Gabrielle Union Does Not Want to Be Called a Basketball Wife — and She Has a Point
“I prefer Hollywood husband,” she told InStyle. “How about Dwyane Wade is Gabrielle Union’s husband?”
Gabrielle Union may be married to NBA star Dwyane Wade, but that doesn’t mean she goes by the term “basketball wife.” And she’s got a great reason for that.
“I prefer Hollywood husband,” Union, 46, told InStyle. “How about Dwyane Wade is Gabrielle Union’s husband? There are no stereotypes or terms for men who are married to successful women. It’s only in the reverse.” Union was already established as a household name — a 40-something actress with a commendable career — by the time she wed Wade in 2014.
La La Anthony, 39, who is married to NBA All Star Carmelo Anthony, 34, and Union spoke at the National Basketball Wives Association Summit in February to discuss the pull-and-push feelings to being called a basketball wife.
“For many years, I personally fought against the term basketball wife,” said Anthony, 39. “I was so focused on having my own and not being known as someone married to a basketball player. And to be honest with you, my marriage really suffered because of that.” Now, Anthony says, “I’m so proud to uplift my husband and not feel as though I’m sacrificing myself by doing so.”
Anthony, who was an MTV VJ on TRL prior to marrying Carmelo in 2010, didn’t want to feel put into a box where she would then only be defined by her partner. She expanded her career into acting, writing two New York Times best-selling books and starting her own production company, LaLaLand, and fashion collaboration with Lord & Taylor. She’s collected enough titles for a really full résumé, and the same goes for Gabrielle Union.
Union has become a New York Times bestselling author herself, started her own fashion collection with New York & Company, created her own wine, Vanilla Puddin Chardonnay, and continues to be a dynamic force in TV and film. Oh, and she’d already been married and divorced before Dwyane Wade, 37, entered the picture.
“I met [Dwyane] after getting divorced and failing miserably at marriage,” Union told InStyle. “I was already me and fully formed, financially solvent, and educated.” Now, the couple couldn’t appear more happy and in love, and they welcomed daughter via surrogate in November 2018 after a long and difficult fertility journey. Union has no regrets about the path she and her husband took to each other. “I recommend you come in fully formed before going into a relationship because that whole Jerry MacGuire ‘you complete me bullsh— is exactly that. You complete you, and then find your person.”
But, there was a turning point for both women where they began to embrace the community of basketball wives instead of rejecting the idea and the sisterhood that came with it. “What’s the point of getting a seat at the table if you’re looking at the door every time it opens to judge the person coming through who is trying to pull in a chair?” Union asked. She may not want to be called a basketball wife, but she and Anthony both said they’re continuing to evolve their perspective on the community that nickname represents.
VIDEO: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s Cutest Instagram Moments
“I’m so sorry I had those judgments about basketball wives,” said Anthony. As for the community of strong women she is counted among, thanks to her husband’s line of work, she said: “I’m continuing to grow and understand how much we need each other, and there are things we go through that only other basketball wives would understand.”