy, and instead chose to endure more IVF cycles and losses. Everyone comes to the decision differently. Near the end of that year — that hopeful and hopeless year — I had a new plan to take Lupron, which basically quiets the adenomyosis. Dr. Baek told me I would have a 30% chance of bringing a baby to term. But the side effects of Lupron can be intense: You’re basically throwing your body into early menopause and you can break bones very easily.
“It was something my husband said that changed my mind. I told him I wanted to try the drug. Dwayne was quiet, then said, ‘You’ve done enough.’”
Nov. 7, 2018: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade welcome baby girl Kaavia James
A year after going public with her infertility struggles, Union welcomed her first child via surrogate, with the proud new dad by her side. The couple announced the birth of their daughter, Kaavia James, on Instagram, sharing photos of the new parents cradling their newborn in a hospital bed.
“When i wake up in the morning’ love, And the sunlight hurts my eyes, And somethin’ without warnin’ love Bears heavy on my mind, Then i look at you, And the worlds alright with me, Just one look at you, And i know it’s gonna be A lovely day!” the parents captioned their post. “We are sleepless and delirious but so excited to share that, our miracle baby, arrived last night via surrogate and 11/7 will forever be etched in our hearts as the most loveliest of all the lovely days. Welcome to the party sweet girl!”
Feb. 11, 2020: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade support daughter Zaya
“So once Zaya, our 12-year-old, came home — first Zion, I don’t know if everyone knows, originally named Zion, born as a boy — came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I’m ready to live my truth,’” the retired NBA star told TV host Ellen DeGeneres. “‘And I want to be referenced as she and her. I would love for you guys to call me Zaya.’”
Wade shared with DeGeneres that he told Zaya, “I looked at her and said, ‘You are our leader. You are our leader and it’s our opportunity to allow you to be a voice. Right now it’s through us because she’s 12 years old, but eventually it would be through her.”
Union followed up by posting a video that showed Wade and Zaya discussing her choice in embracing her authentic self with the caption, “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.”
Zaya’s journey prompted the family to get involved in public LGBTQ+ advocacy, and the couple was recognized later that year in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020 issue. “She is intentionally directing her attention, influence and resources to advance an agenda that deliberately celebrates the most marginalized among us, including Black women and girls and queer and trans folks,” Tarana Burke wrote of Union.
“He sees that he has a larger purpose,” John Legend wrote about Wade, “and that his athletic career put him in a position to make the world a better, safer and more loving place.”
May 6, 2020: Gabrielle Union releases a children’s book celebrating surrogacy
Union, already a bestselling author, released the children’s book “Welcome to the Party” to celebrate the arrival of her daughter.
“This is a very special moment for me, to write my very first children’s book,” Union posted on Instagram. “Since the birth of [Kaavia James] … I’ve been even more inspired to create stories that are not only representative of the cultural melting pot we live in, but also celebrate life and the fun, teachable lessons that come at every age.
“This is my love letter for parents everywhere who are excited to welcome their bundle of joy to the party that is life.”
April 29, 2021: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade share what makes their marriage work
The couple celebrated their seven-year wedding anniversary in 2021, and despite the old cliché about a seven-year-itch, Wade and Union told People they’d figured out the secret to what made their marriage work.
“It’s about learning about each other, learning what she wants for her life and for her career and trying to support all those things,” Wade told the outlet.
Union added, “This is both of our second marriages, and we’re super transparent about that. We didn’t do it right, the first time around. There’s another way — to be more collaborative and equitable. We humble ourselves, listen and we meet in the middle.”
“She had a career and a life before we met and she was doing perfectly fine,” Wade continued. “It’s not my job to change who she is, it’s my job to be part of the evolution. In this partnership, there are times when I have to lead, times when I have to step back and times where we are side by side.”
Sept. 20, 2022: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade open up about married life after Wade’s retirement
During an appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” the couple joked about getting used to spending so much time together since Wade retired from the NBA.
Clarkson asked Union whether it was nice to have her husband home since retiring, and she paused before saying, “It has gotten nice. You know initially, like, our careers were on opposite coasts. We were never really home together for long stretches of time. So it would be like, every morning, ‘Oh, there you are.’”
Wade shared that it had been weird for him, too, and that for the first six months, he was mostly quiet and focused on staying out of the way, but he’s since found his space in the house.
The two also jested about their pet peeves about each other. Wade shared that Union had stopped driving after a few fender benders made her come to terms with driving just not being her thing. “So I drive. And when she gets in the passenger seat, she tells me how to drive all the time. All the time. Yeah, [she] never drives, but she tells me how to drive.”
Union jabbed back at her husband of nearly eight years, revealing that he snores. “But it’s not just enough that he snores. He brings our dog Trey who’s a lil’ Frenchie. Who’s got this little nose … and they snore together. It’s like a symphony of snoring.” She added that, on top of the snoring, the lil’ Frenchie won’t let Union snuggle up to her husband. “Trey is very territorial. … He’s like, ‘That’s my man, girl!’”
May 15, 2023: Gabrielle Union says she and Dwyane Wade split their bills 50/50
Gabrielle Union divided the internet recently with the latest revelation about her marriage.
Black Millionaires shared to X a clip from a May episode of the “Idea Generation” podcast in which the actor revealed that she and her husband evenly divide their expenses. The clip quickly went viral.
“It’s weird to say I’m head of household because, in this household, we split everything 50/50,” Union said.
“But in the other households that each of us have to support … there’s always this, like, gorilla on your back, that’s like, ‘You better work, b—, you better work. Oh, you’re going to sleep in? You know, somebody might not eat.’ And it’s hard.”
Wade revealed that the decision to split the bills came after the Miami Heat pro told his wife, during an argument inside their former Florida mansion, that this was “my house that I paid for.”
“My wife looked at me and said, ‘You will never say that to me again when it’s something that we share,’” he said during an appearance on “Club Shay Shay” podcast.
“So when we moved to [Los Angeles], my wife said, ‘I got half on it. You will never say ‘my house’ again — you can say that in the arena!’”
Aug. 1, 2023: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union explain their decision to relocate their family from Florida to California
The couple said finding a community for daughter Zaya, who is transgender, was a big part of their decision to leave Florida in 2021.
“When you have the kind of rhetoric that is being espoused in Florida and adopted into law, that’s not an option if my child isn’t safe there,” Union told Parents magazine.
“There are a lot of reasons we decided California was best for our family, and finding a community for Zaya was a big part of that,” added Wade. “We felt that California was a place that would allow her to blossom and grow. She’s going to be a junior in high school now, and she’s been able to be accepted and become her here.”
But Union says the couple have family and friends who don’t have the privilege of moving. “So we are going to be fighting till we are out of breath to protect all kids who are oppressed. That is our responsibility as people with large platforms and as people who folks trust, and they trust us because we say the hard thing.”
Wade said that fighting for custody of Zaya forced him to do therapy with his children and that, along the way, he learned the power of empowering your children.
“Zaya has been living with us since she was 3, and my daughter can walk down a runway in Paris for the first time with all the confidence in the world because we’ve been cheering for her since then,” he continued. “Even now, I’ll lay across her bed and listen to her talk about the community she’s part of for two to three hours.”