Gabrielle Union

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Gabrielle Monique Union Wade was born October 29, 1972 and is an American actress, voice artist, activist, and author.

She began her career in the 1990s, appearing on television sitcoms, before landing supporting roles in teenage comedy films She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Her breakthrough role was in the 2000 film Bring It On.

She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Theresa (née Glass), a phone company manager and social worker, and Sylvester E. Union, a military sergeant. She was raised Roman Catholic. During her childhood, she was taught to be an independent woman, standing on her own two feet. According to Union, her mother taught her to have a world perspective and took her to a gay pride parade at the age of eight after the family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she attended Foothill High School.

Her parents divorced after thirty years of marriage.

Union grew up with self-esteem issues relating to her appearance, as she believed growing up that blonde was the ideal of beauty, and if she looked nothing like that, then she must have been ugly.

Union has said her personality as a young person was “mean” until her trainer A.J. Johnson confronted her over the behavior during a party the two were attending. 

In 1991, at the age of 19, Union was attacked and raped at her part-time job at a Payless shoe store by a robber. Union has stated that she would not have survived the attack had it not been for lessons she learned by watching Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. She later successfully sued Payless for negligence, alleging that the store failed to warn employees about the assailant, who had been positively identified robbing another Payless location prior to her rape. 

Union has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA. 

Union is also known for her performances in the romantic comedy films The Brothers (2001), Deliver Us from Eva (2003), Daddy’s Little Girls (2007), Think Like a Man (2012) and Think Like a Man Too (2014). She also had starring roles in the CBS medical drama series City of Angels (2000) and films Bad Boys II (2003), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Neo Ned (2005), Cadillac Records (2008), Top Five (2014) and Breaking In (2018). In 2013, Union began starring as lead character in the BET drama series Being Mary Jane, for which she has received an NAACP Image Award. She co-starred in the 2016 film The Birth of a Nation, and next appeared in Almost Christmas (2016) and Sleepless (2017).

Union is also the author of a memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine (2017), and an activist who works on issues around women’s health and violence against women.

She also wrote a children’s book entitled “Welcome to the Party”, which went on sale in May 2020. 

Union is an advocate for survivors of assault and has voiced her support for Jada, a Texas teenager who was sexually assaulted after passing out during a party; her sexual assault was filmed and posted in clips online, and it has been mocked by others on social networking websites. 

Union has also spoken about the importance of therapy and how she received family and workplace support to quickly access therapy. 

Union ran in the Global Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 2, 2012, in honor of her friend Kristen Martinez, who died from breast cancer. Union was present at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on August 23, 2013, and unveiled a limited-edition 1963 March on Washington stamp to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the march.

Union is an Ambassador in Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Circle of Promise. Union became a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood’s breast health initiative and launched the Women Are Watching campaign with other actresses in 2012. In October 2014, it was announced that Union would be designing T-shirts to bring attention to the Women Are Watching campaign.

Together with her hairstylist Larry Sims she created Flawless by Gabrielle Union, a haircare line to celebrate and care for textured hair.