Gabrielle Union and her first husband both dated other people while married

Embed from Getty Images
Long before she was married to Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union was married to Chris Howard, a former NFL player. They met in 1999, right as her acting career was starting, and divorced in November 2005. Gabrielle’s talked a bit about that marriage before, but despite following Gabrielle and reading both of her memoirs, I always forget about it. Maybe it’s the timeline, maybe it’s who the husband was, I don’t know. But Gabrielle recently went on Dax Shepard’s podcast and dished about her first marriage in a memorable way. She said they both dated other people while they were married to each other, but not in an open relationship way, in a cheating way.

Gabrielle Union said she “felt entitled” to infidelity during her marriage to ex-NFL player Chris Howard in the 2000s.

During Union’s appearance on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast Monday, the 50-year-old actress described that relationship to host Dax Shepard as “just dysfunctional from day one.”

“In our first marriage, neither one of us felt like the marriage should get in the way of our dating,” Union said, after Shepard expressed “complicated” feelings regarding his own past infidelity in romantic relationships.

“A part of it was like keeping up with his activities, like, ‘Oh, that’s what you’re doing? You’re going to feel this one,’ and I just felt entitled to it as well,” Union told Shepard about Howard. “I was paying all the bills, I was working my a– off, and I felt like that’s what comes, the spoils of riches.”

“Like my dad before me, whoever has the most gets to do whatever the hell they want is what I thought,” she added. “It was just dysfunctional from day one.”

Union and Howard, a former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, met at a party in 1999 in Jacksonville, Fla and wed in 2001. The pair separated in November 2005 after four years of marriage.

“I wish I had more guilt for some of that,” Union, who has been married to former NBA star Dwyane Wade since 2014, said of her past experiences with cheating. “It was such a stupid relationship that should have never got out of the dating phase.”

The Inspection star recalled that a therapist “literally” told her and Howard that she did not understand “how you guys made it out of the dating phase” when they sought couple’s counseling.

“And [she said] we should probably look for a way to amicably dissolve… because you have not one thing in common, no morals, no values,” Union added of her attempt at therapy with Howard. “The only thing you have in common is other people, so why don’t you just go be with other people?”

During the conversation, Union noted that she “was horny for validation and having certain kinds of guys like me and want me” during her first marriage.

“In hindsight, yes, I absolutely needed something from them that I was not providing for myself, and neither was my marriage, but I think I provided something for them too,” she added.

“Guys can be just as big as groupies – if not more – than women, so it was a trade off… We were both crappy people going through s— and clearly not going to enough therapy.”

[From People]

I did chuckle a bit at the image of the exasperated therapist telling them to break up. Gabrielle saying that neither of them felt marriage should get in the way of dating other people is a fascinating and also straightforward way of describing infidelity. The epitome of wanting to have your cake and eat it too. The tit-for-tat and entitlement feelings Gabrielle describes do sound dysfunctional and it’s that same mindset men always use to justify why they cheat. It’s interesting that Gabrielle has that history and sheds light on how she and Dwayne were able to work things out after he had a child during a break in their relationship.

At least Gabrielle is self-aware about what she did wrong and I appreciate her honesty that she doesn’t feel much guilt about it now. While two wrongs don’t make a right, there must be a satisfaction to cheating on someone who is cheating on you (White Lotus, anyone?) and not everyone can be all gracious and rise above someone that’s wronged them. Also, she married him just as her career was getting off the ground and heating up. It makes sense that with new fame there were a lot of new and different men around. I do wonder who the “certain kinds of guys” were though, but maybe that’s too dishy for the likes of Dax Shepard.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

9 Responses to “Gabrielle Union and her first husband both dated other people while married”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. HeyKay says:

    Yipes. I’m surprised at all this talking about past behavior by so many celebs.
    Uncomfortable for me, read 1/2 this post and stopped. TMI for me.

  2. girl_ninja says:


  3. ThatsNotOkay says:

    The therapist being like, Nope! is amazing! Like, can they DO that?! And also, can I get their number?

  4. elle says:

    It’s Dwyane, not Dwayne.

  5. Runaway says:

    She is so pretty it’s stupid

  6. Emily_C says:

    Two people who should not have been married to anyone at that point, as they didn’t want an open marriage but were in their slut eras. It’s fine, people mess up. Maybe her speaking about it will stop other people from marrying when they don’t want to commit.

  7. Joanna says:

    Ugh I know someone who took her boyfriend back after he got a woman pregnant on a break. Idk why. Too messy for me.

  8. Solidgold says:

    Gabrielle has not aged one bit.

    She married the wrong guy and is very blunt about it.

  9. Concern Fae says:

    A good couples therapist helps people who need to break up do so without damaging each other. When my ex and I decided to see a couple’s therapist, she asked me how much work I was will to
    put into saving the relationship. I realized the answer was none. I had just gotten a mental health diagnosis that explained a lot, and my husband’s attitude was fix yourself so I don’t have to deal with this. I fixed myself AND he wasn’t around, which made it so much easier.

    Good on her for not getting caught up in guilt. Sometimes your bad behavior is situational. Solution is staying out of those situations. No need to beat yourself up about it.