Dwyane Wade on What Makes His Marriage to Gabrielle Union Work: 'It's Not My Job to Change Who She Is'
"I'd like to say we've worked on it," says Wade, 39, in this week's PEOPLE cover story. "It's about learning each other, learning what she wants for her life and for her career and trying to support all those things."
And Union, 48, who collaborated with Wade on a new book, Shady Baby, inspired by their 2-year-old daughter Kaavia and on stands May 18, says they've also learned from past mistakes.
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"This is both of our second marriages, and we're super transparent about that," says Union. "We didn't do it right, the first time around. There's another way — to be more collaborative and equitable. We humble ourselves, listen and we meet in the middle."
And the NBA All-Star, who recently announced he'd joined the ownership group of the Utah Jazz, says that he supports his wife for exactly who she is.
"She had a career and a life before we met and she was doing perfectly fine," says Wade. "It's not my job to change who she is, it's my job to be part of the evolution. In this partnership, there are times when I have to lead, times when I have to step back and times where we are side by side. And I know when to shut up!"
The couple, who are also raising kids Zaya, 13, Zaire, 19 (Wade's from his first marriage), Xavier, 7 (Wade's from an ex), and Dahveon, 19, (Wade's nephew), have found ways to get through the tough times.
"Sometimes you need that person to let you lay their head on your shoulder," says Wade. "And sometimes you need to be like, 'Tough it out!' And we have that. We're not perfect. There's times she will not talk to me for a week! But I think we've got a good combination of it all."
Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.
And for Union, who is currently in production on the reboot of Cheaper by the Dozen, which she produces and also stars in, says it all comes down to an unfailing partnership.
"I feel very strong and very supported," she says. "A lot of times I feel like I could lose everything by standing up for the right thing. And he's like, 'No, you won't. I got you.'"
For more from Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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