Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade still has one of the biggest names in the NBA, even in what could be considered his sunset years. Wade won three championships with the Miami Heat and was the face of the franchise for over a decade.
The star married his high school sweetheart Siohvaughn Funches in 2002 before getting drafted into the league, but the pair split up, going through a bitter divorce and child custody battle. The divorce, filed for in 2007, was only granted in 2010 and Wade had to wait another year to gain full custody of his two boys.
He began dating actress Gabrielle Union in 2009, with the two combining to form one of the most famous couples in the world. They tied the knot in 2014 and seem to be happily married to date. Being as popular as they are, their lives are constantly under the microscope, but there are probably a whole lot of things that you might not know about the couple. We’ve gathered 15 of those facts.
Take a read below.
15 Gab Can Probably Give Her Guy A Run For His Money On The Court
Well we all know that Dwyane Wade is a monster athlete, after all, he has three NBA Championships - as mentioned above - and has been to five NBA Finals in his career.
What you probably didn’t know was that Gabrielle Union was pretty good at basketball herself and played in high school. The movie star was an all-league point guard at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, California, yet it was her friend Sanaa Lathan who got the lead role in the movie Love and Basketball, despite never having played the game.
Union auditioned for the role herself, but was only given a small part in the movie.
"I don’t want to come off sounding like Al Bundy talking about how he scored four touchdowns in one game during his glory days,” she said to a news source. “But I thought I was pretty good. I did all right.”
14 She Helped Convince Wade To Leave Miami
Dwyane Wade’s move to Miami left a lot of fans bitter. What’s Wade County without him, after all? The Heat needed his personality and leadership more than ever, in the wake of losing LeBron James, but an impasse over his salary left the veteran with no choice but to move on. Wade has since revealed that it was Gabrielle who helped convince him to join his hometown Chicago Bulls, as he was cautious over treading on Jimmy Butler’s ego.
"She asked me about Chicago and I said, 'Baby I don't know how open Jimmy is going to be to it.' And she said, 'You never know. You should reach out to him."'
Fortunately for Wade, and unfortunately for Miami, Butler was very open to the idea. And the rest, as they say, is history.
13 Hooking Up With LeBron James Was Way Easier Than Bagging Gabrielle
Dwyane Wade convinced basketball’s biggest star in LeBron James to join him in Miami, having already convinced Chris Bosh. One wouldn't imagine he’d ever have to put in as much work to hook up with anyone else. Well, that notion couldn’t be more wrong, as Gabrielle was hardly interested in someone like the former Miami star, whom she referred to as a ‘fetus’.
Speaking after they officially hooked up, the actress said: “Wade’s resume looked like crap: Athlete, going through a divorce, nine years younger than me. Then, after I had a heart-crushing breakup with yet another immature jerk, I thought, it can’t be any worse if I date a fetus. Let’s just see what happens.”
Makes you wonder if Wade had to call on Pat Riley’s negotiating services to pull it off.
12 Gabrielle Is Also a Women’s Activist
Apart from being a talented actress who could cheerlead and shoot hoops, Gabrielle Union is also an activist for women, having gone through a traumatic experience in her early years. She has been a voice for victims of abuse over the years and has been commended by Oprah Winfrey for her involvement in women’s issues.
Gabrielle lost a close friend to breast cancer and has also been at the forefront of cancer awareness causes. Back in 2008, she partnered with a cancer research campaign.
“Being part of my friend’s fight against breast cancer inspired me to raise my voice and become an ambassador to help other women,” she explains. “We [women]are our own best health advocates.”
11 Wade Has Fathered a Third Child Outside Of Their Relationship
Gabrielle met the player - basketball player, not playboy, although the term does have some relevance here – with two sons, so that she shouldn’t have minded.
But with the couple splitting up for a while in 2013, due to 'distance and scheduling', Wade found time to get an old girlfriend pregnant. Aja Metoyer gave birth to Wade’s third son Xavier in that same year, just one month before the guard patched things up with Gabrielle.
Technically, it wasn’t cheating, as the pair weren’t seeing each other at the time, but accepting a third child after hooking up with someone must be hard. The couple have gotten through it, obviously, and we imagine they’ve learned not to split up anymore.
10 It Took Three Wades To Propose
When a woman takes you back after you have a child with an old girlfriend, you don’t let her get away a second time. And that’s exactly what Wade tried to avoid by locking Union down at the soonest.
With help from his sons and an 8.5 carat ring costing nearly $1 million, the star was able to pull it off. Wade had his sons distract his then-girlfriend for most of the day, then they all visited his house which was under construction, before Wade took her upstairs to distract her again while the boys prepared.
When the pair got back down, the youths were holding up signs which read: ‘Will you marry us?’
“They’ve been asking us to get married for two years and they talk about it all the time, so I’m thinking they’ve just made signs,” Gabrielle recounted. “I was like, ‘Well this is awkward.’ I turn to look at D like, ‘Ugh, they just made some signs,’ and he’s down on one knee with a ring and said, ‘Will you marry us?’
That's probably the most important assist he's had in his life.
9 Gabrielle Is Her Man’s Biggest (Loudest) Fan
Back when Dwyane Wade played in Miami, his wife was actually banned from sitting courtside because she was extremely vocal during games. Union could be heard cheering her man on, heckling officials and opposition players, and even calling out plays.
After a while, not even Wade could take it, and she was forced to move back a bit.
