Gabrielle Union opens up on feeling ‘naked’ and ‘exposed’ in front of Dwyane Wade due to PTSD from rape incident

3 Min Read

By all accounts, Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union have a very healthy marriage, but it doesn’t mean that things are always easy.

Union recently talked to Taraji P. Henson and Tracie Jade of the Facebook Watch talk show “Peace of Mind with Taraji” about the residual effects of a traumatic incident that happened during her college years and how it has impacted her marriage.

“For whatever reason, every time I talk about being a rape survivor, people are like [gasp] and then they forget. We are so conditioned that we know what someone looks like who has suffered from PTSD; we believe we know what rape victims look like, and it’s not me,” Union, 48, told Henson and Jade.

“I think it has been hard during the quarantine because we are in the same space,” explained Union. “I have not been home in any kind of consistent way since I have been an adult, so just getting to know my husband, which sounds crazy, I was like, ‘Oh, every day, every day, you’re going to be here … okay, ahh, yeah, I guess this is healthy.’”

The incident happened the summer before Union’s sophomore year of college while she was working at a Payless Shoe Source.

She was raped at gunpoint, and although her assailant was eventually caught and imprisoned, it’s taken her years to deal with it, and revealing the incident to Wade has made her feel “naked” and “exposed.”

“So, you have to find out: ‘Do you love me for all of … the baggage?’” she shared. “You get worried that maybe you have revealed too much, and you’re going to scare them away because damaged women aren’t supposed to be lovable.”

Rape survivors often have lots of trouble talking about their trauma, even to their most trusted friends and confidants, and it often takes years, if not decades, for them to come to terms with what happened and how it has affected them.

Even if Union has had trouble coming to terms with her past, it hasn’t prevented her or her husband from helping others in need.

The couple has become an ally to South Florida’s LGBTQ community by helping to provide healthcare, as well as support and protection for kids in the LGBTQ community.

Share This Article
Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.