Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade blended their families when the actor married the former NBA player back in 2014. From that day on, Union became the stepmom of Wade’s children from previous relationships; 20-year-old Zaire, 14-year-old Zaya, and 8-year-old Xavier Wade. In 2018 the couple welcomed their first daughter together, Kaavia James Union Wade.
In a new interview with People, the Bring It On star opened up about how she forged strong bonds with her stepchildren, especially stepdaughter Zaya Wade. “I think as a stepmom, it’s not my job to push myself into her life or force anything,” Union said. “So time has allowed our bond to grow organically and naturally. Being consistent with each other and being trustworthy with each other also.”
Zaya Wade came out as transgender in 2020 with the support of her father and stepmom. “Meet Zaya,” Union tweeted at the time. “She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are.”
In the interview, Gabrielle Union credits Zaya’s personal journey as a solidifying factor in their close relationship. “Zaya coming into truest self did help because I am able to bond with who she actually is versus the representative that was speaking for her for years,” Union said. “Now she is completely herself and so I know her, not her representative.”
The 14-year-old agreed with Union’s sentiments. “Me discovering who I am has definitely deepened our bond and also other people’s bonds,” Zaya told People. “I can be truthful and honest with myself and therefore, truthful and honest with other people. That helps better everyone’s connections and relationships with each other. Our relationship has grown so much from the first day I met her to now. It is because time has allowed us to grow together and progressively.”
Originally Appeared on Glamour