In her new book, Gabrielle Union detailed her reality after sharing personal experiences with infertility. Instead of people asking, "When are you going to have a baby," the question transformed into, "Why don't you go the surrogacy route?"
"Each time this was presented, I felt the constant, public prodding to acknowledge my body’s failures," she wrote. "'Just let some other, more capable, woman get the job done. Because you’re not capable.' It wasn’t my imagination. In life’s many comment sections, it was clear that I had wasted enough of everyone’s time. The messages were that I had prioritized my career, and now I was too old to have a kid. In fact, I owed that to Dwyane Wade. I had robbed him of this child because I was an older woman almost ten years older than D—and I had to have known my window was limited."
While Gabrielle and Dwyane welcomed baby Kaavia via surrogate in November 2018, fans may not know that the actress had been diagnosed with adenomyosis one year before.
At the beginning of the book, Gabrielle recounted the moment she met her surrogate for the first time. As she joked, "I realized this was like the best and worst blind date ever." But almost instantly, the actress hit it off with the surrogate named Natalie.
"The first thing I noticed was a nose ring. Oh, I thought, she's a cool-ass white girl. And then I noticed her notice me. Her eyebrows shot up," Gabrielle recalled. "There was an excitement to her voice and I smiled. 'This is such a trip. I have your book on hold at four different libraries.' And I knew (a) she was a reader and (b) she frequented libraries. I have never been done wrong by readers. I started laughing, and we hugged."
Before Gabrielle and Dwyane tied the knot in August 2014, the retired NBA player fathered a child with another woman while they were on a break. In the book, Gabrielle recalls the moment he shared the news that he was expecting a kid. "To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience," she wrote. "I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now. But truth matters."
Another reason why the news was painful to Gabrielle was because she was struggling to get pregnant on her own. "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 recalled. "We gathered what we could to slowly remake me into something new. There was no way to disguise where I'd been glued back together."
When filming the pilot for L.A.'s Finest, Gabrielle recalled asking Jessica Alba to be her co-star. At first, The Honest Company founder was hesitant to sign on because she recently gave birth and was nursing. Gabrielle made it a priority to create a healthy, safe work environment for working mothers.
"Just by welcoming breastfeeding in the workplace and bringing kids to the office, we could signal a slight change in perspective to show people that nourishing a child is not a nuisance. Communicating and planning—the things we don't do well in Hollywood—were what we needed to attract people who actually wanted to get home for bedtime and feed their kids," Gabrielle wrote. "From that first pilot, it worked. We created what we had never seen, and I could see it in the way Jessica was able to do her work and parent with the help of our crew. I didn't tell anyone that I created a world for her that I was hoping to have for myself."
In February 2020, Gabrielle took to social media where she shared a special post about her stepdaughter Zaya's decision to come out as transgender. In her latest book, the actress recalled the moments Zaya shared her truth beginning in the third grade when she wrote "I'm gay" during an "About Me assignment." When Zaya turned 12, she identified herself as a straight transgender girl.
"I often get asked for advice about raising a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and my impulse is to tell them to ask Zaya, since she has taught me so much since that third-grade project," she wrote. "That humility, the sometimes crushing, enforced humility of parenting a new teenager, is important. You can tell your child that you don't have the answers, but what you do know for sure is that you love them. Their peace, like Zaya's peace, is not up for negotiation. And whatever their journey, it will not be taken alone. We're in this together."
Close to 20 years ago, Gabrielle starred in the cult classic Bring It On as Isis, the cheerleader captain of the East Compton Clovers. In her latest book, the actress said she wishes her character did more.
"I realize that what you did, Isis, confronting Kirsten Dunst's character Torrance about the thievery, is way more than most characters get to do. When it comes to Black characters in TV or film getting to hold white folks accountable, yeah, it was heroic," she wrote. "But it was just a step. It wasn't everything you could have done, and that's because I didn't do what I should have done."
Gabrielle continued, "I made you swallow your anger to be the most palatable version of Black leadership possible. You could point out a wrong and a lack of accountability, but you could not demand it. I had you make all the little compromises and everyday concessions I thought you needed, the ones that I thought I needed to make at one time or another, just so you would be heard."