“To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience."


Gabrielle Union is opening up for the first time about the "hard truth" of her journey to motherhood. In a new essay for Time, the actress got candid about the pain she endured after her husband Dwyane Wade had a baby with another woman amid her fertility struggles nearly a decade ago, and how welcoming daughter Kaavia James, 2, via surrogate was an emotional experience for both of them.

"It should go without saying that we were not in a good place at the time that child was conceived," Union wrote of Wade's son Xavier Zechariah — whom he welcomed with Basketball Wives star Aja Metoyer back in 2013 — while the couple was on a break. "But we were doing much better when he finally told me about the pregnancy. To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience."

Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade
Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade
| Credit: Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

She went on to add that it has taken her this long to discuss the situation publicly, writing: "There are people — strangers I will never meet — who have been upset that I have not previously talked about that trauma. I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now. But truth matters."

Union has previously shared her struggles with infertility, and in 2018, she discovered the cause of her "eight or nine" miscarriages was due to a medical condition, called adenomyosis — a type of endometriosis that results in painful, elongated periods and chronic pelvic pain. In the essay, Gabrielle recalled a time when she was considering taking the drug Lupro, which has side effects of early menopause and brittle bones, to help her conceive — until Wade told her, "You've done enough."

"I didn't receive this as concern at the time," she wrote. "It sounded like an acknowledgment of failure. Because at that point I would have sold my soul to get out of the endless cycle of loss. What was the going rate for souls? What was mine worth, anyway? The experience of Dwyane having a baby so easily — while I was unable to — left my soul not just broken into pieces, but shattered into fine dust scattering in the wind." She remembered thinking, "This woman is such a failure. And she has the nerve to be old. And she has the nerve to have a younger husband. And she has the nerve to stick with a guy who had a kid with somebody else."

Union continued, "Clearly, my feelings weren't originating from a healthy place. So much of what made the decision so difficult was that if I didn't submit to a surrogacy, then I was convinced I needed to let Dwyane go. Even if he didn't want to, I had to let him find someone who could give him what he wanted." Ultimately, the couple opted for surrogacy and welcomed their daughter Kaavia in 2018.

Discussing how she has chosen to forgive Wade for his indiscretion, Union wrote, "Each day, he had worked to be forgiven, and I had chosen to love him and forgive him. And part of this journey of making peace with our love is also making peace with ourselves. He wouldn't have become the man he desperately wanted to be, and I would not become the woman I dreamed of being."