Gabrielle Union Talks Zaya, Kaavia, and Motherhood

"You want your child to feel freedom to be exactly as they are," Union said.

Gabrielle Union
(Image credit: Instagram ¦ @gabunion)
  • Gabrielle Union is Marie Claire's October digital cover star! Read her full interview here.
  • She opened up about parenting daughters Kaavia and Zaya, with husband Dwyane Wade sharing, "[Motherhood] looks good on her."
  • She spoke, too, about being the best possible ally to Zaya, who came out to the world as trans last year, explaining, "You want your child to feel freedom to be exactly as they are."

Gabrielle Union is Marie Claire's latest digital cover star—and also one of the internet's most beloved moms. Speaking to MC, she opened up about parenting daughters Kaavia and Zaya, and the joy and inspiration she derives from both.

Kaavia James, who Union gave birth to via surrogate in 2018, will be a central subject of Union's second memoir, which she's working on at present. She'll open up about her difficult IVF journey and the multiple miscarriages she experienced—as well as the light at the end of the tunnel. "[Motherhood] looks good on her,” Union's husband, Dwyane Wade, shared. "This kind of joy is different from anything that she has ever experienced."

Union spoke, too, about parenting her teenage stepdaughter, Zaya, who came out to the world as trans last year. On her 13th birthday, Union wrote a moving tribute to her daughter on Instagram, writing, "You are such an inspiration and motivation to get my butt up everyday and fight. When I'm weary, frustrated, full of rage, I see your face and your joy and you living your best life and I want that for all of us."

Zaya, Union said, has been living as her "authentic self since third grade," with Union and Wade consulting LGBTQ+ activists, healthcare professionals, and Pose castmembers to ensure they could be the allies Zaya deserved. "You want your child to feel freedom to be exactly as they are,” Union said. She added, "We are her lifetime lifelines to love, peace, joy, grace, protection, and compassion." 

Emily Dixon
Emily Dixon

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.