In a recent appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay program, the former NBA star, 41, reflected on how he told his now-wife about his son, Xavier Zechariah, who he welcomed in 2013 with Aja Metoyer when he and Union were broken up. He started off by recalling how scared he was to tell Union about him and Metoyer before the news went public.
“You know that this is going to hurt someone you’ve been building a relationship and life with,” he said. “You gotta sit with you and you gotta sit with this person if this is who you’re going to be with. I had to sit with my wife and have this conversation.”
He went on to praise the Bring It On star for standing by his side, as he told her about having his son in the middle of his busy basketball career.
“I couldn’t have gotten through that moment without her sticking with me,” the Olympian said. “We were in the playoffs, I think we were even going into the finals. That was a rough time for me…You got a lot on your mind. You’re keeping something from people you love. It’s heavy.”
Wade then confessed that when he first had that conversation, he tried to avoid bringing it up, and even attempted to end things with the actor. “I tried to break up with her. Like: ‘Hey things have been bad lately, we’ve been having a little distance in our relationship anyway,’” he recalled. “I tried all of that.”
However, he said that Union “kept showing up” for him, and they continued moving forward. He also acknowledged that since welcoming Xavier, his relationship with his wife “hasn’t been perfect,” before noting that they still “go to therapy”.
“We’ve been to therapy, we’ve had shouts about it,” he said, referring to how he’d fathered his son with Metoyer. “We’ve had regular conversations. And so, it’s going to continue to be something that I have to work at and work on. It doesn’t go away because years come, or because I say: ‘Sorry.’”
Elsewhere in the interview with Sharpe, Wade also expressed that he’s had concerns for Xavier, explaining that “it’s hard” for his child to be associated with the headlines that came from his parent’s relationship. “It’s going to always be there. He’s done nothing. It’s a stain that’s on him for no reason,” the former Miami Heat player said.
After noting that he and his wife are either “going to get through it” or “ain’t going to get through it”, he emphasised that he’s still continued to think about his nine-year-old son, who already “has a negative impact next to his name”.
“He hasn’t even had a chance to accomplish something, and he already has a negative next to his name because of how he was brought into this world,” he said. However, he still expressed his gratitude for his family and acknowledged that they’ll “get through” challenges together.
Union and Wade went on to get married in 2014, before welcoming their daughter, Kaavia, via surrogate in 2018. In addition to his child with Metoyer, Wade shares two children, Zaire, 21, and Zaya, 16, with ex-wife Siovaughn Funches. He’s also the legal guardian of his nephew, Dahveon Morris, 21.
This isn’t the first time Wade has recalled how he told Union about his child with another woman. During his 2020 ESPN documentary, Wade: Life Unexpected, he first described how difficult it was to have that conversation with his now-wife.
“Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is man up and tell Gabrielle Union that I’ve had a child with somebody else. I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t eating,” he said during the documentary, as reported by Entertainment Tonight. “When you hold something in that you know is going to come out and you have this information and you know it’s gonna f**k somebody’s life up, that you care about, that you love, if it don’t hurt you, then you’re not human.”
In her 2021 book, âYou Got Anything Stronger?, Union first opened up about the “trauma” of her husband having a baby with another woman.
“It should go without saying that we were not in a good place at the time that child was conceived,” she wrote “But we were doing much better when he finally told me about the pregnancy. To say I was devastated is to pick a word on a low shelf for convenience.”
Despite her devastation, the actor acknowledged that there have been countless people who have been upset with her decision not to talk about the birth of her husband’s son, with Union explaining that she had “not had words”.
“There are people – strangers I will never meet – who have been upset that I have not previously talked about that trauma. I have not had words, and even after untold amounts of therapy I am not sure I have them now,” she wrote.