Gabrielle Union on Jada Pinkett Smith reunion: 'We could have been slaying dragons together this whole time'

Raechal Shewfelt
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Gabrielle Union arrives at Hallmark’s “When You Care Enough to Put It Into Words” event on July 30 in Los Angeles. (Photo: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for mediaplacement)

Gabrielle Union has a lot to say, and she’s saying it candidly.

In May, the Being Mary Jane star publicly reconciled with Jada Pinkett Smith on an episode of Smith’s Facebook show, Red Table Talks, to discuss why they hadn’t spoken for roughly 17 years.

As both Union and Smith said on the show, they weren’t really sure why they had ever fallen out of friendship. It’s just that neither of them stepped up to say, “What’s going on here? Why aren’t we OK?” The long break was “more of just the absence of communication,” says Union.

“I think, a lot of times, when you’re just not speaking to someone, one day turns into a week, turns into a month, turns into years, and the next thing you know, years have gone by, and there’s dope people that could have been in your life that aren’t for no reason, silly reasons, or reasons that really need to be addressed,” Union, 45, tells Yahoo Entertainment. “For a lot of us, it’s easier to just not say anything and ignore it. And our episode was about, like, let’s get to it. Let’s not eliminate dope people from our lives because of our own whatever it is … hangups or obstacles, in getting out of own way.”

Two months after their reunion, Union gushes about Smith.

“She’s so dope and powerful,” Union says. “She’s such an advocate for women, and she does so much for women. We just moved, but they lived close, and we could have been slaying dragons together all this time. Better late than never, because, I think, now that the two of us are in sync and together, and there is so much work to do in fighting for equality and all of the things that are important to us, it’s better to have as many hands on deck, all on the same page, than trying to slay these dragons individually.”

Union had an equally honest conversation, this one with Dr. Mehmet Oz, for his show, about her struggles with infertility, which have caused her to have multiple miscarriages. Although her appearance on the show originally aired last November, Union notes that it’s getting a lot more attention after it recently aired again.

“People are, like, ‘Thank you for talking about it, thank you for speaking words to my truth, thank you for lifting the veil of shame, thank you for giving me information,'” Union says of the response. “And it’s unfortunate that so many people around the world deal with infertility. And because so much of the treatment is very, very costly and not covered by insurance, it becomes, like, this silent, shameful thing that families suffer through and women suffer through and some men.

“We just don’t, we don’t talk about it, so it forces people to feel like they’re on an island by themselves and that it’s really, really rare, and there’s not a lot you can do, when there really, there are a lot of people on that very big island with you. And there’s help and there’s healing. There are some things that you can do. But there’s a whole community who gets it, and you’re not alone. You’re not defective and you are just as much of a woman, just as much of a mother as anyone else.”

Of course, Union is also a wife, to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. They’ll celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary on Aug. 30. She’s already given him part of his gift, in the form of a sweet video for Hallmark’s new “Put It Into Words” campaign, featuring short stories of celebs paying tribute to a special person in their lives.

“He is actually the one who sends cards more in our relationship, so this is my big chance to outdo him for once,” Union says. “He’s really kind of amazing when it comes to sending just-because cards and flowers and little gifts, just making that extra effort to let me know that I’m special and that he’s thinking about me, so I wanted to return the favor, and make at least a bit of the same effort that he makes for me.”

Their official gift to each other is a little bigger.

“Last year, we took a couples’ trip, that coincided with our anniversary, and we chose other couples who have anniversaries around the same time. We did sort of this big anniversary trip to Mykonos,” the Breaking In star says. “But this year, we did the couples’ trip to Ibiza and Barcelona, but it was like in June, so it forced him to have to do something else. [Laughs.] To do another trip. And it just so happens that his dad is getting remarried in Venice, Italy, around our anniversary, so we will be, after the wedding, dipping off to another part of Italy to celebrate our anniversary.”

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend a screening on Feb. 15 in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Union will be back filming L.A.’s Finest, her upcoming Bad Boys spinoff with Jessica Alba, in mid-September. The team behind the show, which includes Union and Alba as executive producers, has been working for months, Union says.

“We’ve been hustling since preproduction in February and, literally, just had a meeting with the writers in the writers room today, so, with Jess and I being executive producers, our work doesn’t stop, even when our jobs as talent stop,” Union says.

Union has nothing but kind words to say about her new co-star.

“We’ve just been the girls that end up at the bar at the same time at different events over the years,” Union says of Alba. “And she’s just a fun, cool chick who’s got a similar sense of humor that I do and a very similar work ethic, so it’s just easy, dare I say. We’re just both chicks who like to watch other chicks shine and also have a dirty, wicked sense of humor. It’s kind of ideal.”

Union has several other ongoing projects, including clothing and hair care lines, and she says she just might write a follow up to her 2017 New York Times bestseller, We’re Going to Need More Wine, you know, for some more frank conversation.

“There’s a lot of chapters, essays, that we left out, just because I hadn’t adequately dealt with some of that truth. I joke and say, ‘I haven’t had enough therapy to talk about that,’ and I joke, but it’s true,” Union says. “And so, I’ve gotta hold off on some of these stories and sharing, so that I’m not just putting these stories in a book and then doing a press tour, where I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m not gonna talk about that. Read the book. It’s all in the book. I want to be able to tell some harder truths and share some different things, but be able to speak about it on a press tour in an effective way and be an advocate for different things that I’ve faced, different issues that I’ve gone through.”

She’s definitely open to it.

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