Gabrielle Union opens up about becoming a stepmum to Zaya Wade and her big brother: ‘They thought I shouldn’t work’

Gabrielle Union together with Dwyane, Zaya and Zaire Wade

Gabrielle Union has opened up about her experience as stepmother to Dwyane Wade’s children, revealing that they asked her to become a stay-at-home mum.

Appearing on a recent episode of Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Podcast, Union discussed her experiences parenting Zaire and Zaya Wade.

The actor recalled how quickly she became a mother figure after her husband gained full custody of the children from his previous marriage.

“The judge ruled at 1pm and they were on a plane like a few hours later,” she said. “Like it was that fast and everything changed. We were just dating, but I was going to be the consistent woman in their life.”

By the time the kids were preteens, they started to crave a more conventional setup and asked that she become a stay-at-home mum.

Union said they may have believed that she was continuing to work as an actor because the couple weren’t married yet.

“They thought I shouldn’t work, I should be at home like the other moms,” she said. “They just wanted to be normal, whatever that is.

“By the time we got married it was just I think relief for them, which isn’t always an emotion you associate with kids in this situation. They were like, ‘We’re a normal family! But wait. You’re leaving [for work]. And dad’s still rich. What’s happening here?'”

Gabrielle Union settled the matter by telling them she would be there for them whenever they needed her, but that she also needed to have something for herself.

“I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, sometimes women want to work and have a career, and do other things, and this is what makes me who I am,'” she explained. “And it doesn’t mean that I love you any less or that I don’t want the job, or I don’t love being your stepmother.

“I will do my best to be here for all the things you want me to be here [for], at the same time making that space for mom or dad is there. It is the golden seat of honour, always.”

She’s since made good on that promise by repeatedly affirming her love and support for her Zaya, who is flourishing everyday.