“That got killed when I became too vocal,” she said of her seating arrangements five years ago. “He was like, ‘We’re going to need you to sit a few rows back because I can hear you.'”
Well who could blame her after her involvement in the popular cheer-leading movie Bring it On? Some things just stick with you no matter where you go.
8 Wade Was Their Wedding Planner
Well it should come as no surprise that quite a few dollars were spent at this wedding, as celebrity weddings normally do rack up the bill. Wade and Union’s cost around £5 million and there was a strict black & white dress code.
Luxury buses transported around 200 guests, which included fellow stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Hart, John Legend - who performed - and Ludacris, who didn't perform.
Wade, and not Gabrielle like you may think, was the one who planned the whole extravaganza, with his bride revealing that he asserted all of his influence over the proceedings.
“He realized that I was trying to turn it into a frat party with K-cups and beer pong, and he took over. He really Kanye’d himself and really doubled down, and it’s his princess day, and I’m just along for the ride,” Gabrielle joked afterwards.
7 They're Worth More Than $100 Million Together
There’s no doubting that Gabrielle makes Dwayne better, but in other regards, he more than makes his beauty of a wife better, bringing significantly more to the table. Obviously, we're talking monetarily, as Wade's net worth dwarfs Union's already impressive net worth.
Together, the couple are worth $111 million. Wade is worth a whopping $95 million of that and is also earning $23.5 million per year, which means it should only increase, while his wife brought in $16 million to the marriage. If the pair remain together, they could possibly become the Beckhams of basketball, as Wade is set to still earn lots of cash after his retirement, while Gabrielle doesn’t need good knees to keep on going for years to come.
6 Wade Isn’t Gabrielle’s First Star Athlete
Wade had to work hard to get the woman of his dreams to be with him, but it’s probably not all his fault, as Gabrielle had already experienced having her heart broken by another star athlete.
She had dated former Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets ace Jason Kidd before he went on to become a star point guard. She even thought that she would marry the current Milwaukee Bucks head coach before he dumped her. "I started crying, because I thought I was going to be Mrs. Jason Kidd,” she recalled once in an interview.
She later married NFL player Chris Howard in 2001, only to get a divorce four years later. It’s no wonder that she gave Wade a hard time when he was trying to court her.
5 Their Attraction To Each Other Borders On Creepy
While Wade didn’t look great on paper, the NBA guard is making her pay for her initial thoughts when they first met. The pair are extremely attracted to each other, with Wade often caught marveling at his spouse’s beauty when they are out together.
As for Gab, she claims that she can’t keep her hands off him. Apparently, what keeps the relationship going strong, bar the distance and scheduling, is the lustiness of it all.
“I am almost a little Chester the Molester-y. I think he’s so delicious,” she revealed. “Watching him get out of the shower never gets old. Never. It’s not like he ever wonders what I’m thinking, but usually he’s thinking, ‘she needs a cold shower!’”
4 She Demanded A Prenup
No matter how good it may seem, no marriage is entirely safe. And the couple have moved to safeguard themselves by including a prenuptial agreement in the mix. Wade took quite a bit of bashing from the media, who accused him of simply trying to protect himself, but Gabrielle spoke out in defence of her husband, claiming that it was all her doing.
“I want people to know the work that it took to get through UCLA, that I had student loans and worked,” Union explained. “I was eating Top Ramen and lived well below my means. Now that it’s time to get married to a man who happens to play basketball and has done well for himself, I want to make it clear that I have in no way hitched my wagon to his star. I have my own wagon and star.”
3 They Shop At Walmart
The Wades may be one of the richest couples around, but you wouldn’t know that based on where they shop. They both like to keep things simple and most of their shopping is actually done at Walmart, according to Gab. She says that a family day at Walmart is one of her husband’s favourite things.
"One of D's favorite things to do as a family is go to Walmart," she said in an interview last year. "We really enjoy Walmart, Target, going to the grocery store. He loves to take the dogs to the car wash. He's the guy with the Maltese at the car wash!"
So what was that whole fiasco over a salary with Miami all about then? It's not like he needed $23.5 million per year to buy toilet paper at Walmart!
2 There’s A Third Party Making Big Decisions In The Marriage
While Gabrielle plays a huge role in her husband’s life, there’s someone else wielding major influence over the star. That person is none other than Calyann Barnett, his personal stylist.
As many of you might have seen, the Bulls guard has a strong fashion sense. One may have thought that his wife may have been the one helping him pick out his outfits, but that isn’t the case – he would rather pay someone to do that.
Barnett has been working with Wade since 2006, but she has other clients as well, including the likes of Rajon Rondo and LaMarcus Aldridge.
“When we first started, he just knew he wanted to dress well,” she said regarding Wade. “Now he wants to be involved in his overall look. There’s more of a friendship there, too.”
1 LeBron Might Know Dwayne Better Than His Own Wife Does
Wade and James’s bromance dates back to way before the Cleveland star joined the Miami Heat in 2010. And unfortunately for Gabrielle, the defending NBA Champion may know her own man better than she does. The actress hasn’t been shy in admitting that.
"If we played The Newlywed Game, I don't know if I'd have more information on my husband than Bron would,” she declared.
Wade agrees with the notion.
"Me and Bron would know way more obviously." So much so that the Ohio native knows just what meal to order for his chum when they go out. "My wife wouldn't know what to order," Wade explained. “But Bron's like, I got it."