Gabrielle Union, “Secret Children” & Judging Someone Else’s Love

Bridal Bliss? Gabrielle Union Faces Major Ridicule Days After Accepting Dwyane Wade's Proposal

Earlier this week, I posted the following note on my personal Facebook page:

LOL. So now that Wade reportedly fathered a child while he and Gabrielle were on a break, the ring that some folks were ooohing and awwing over and the holiday pics and video aren’t cute anymore. Funny indeed. Not saying I agree or disagree with either side but the commentary I’ve read on the subject from perfect people in their perfect relationships with perfect families is comical to say the least.

Let’s get a few things out the way: I am the product of a traditional nuclear family. My mother and father were only married to each other and stayed married until death parted them. My brother and I share the same biological parents and were conceived after my parents said “I Do”. My dad did not father any children outside of his marriage (that we know of). My mother (to my knowledge) does not have younger secret siblings that are actually her children. I’ve had people tell me my family was not normal. What they really mean is we were not “normal” because we were Black and working class but that is another post for another blog. My point? I want you to understand that if I were to get all self-righteous and start finger wagging about this Gabrielle Union/Dwyane Wade baby situation, many people would assume it was because of my own upbringing.

Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, I’m flabbergasted (No, really.) by all the judgement being passed on Gabrielle Union in light of news that her new fiance, Dwyane Wade has fathered a child outside of their relationship. Comments on social media, blogs and websites have called her everything from dumb to desperate. Lots of folks are calling this turn of events the chickens coming home to roost since it has been speculated that Gabby and Wade were seeing each other before Wade’s divorce was final. I believe that two people are married until they are divorced and there are three sides to every story. If Gab and Wade were getting it on before Wade was officially divorced, they’re both wrong. Period. But I also think there is an enormous amount of judgement being passed on Gabrielle about a scenerio we all know far too well but don’t publicly address. Yep, I’m going there.

How many men do you know who fathered a child outside of their marriage yet everyone in the family turns a blind eye? How many times has a teenager in the family had a child, been sent away and then suddenly has a mysterious baby brother or sister? (This isn’t so common now but was very prevalent pre-1980s.) How many people have gone through their entire lives thinking someone was their play cousin only to learn in their adult years that said person is really a sibling? How many women lie to their fiances, boyfriends and husbands about who the father of their baby is? If you’re honest, you’ve already lost count.

My girlfriend found herself in a similiar situation as Gabrielle. She and her now husband did split briefly, but after counseling and a whole lotta prayer, she made the decision to stay. Don’t get me wrong, if she had decided to divorce her husband after learning of the baby he fathered outside of their relationship, me and the rest of the crew would have helped her pack up all her ish (well, all his ish). I’m sure some folks call her stupid behind her back. But when I receive Christmas cards from said friend with all three of her children (because she considers her husband’s oldest child her son too), when she emails vacation pictures of the five of them building sandcastles on the beach, when she looks me in the eyes and tells me that forgiving her husband was one of the hardest things she’s ever done but the son who is a result of his infidelity is completely innocent, I know that she has more character and heart to live her life openly in truth (even the stuff that isn’t rosy) than any of those finger wagging people who call her stupid.

This Gabrielle situation is messy. But truthfully, all of our love and family lives can get pretty messy. Yes, yours too. Make sure you aren’t wagging your finger at Gabrielle because this year, month or week, her mess is a little different than yours.

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  1. By no means am I one that often quotes or follows the Bible, Koran, or any other sacred book/writing. (I know…you’re judging me now) However, “he who has not sinned shall cast the first stone” quickly comes to mind in this case. If they’re happy, I’m happy for them.

  2. This is a hard one for me.. I’m the product of parents who were childhood sweethearts that have been married 53 years and counting!
    But also the mother of a child that was conceived with a married man I didn’t know was married. What amazes me is that my situation is normal while my parents story is not. I am truly amazed that my sons stepmother stayed in her marrIage and was not at all surprised by her husbands actions and has never met the child that her husband does financially support. Though I am not judging Gabby there has to be a point where we hold our partners to higher standards.. A person does what they feel they can get away with. Without women to accept the behavior the mans behavior ceases to exist. Yes we all sin and are not perfect but at what point are there consequences for actions?

  3. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Anthony – Thx for weighing in.

    @NC Mom – Thx for commenting and sharing your story. I too am amazed that the wife of your son’s father has never met her husband’s child. But I think your story further supports my point: Many, dare I say most, folks want to turn a blind eye to these types of situations. Perhaps this woman feels your son is a dent in her current marriage/familial unit and how it will appear to others. I also agree that a person is likely to do what they feel they can get away with. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the girlfriend I mentioned in my above post did not take her husband back without consequences. I also have to add that I think assuming Gabrielle did is judging (with very limited info). None of us, unless we having Gabby on speed dial in our cell phones, know how she and Wade worked this situation out behind closed doors. Heck, even her closest friends/family might not know. The man that I’m currently married to cheated on me while we were dating and I dare someone to say to my face that I have low standards because I married him. No one knows the journey of my husband and me but us. And no one knows Gabrielle and Wade’s journey but them. Those men that go around poking anything that moves, practicing unsafe sex, fathering children that they don’t intend to raise, or like your situation lying about their marital status are disgusting. But I challenge us all to be careful of how we access a situation like this one from the outside looking in.

