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Photo: Gabriele Holtermann/UPI/Shutterstock

Gabrielle Union talked about many things during her appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Specialist podcast. She talked about meeting Shepard on a lost episode of punk’d (she found out it was a prank and they had to ditch the gag), how Dwyane Wade adjusted to retirement, and even how she was questioned over LA’s water use Schedules (she denied the report). She even got into a debate about whether hooking up with a ghost would be considered cheating. But that’s not why she made headlines. That honor went to Union’s comments on infidelity in first marriage.

“During that first marriage, I definitely wasn’t getting Wife of the Year awards,” she said, referring to her four-year marriage to former NFL player Chris Howard, which ended in 2005. “In that first marriage, none of us felt that our marriage should get in the way of our courtship.” Noting that part of the infidelity was her trying to match her husband’s, Union added that she “felt entitled to it”. “I was paying all the bills. I was working my ass off. And I felt that this is what comes next, the spoils of riches,” she said. See headlines “Union felt ‘entitled’ to cheat”.

The story quickly became clickbait, and while technically correct, the headlines left out some important context, such as the fact that her first husband was also unfaithful – something she detailed in her book. We’re going to need more wine – and how this was a learned behavior. “Like my father before me, whoever has more can do what they want. That’s what I thought,” explained Union. Looking back, however, she admitted that she didn’t feel particularly guilty, noting, “I wish I had more guilt about this. It was such a stupid relationship that she never should have gotten out of the dating phase. We were gifted therapy, and in the first session, the therapist said – literally what she said – ‘I don’t know how you guys managed to get out of the dating phase.’ At the time, the actor said, she was “hot for validation.” She continued, “Having certain types of guys like me and wanting me, it made me feel like I was worthy and good and valuable.”

As more fans begin to point out the disconnect between context and headlines, Union remains silent on the matter. She did, however, like a tweet from April Reign which caught the attention of media framing: “In @itsgabrielleu’s first book, released FIVE years ago, she talks about how her ex husband treated her badly and cheated on her ALL THE TIME. Somehow the story is now ‘she cheated because she was the breadwinner’. Not.”

As for what’s different about her marriage to Wade, Union said it all comes down to taking care of herself: “Over time, we both had to compromise and then through that inner work, we randomly came back as more healed people. and more open to understanding our complicity in some of the challenges we create for ourselves.” That said, she doesn’t rule out cheating entirely, at least not when it comes to the supernatural. When asked if she would consider it treason if she became involved with a ghost, Union said: “I wouldn’t feel guilt. I would just enjoy it. Honestly? Market.