Why Gabrielle Union Said Her First Marriage to NFL Player Chris Howard Was Doomed From The Start

Long before Gabrielle Union was Mrs. Dwyane Wade and proud mama of America’s favorite “shady baby,” the Bring it On actor thought she found her happily ever after in NFL star, Chris Howard. But from the start, Union says there were signs things wouldn’t work out.

Chris Howard and Gabrielle Union in a kodak moment
Chris Howard and Gabrielle Union during 2003 Film Live Movie Awards | Rodrigo Varela/WireImage

According to Union, Howard failed on the proposal. She also describes their wedding day as having too many red flags and says Howard had trouble staying faithful. 

The ‘Being Mary Jane’ star described the proposal as tacky

Union and Howard met at a party in 1999 when he was a running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars and her acting career was just gaining traction. She’d seen moderate success with roles in teen classic like 10 Things I Hate About You. The pair dated for two years before Howard proposed. But Union says the proposal was anything but romantic in her eyes.

Source: YouTube

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In her 2017 memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine, she wrote of the less than fairytale moment she said yes to Howard. “I spent the whole day at the spa and when I got back to his house, there was a rose petal path from the front door to the bedroom,” she explained. “At the end was Chris, down on one knee. He had a bucket of KFC on the floor, and he was eating KFC potato wedges with one hand while holding a ring in the other.” 

It got worse. Union claims that less than 24 hours after the proposal, she “discovered a message on Chris’ computer that hinted at an affair.”

Gabrielle Union said even the wedding day was a disaster

Despite evidence that Howard was unfaithful, she went through with wedding planning. But on the day of their New Orleans wedding ceremony, Union said there were telltale signs that she should be a runaway bride.

With so much partying taking place along Bourbon Street, Union said her bridesmaids arrived the day of the wedding hungover. Making things worse, one of the groomsmen showed up to the wedding “fresh out of jail.”  

Source: YouTube

For the ceremony portion, she also asked one of her friends, actor Dulé Hill, to do a reading. But Hill was against the nuptials and made it known throughout his reading.

“Dulé thought this marriage was a terrible mistake, so as he read from 1 Corinthians, he kept sighing dramatically, pausing to look at me like ‘Are you getting this?”‘ she wrote. 

The minister officiating the ceremony also messed up. She wrote that he kept calling her Gabriel, like the Biblical angel. But she felt awkward correcting the minister, so she let it slide.

The marriage was riddled with infidelity

Union found hints of Howard cheating just hours after he proposed. And the cheating persisted throughout the marriage. By 2005, she’d had enough.

One of the women he allegedly slept with, ‘Cameron Camera’, threatened to sell photos proving he was a philanderer to tabloids in an extortion attempt. She filed for divorce shortly afterward. She later told Jada Pinkett Smith during an appearance on Red Table Talk that she “hit rock bottom” after the divorce and began working with a life and wellness coach to rebuild her life. 

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