  4. No one is perfect but I can’t stand a home wrecker or a cheater. It’s not about whether I’m perfect or not, with or without sin. Babies in or out of wedlock, parents married forever, or not at all. Whether or not people want to admit it or not, we all judge each other in one way shape or form. Condemn her for her actions… No not me. Believe what goes around eventually comes back around. .. even for myself. .. Yes i do concur with that sentiment. Three sides to the story, very true. Will any of us truly know. ..NOPE. Are Gaby or Dwayne losing any sleep over what people think. ..I truly doubt it.

  5. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Me – Thanks for commenting. One thing we do agree on is that it is highly unlikely Gab or Wade are losing any sleep over what any of us think.

    I think this post might have ruffled some feathers — HA! Keep the comments (whether you agree with me or not) coming, folks!

  6. An added note… women need to care about other women more than we do. There ain’t a married man sexy enough, rich enough, kind enough, or loving enough to have me forget that he is already married and dismiss it as ” not my responsibility, that’s his problem”. Or the ever popular “she ain’t got nothing to do with me” line. There are and will be other wrongs I will commit, but that one is where I personally draw a line. At least one of the lines but I’m keeping on topic. Especially when children are involved. To hell with the three (Gaby Dwayne &ex wife) , what about the kids? ?? I believe we need more sister hood and respect for each other. I can’t respect a sister who doesn’t respect the next sister. But i don’t wish ill of her. I hope everything is sorted out for everyone involved.

  7. Well said! Great valid points to consider! This is an issue that occurs everyday.

  8. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Mmgoodlk – Thanks for commenting and stopping by Triple B.

    @Me – I too agree that women, particularly Black women, should care about each other. Maybe I’m mistaken but it seems as though you’re saying you can’t respect Gabrielle because she didn’t respect Wade’s ex-wife however whether or not Gabrielle dated Wade while he was still married is hearsay. Furthermore if true sisterhood is the goal, I’m further confused as to why Gabrielle was so easily thrown under the bus for accepting Wade’s proposal after the masses learned the time period leading up to her saying yes simply wasn’t as cookie cutter as they would have liked. Also it seems as though all children involved are being well taken care of and unlike many of the scenarios in our own families Wade’s youngest child probably won’t be “hidden” because of the circumstances surrounding his conception.

  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    If Gabrielle is fine with it why does anybody else care? It’s nobody’s business except the two people that are involved in this relationship.

  10. Avatar SpikesDtr says:

    I come from a similar background as you, family wise. I then went on to become a teen mother and made numerous mistakes because I was young and dumb. At one time in my life I believed a man that said although he was married he slept doownstairs and she slept upstairs. And though they divorced when the children grew up it was too late for me, too much water under the bridge. I have since repented for joining that man in disrespecting his wife. This after being cheated on while married and pregnant. This man now is so disappointed that his daughter’s fiance cheated on her and the wedding was called off. Do I judge the Wade/Union situation? Absolutely not. Having studied the Bible the last few years I know we are all imperfect, and only Jah has the right to judge. Also Matthew 6:15 states “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” We all live in glass houses in one way or another.

  11. Avatar Heather W. says:

    Great post and comments! I was audibly excited to read about their engagement, and audibly disappointed to read about when and how the child was conceived. I do, however, realize that every person on Earth makes mistakes and will, therefore, have to forgive and be forgiven. While Gabby and Dewayne were in a relationship (or taking a break), they weren’t married when the child was concieved. But, most importantly, we don’t know the ins and outs of their relationship. If they are truly on the path toward marital and familial bliss, all I can say is more power to them. None of knows how we’ll handled most situations until in them. And, I can only hope that when I make mistakes (big or small), that my love ones (especially) will forgive me. I’m not at all trivializing his actions, but think people need to get real and make decisions based on love, not on how we’ll be perceived or viewed. I’m typing this having very recently been cheated on by a man I loved dearly and had been in a realtionship with for many years, and have settled on this — let’s all stop judging and focus on loving and respecting ourselves and others. At the end of the day, those who wrong others will be dealt with by a greater power and, in cases like this, will have to deal with the pain of having hurt someone who loved them.

  12. Very thought provoking comments on this subject – my thoughts are with the said child, if one really does exist. I don’t think it possible to have too many people love him/her as long as they are on the same page vis a vis childrearing and having his/her best interests on the front burner. But, just to throw a red herring into the mix, what is the relationship between the children of the Rev Jessie Jackson and former CA governor Arnold S (I’m not even going to TRY to spell his name) and their wives? They were both good and married when their out of wedlock children were born, unlike Union and Wade who are only engaged. Any thoughts?

