Gwyneth Paltrow and Gabrielle Union Get Candid About the Struggles of Being a Stepmom

Union shared some seriously sage advice about "holding space" for all sets of parents.

Even though families come in all different forms, creating a blended family can bring both unique rewards and challenges, something that Gwyneth Paltrow and Gabrielle Union just opened up about. The actors had a candid discussion about their experiences becoming stepmoms to their respective husbands’ children, sharing how they have learned to navigate celebrating their growing families over the years.

Union served as a guest on the March 30th episode of Paltrow’s The goop Podcast, and they got real about the fears they had when becoming stepmoms. Paltrow shared that her two children, Apple and Moses, are the same age as her husband Brad Falchuk’s children, Isabella and Brody, whom he shares with his ex-wife, Suzanne Bukinik.

“I have two beautiful stepchildren, who are the same age as mine,” she told Union. “When I became a stepmother, when I knew I was going to become a stepmother, I was like, ‘Shit, I have no idea how to do this. There’s nothing to read. What do I do? Where do I step in? Where do I not? How do I do this?'”

It’s been a really interesting challenge for me, Paltrow continued. And I love them and I’ve learned so much about myself through the process.

Union, who shares her 2-year-old daughter Kaavia, as well as her three stepkids, Zaire, 18, Zaya, 13, and Xavier, 7, with husband Dwyane Wade, agreed. “I tried to do the opposite of what I thought my stepmother did wrong or could have done better,” she shared. “I tried to stay in my lane and just be consistent. So as I tell other women and men in this position: Whoever you are, just be consistent so everyone can get used to who the hell you are really and you’re not putting on an act and then the mask falls off.”

She advises others to “be the consistent adult that [stays] above the fray,” adding that when it comes to talking to your stepchildren, “Say nothing negative about their real parents—always praise, no matter how bad it may seem. If they say something bad, you shift back to praise and understanding. Maybe this is what is happening and we give people some grace and compassion.”

In the end, it seems Union is all about “holding space” for all sets of parents in a family. “It is the golden seat of honor, always.” Along with her seriously sage advice, she added a hefty dose of humor, joking, “Stepmothers need to get the same publicist as kale, because history has not done us kind, the media has not done us kind. We need a new publicist, as a collective.”

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