Gabrielle Union Opens Up About Infidelity in First Marriage: 'Dysfunctional from Day One'

Gabrielle Union was married to ex-NFL player Chris Howard from 2001 until 2005

Gabrielle Union
Photo: Gotham/FilmMagic

Gabrielle Union said she "felt entitled" to infidelity during her marriage to ex-NFL player Chris Howard in the 2000s.

During Union's appearance on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast Monday, the 50-year-old actress described that relationship to host Dax Shepard as "just dysfunctional from day one."

"In our first marriage, neither one of us felt like the marriage should get in the way of our dating," Union said, after Shepard expressed "complicated" feelings regarding his own past infidelity in romantic relationships.

"A part of it was like keeping up with his activities, like, 'Oh, that's what you're doing? You're going to feel this one,' and I just felt entitled to it as well," Union told Shepard about Howard. "I was paying all the bills, I was working my a-- off, and I felt like that's what comes, the spoils of riches."

"Like my dad before me, whoever has the most gets to do whatever the hell they want is what I thought," she added. "It was just dysfunctional from day one."

Union and Howard, a former running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, met at a party in 1999 in Jacksonville, Fla and wed in 2001. The pair separated in November 2005 after four years of marriage.

Gabrielle Union and Chris Howard
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During the podcast, Shepard recounted his own "complicated" feelings toward his past infidelity as he declared that he and Union "are identical" in how they have approached the issue in the past.

"I wish I had more guilt for some of that," Union, who has been married to former NBA star Dwyane Wade since 2014, said of her past experiences with cheating. "It was such a stupid relationship that should have never got out of the dating phase."

The Inspection star recalled that a therapist "literally" told her and Howard that she did not understand "how you guys made it out of the dating phase" when they sought couple's counseling.

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"And [she said] we should probably look for a way to amicably dissolve… because you have not one thing in common, no morals, no values," Union added of her attempt at therapy with Howard. "The only thing you have in common is other people, so why don't you just go be with other people?"

Gabrielle Union and Chris Howard
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

During the conversation, Union noted that she "was horny for validation and having certain kinds of guys like me and want me" during her first marriage.

"In hindsight, yes, I absolutely needed something from them that I was not providing for myself, and neither was my marriage, but I think I provided something for them too," she added.

"Guys can be just as big as groupies - if not more - than women, so it was a trade off… We were both crappy people going through s--- and clearly not going to enough therapy."

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