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Gabrielle Union ‘felt entitled’ to cheat on ex Chris Howard: ‘We were both crappy’

A man with short black hair in a white suit smiles and poses with a woman with long black hair in a blue shirt.
Chris Howard and Gabrielle Union, who have since divorced, attend a Hollywood premiere in 2005.
(Lisa Rose / Associated Press)
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Gabrielle Union has opened up about her “dysfunctional” marriage to Chris Howard, saying the only thing they had in common was seeing “other people.”

On Monday’s episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, Union admitted she “felt entitled” to cheat on her first husband, who allegedly also cheated on her. The “Bring It On” actor, 50, and the former NFL player, 47, were married from 2001 to 2006.

“Neither one of us felt like the marriage should get in the way of our dating,” Union said.

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“Part of it was keeping up with his activities. ... I just felt entitled to it as well. I was paying all the bills. I was working my ass off, and I felt like that’s what comes [with] the spoils of riches and, like my dad before me, whoever has the most gets to do whatever the hell they want — is what I thought. And it was just dysfunctional from Day One.”

In ‘The Inspection,’ the actor plays the religious, homophobic mother of a gay man. Her first thought at being offered the role? Why would anyone ‘think I could play a character that behaves this way and do it convincingly?’

Union, who is now hitched to former NBA player Dwyane Wade, added that she and Howard had “such a stupid relationship that never should have gotten out of the dating phase.” In fact, a couples therapist once told them as much and recommended they “look for a way to amicably” split.

“I wish I had more guilt,” Union mused. “We were gifted therapy, and the first session, the therapist was like ... ‘You have not one thing in common — no morals, no values, no scruples. The one thing you both have in common is other people. ... So why don’t you just go be with other people?’”

While wedded to the former Jacksonville Jaguars running back, the “Inspection” star said, she was “horny for validation” and the rush of attracting “certain kinds of guys” who made her feel like she was “worthy and good and valuable and deserving.”

Gabrielle Union and NBC have released a statement months after the former “America’s Got Talent” judge filed a discrimination complaint against the network.

“We were both crappy people going through s— and not clearly going to enough therapy,” she continued. “But now you think of how much time it takes — so much time and brainpower — to be a cheater, to get away with it and all the things that you’re risking.”

The Times was unable to reach Howard for comment.

Union’s remarks about her first marriage came months after the releases of her latest films, “The Inspection” and “Strange World.” In November, Union spoke with The Times about her initial reluctance to play a religious, anti-LGBTQ mother in “The Inspection,” a military drama about the trials of a gay Marine.

Union shares a transgender daughter, Zaya, with Wade and has been vocal about her support for their child and the larger LGBTQ community.

“I got ‘Inspection’ and ‘Strange World’ around the same time,” Union told The Times. “It was wild. ‘Strange World’ is a love letter to the great parents of queer children. ‘Inspection’ is the opposite. But both are a tribute to Zaya. And I wanted to know how she felt about it, if it might make her feel exposed in a way that’d make her uncomfortable. And she said, ‘No, no.’”

“The Inspection” is available to purchase via various video-on-demand platforms; “Strange World” is available to stream on Disney+.


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