Gabrielle Union Recalled Feeling “Broken” When Dwyane Wade Had a Child With Another Woman

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

Gabrielle Union released her latest book, You Got Anything Stronger?, on September 14th, and ahead of its release, she published an excerpt in Time about her surrogacy journey. And she writes that going through surrogacy was made that much more difficult by the fact that her husband, Dwyane Wade, had a child with another woman when they were separated in 2013.

Before we were married, Dwyane had a baby with another woman, Union writes. It should go without saying that we were not in a good place at the time that child was conceived. But we were doing much better when he finally told me about the pregnancy.

She wrote, “To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience. 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.”

At the time Xavier was conceived in 2013, Wade was also already the father to Zaire and Zaya, who are now 19 and 14, and guardian to his nephew Dahveon, 19. Union and Wade had been together since 2008 but decided to take a break in 2013, later marrying in 2014.

After countless miscarriages, Union decided to take an experimental drug that had concerning side effects. But she was desperate to have a child with Wade in the years following their marriage.

‘”You’ve done enough,'” Union writes Wade told her when she said she wanted to try this new drug. “I looked at D with an instantaneous white-hot rage,” she continues. “I was fighting with my husband about what was best for my body? Did he really think that surrogacy and a baby was our chance to set it right? To rebalance? I said coolly, ‘You’re going to be the voice of reason now? Really?'”

Wade told her, ‘As much as we want this baby, I want you … We’ve lost too much in our relationship for me to be okay with encouraging you to do one more thing to your body and your soul.’

“I read those words now and hear them again. I didn’t receive this as concern at the time. It sounded like an acknowledgment of failure,” Union writes. “Because at that point I would have sold my soul to get out of the endless cycle of loss … 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. 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.”

Before Union finally became okay with the idea of surrogacy, she felt as though she needed to let Wade go so he could “get what he wanted” from someone else who could give it to him.

“But I loved him. Each day, he had worked to be forgiven, and I had chosen to do so,” Union writes. “And part of this journey of making peace with our love is also making peace with ourselves. I had come to accept that without that awful collision in our lives—this Big Bang moment in our relationship that set our galaxy as we knew it—we wouldn’t have become the individuals we wanted to be.”

She acknowledges, The me of today would not have stayed with him, but would I be who I am now without that pain? I remember a small voice in my heart telling myself to leave, but my fear of public humiliation was so great that I didn’t take my own advice.

Union says she ironically gave herself no self-care during this time of healing. “Why was I so willing to risk myself for a chance? If there was another way for me to bring my baby into the world, and have my health, why was it so hard for me to make peace with that?”

Eventually, though it was still mentally challenging, she did make some sort of peace with surrogacy, and Union and Wade welcomed Kaavia James into the world in 2018. The pair have been through a lot in the 14 years they’ve been together, and they’ve proven that they can overcome and build themselves to be better, stronger people because of their hardships.