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Gabrielle Union Reveals Why She "Felt Entitled" to Cheat on Her First Husband

"It was such a stupid relationship that should have never got out of the dating phase," the actor said.

For years now, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have been one of the most popular celebrity couples. So, it's easy to forget that Union was married once before. From 2001 to 2006, the actor was married to her first husband, former NFL player Chris Howard. The marriage ended after just a few years, and in a new interview, the actor shared some insights on why.

According to Union, she and Howard "should have never got out of the dating phase." She also opened up about being unfaithful in the relationship and why she felt "entitled to" cheat on him. Read on to find out more.

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Union and Howard separated in 2005.

Chris Howard and Gabrielle Union at the Fox Billboard Bash in 2001
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Union and Howard got married in 2001 and announced their separation in 2005. According to People, they met at a party in 1999. At the time of the separation, Union's publicist told People, "The couple remains close and asks that you respect their privacy at this difficult time."

In 2009, the Bring It On star began dating NBA player Wade. The two got married in 2014 and welcomed their daughter, Kaavia, in 2018. Wade also has three other children from previous relationships.

Union says she and Howard were both unfaithful.

Gabrielle Union and Chris Howard at the premiere of "Hardball" in 2001
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

During an appearance on the podcast Armchair Expert that was released on Jan. 2, Union opened up about her marriage to Howard.

"That first go-round, I definitely was not getting wife of the year awards. I had some focus issues," the 50-year-old actor shared. She went on to say that she and Howard both cheated on each other.

"In our first marriage, neither one of us felt like the marriage should get in the way of our dating," she said. "A part of it was keeping up with his activities. I was like, 'Oh, that's what you're doing? Oh, you're going to feel this one.'"

She also says she felt "entitled to" cheat.

Gabrielle Union at the 2004 BET Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Union explained further, "I just felt entitled to it, as well. I was paying all the bills. I was working my [expletive] off. And I felt like that's what comes. The spoils of riches," the Inspection star said. "Like my dad before me, whoever has the most gets to do whatever the hell they want, is what I thought. It was just dysfunctional from day one."

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A therapist suggested they break up.

Gabrielle Union and Chris Howard at the premiere of "Bad Boys II" in 2003
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

"It was such a stupid relationship that should have never got out of the dating phase," Union said of her marriage. She said that she and Howard eventually went to therapy and the therapist suggested that they end their marriage, because they had "not one thing in common." Union said the therapist told them, "The one thing you guys have in common is other people, so why don't you just be with other people?"

She ultimately learned something important from the marriage.

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union at the premiere of "L.A.'s Finest" in 2019
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Union explained that she grew from the situation and also talked about the changes she and Wade went through to make their current relationship work.

"I don't want to live like this," Union said she realized. "None of this feels good, and it's exhausting, and I want a love that feels like freedom. I don't want a love that feels like a gilded cage. And that was the best I could have hoped for before was to have someone else trapped in the gilded cage with me."

Union revealed in her memoir that she ignored the signs she shouldn't have married Howard.

Gabrielle Union at the 2022 Daytime Beauty Awards
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Union opened up about her failed first marriage in her 2017 book We're Going to Need More Wine. As reported by the Daily Mail, she explained that there were signs that she shouldn't wed Howard. She said the first was finding a message suggesting Howard was having an affair the day after he proposed. She also wrote how poorly their wedding went, including a hungover wedding party, friends and family members who thought she was making a mistake, the officiant mispronouncing her name, and more. She went through with the marriage, though, and ended up being constantly worried about Howard cheating. As she revealed on Armchair Expert, she coped with this by seeing other people herself.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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