Therapy, Getting To Happy & Why Gabrielle Union Bristles When People Call She & Dwyane Wade #RelationshipGoals
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It’s always interesting to see what people consider #RelationshipGoals. Most of the time, the hashtag is dedicated to celebrities and couples who seem to be in love, having fun or building with one another. I’ve only used the hashtag with my parents because, while I don’t know everything, I’ve had an up close and personal look at their union. If I can’t say the same for any other couple, I can’t bestow that hashtag on them. We just never know what couples endure to get to the Instagram post. We have to be our own relationship goals.
Gabrielle Union same something similar in a recent interview with Complex.
“People are like ‘goals’; me and D are like, ‘wtf?’ We’ve kind of figured it out now, but I guess maybe we should tweet live from couples’ therapy. And when you ask us we’re gonna tell you, there’s a process to happy.”
But Gabrielle, 44, admits that she is indeed happy. Near the end of their conversation, Union sighs and says, “I’m so happy. I’m so fucking happy.” From the interview, it’s clear that it’s a feeling not entirely attributed to her relationship. She believes you can see it in the photos she shared with the outlet.
“I don’t think there is a more black, authentic version of me that’s ever been captured. Like, my joy, my comfort, I finally feel like I have a sense of worth and value, I felt like it all came together,” Union says of pictures she shared with Complex from a shoot she creatively directed. “I thought, ‘What better way to introduce myself to a new group of people as a whole person, as a happy person?’ These pictures reflect who the fuck I am and how I feel about myself.”
But, that too, was a process.
It doesn’t hurt that Union finally feels like she’s broken out of the box Hollywood had placed her in where she was nothing more than a romantic interest.
“It was like I went from Cradle to the Grave to Bad Boys 2 and then I just started kissing boys and that was all anybody wanted me to be—the girl from the right side of the tracks who’s sexually repressed and just needs good dick and the right handsome man to straighten her life out—and that’s sort of what I became,” she says.
Now, with a thriller on the way, her starring role on “Being Mary Jane,” things are opening up. Still, she feels like there’s more for her to do.
Super producer and friend Will Packer said that he’s looking to bring out Union’s comedic side.
“Gab is so funny,” he says from the set of Breaking In, which he is also co-producing. “That’s what people don’t know. Sometimes it’ll come across in her social media, but she doesn’t really play those roles. Her sensibility is almost like Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool. She can go dark but so funny.”
Gabrielle is down. But it has to be the right type of project.
“I’ve been offered other jobs where it’s ensemble female groups but, like, you’re the random fifth black friend that is like, [sassy] ‘Mm hmm.’ You don’t get to be a part of the shit.”
The writer of the Complex piece, Dria Roland, noted that people may not see Union in a comedic light because she’s already considered a sex symbol. (And you know how folk like to place women in one box and tape it up.)
Union is astounded by the title when she thinks of what 44 meant to her when she was younger.
“to me, 44 was you’re pretty much Big Mama. That wouldn’t have even been reasonable to have the idea of it.”
She said she first realized people saw her as such when she was asked to appear on the cover of King Magazine.
“The fact that they even asked me and I don’t have tits or an ass that ‘my community’ appreciates, in the way that I wish they would appreciate,” she recalls. “The fact that they would even ask me to be on the cover!”
“I was irrationally geeked about it due to my low self-esteem and all the Tupac videos I didn’t get,” Union continues. “Between that and maybe like JET Beauty of the Week, I thought those were goals. To even be asked?! To be in it, much less on the cover?!”
These days it takes a bit more to honor her.
Union hopes to share some of that growth along her journey in the release of her new memoir, a collection of essays entitled We’ll Need More Wine.
“I’d been approached many times over the years to write something. I just never felt like my life was worthy enough. I couldn’t see anyone picking it up,” she says. “There’s that voice in my head that’s like, ‘You’re a joke, you’re a fucking loser, and in a minute people will figure that out so don’t try to do too much cause you’re just gonna put a bigger bullseye on your back.’ So with the book thing I just never felt worthy of the words or the effort.”
Eventually, she realized she’d be doing a disservice to others by keeping her story to herself.
“You realize that you’re a fucking asshole if you don’t tell the story, because you know that you’re offering somebody a safe place to land and you’re not, for whatever reason. So I started doing the work to help myself feel like I was worthy and I had value, and the more work I did on myself the more I was like, ‘OK, I wanna tell this story too.’”