  13. To keep it old school, DWade did ask Gabrielle to marry him and not the side piece. They look extremely happy in those pictures. He was extremely wrong, no, I mean STUPID in getting this girl pregnant, but I do believe there’s true love there between he and Gabrielle. Their scenario is the not the first or last. Let’s wish them well and more importantly that that inoccent baby never knows the world questioned why he was born.

  14. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Thank you all for commenting; truly! This is an intelligent exchange and whether we agree or disagree, this type of open dialogue can only be a good thing in the long run.

    @BigCinBK – This!—>Let’s wish them well and more importantly that that inoccent baby never knows the world questioned why he was born.

  15. It’s so hard not to feel a way about this engagement. But this engagement is only my business/concern because I write about pop culture and celebs. Juicy, layered stories make for good cover lines, but at the same time I have to remember that this is someone’s life/pain. Not just entertainment.

    We don’t know is HOW they worked past this situation. A child is real-live reminder of his indiscretion. But clearly, Gabby has decided that her love is big enough to deal (not overlook) with this matter. It takes guts to do it private, but even bigger guts to do it in public–with everyone offering their unsolicited two cents. In my office we call that 10-gallon love. Some people are capable of 10-gallon love vs. 10 oz.

    We have the benefit of making relationship mistakes behind closed doors. It’s real easy to say what you will or won’t stand for until it lands on your pillow. (Been there. Cried about that.) When you have created a life with someone it is much harder to just bounce, especially if there are children involved.

    What bothers me MOST about this story is the unprotected sex. We’re talking about someone’s health. In a moment of weakness, he put her life in jeopardy.

  16. Avatar SpikesDtr says:

    Amen to Taiia’s comment. Every time I hear about pregnancy out of marriage or the result of casual sex I think about the rate of AIDS/HIV in our community. Having had a very dear friend, and others, die from this disease, I take it very seriously. To the point of saying what you will or won’t stand for… In the words of my wise mother, “never say never.”

  17. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Taiia – Thanks much for weighing in on the post with your insightful comment. To echo SprikeDtr, the AIDS/HIV epidemic and other STDs in our community is definitely a factor to consider in this conversation.

  18. If Gabrielle is fine with it then that is all that matters. Many females speak on how easily they will leave a man that they are in love with if he cheats till that time comes. Then they are put in a situation to leave or stay and many stay. I am not giving approval of situation just stating that we have control over what are mouth says but not our heart or feelings. They were not married and ‘supposedly’ not together at time this took place so this would be the same as a man or woman deciding to marry a person with a child. Men are glorified all the time for stepping up and marrying a woman with a child. Gabrielle probably knew about this way before it become knowledge to us, so she had time to decided on staying or leaving prior to engagement. She chose to ‘attempt’ to continue to be happy with a man she loves (only time can tell), instead of searching for a new love which a person is never guaranteed to find nor guaranteed not to have new hurdles to jump

  19. We don’t have the right to judge others, but we should evaluate matters and issues of life. The issue at hand is about someone indecisive about commitment. Life teaches us that we are creatures of habit and we can look at habits and often predict what a person will do or how they’ll behave in most cases. So in saying that, Gabrielle has to make a decision based on fact and not opinions about the type of relationship she desires to have. She has plenty of information and facts to determine if this is going to be the best situation for a season or for a life time. Another fact is marriage doesn’t change people. People change if they make a conscience decision for themselves to change and therefore can have successful marriages even after a past of questionable choices.

  20. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    @Duj – Thx for weighing in; especially pointing out that Gabrielle knew about this decision before any of us (folx seemed to have overlooked that) and that the heart doesn’t necessarily do what the mind tells it to do.

    @Tsnead – Your comment is much appreciated!

  21. Not judging but as my previous comment on Facebook it just seems odd that because you’re too busy and work is too hectic that you want to step out . Was that really the reason to step out and get with somebody else? I do not condone infidelity I’m married and I want to be in it to win it to the end & faithful. I want that in return too!’ In life things are going to get hectic at times even in marriage. So my question was what’s going to happen then? But that’s all good if Gabrielle’s happy he’s happy it is what it is . If he never disclosed this we wouldn’t even be talking about this now. Hey they got millions and of dollars I wish I could have. Some women tolerate infidelity with men without jobs &without money and vice versa. I’d rather have some of that money though lol.

  22. Bridgette Bridgette says:

    Thanks for weighing in with your honest feedback, Shauna! (LOL about the $$$. ;-)

  23. even thought it’s not real! how do we applaud Scandal yet bash Miss Union & Mr. Wade?? is not the mistress celebrated?? Bridgette my hats off to you for your comments! I would hate to be a celebrity!!

  24. I wish I could be forgiving like she is , but it so hard for me to excuse the fact my other half may have a child and we were together. I try to forgive and deal with it and I tell myself it will be OK. The truth is it is not OK cause if I am reminded everyday he may have an outside child and I am just not that Saint to say I can forgive and forget. I just am not that Saint I wish I had her strengh and more power to anyone that can deal with it. It just pains my heart to know I cant live that lie and stay…..

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