Actress Gabrielle Union has revealed that she found power in sharing her most vulnerable moments in her memoir.
When asked about the motivation behind her new book (You Got Anything Stronger?), the 48-year-old said, “One of my biggest fears is not being understood.
Her new memoir is a follow-up to her 2017 memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine. In her 2017 memoir, she revealed a few personal topics, but in the latest one, she has revealed her most vulnerable moments in life.
Union revisited the sense of loss and trauma she felt after being raped at the age of 19 by an armed assailant in the back room of the shoe store where she worked, according to Health.
She also detailed her years-long battle with infertility and her hesitancy before deciding to enlist the help of a surrogate to welcome her daughter, Kaavia, in 2018. She even dedicated an entire chapter to her character Isis in the 2000’s film Bring It On.
Union is a mother and stepmother to five kids that she shares with her husband, former NBA star Dwayne Wade.
Upon asking what made her write a second book, Union told Health, “In writing the first one, there were a lot of chapters that I wrote that I just wasn’t ready to share. I realized that some things that I covered in the first book were topics that, especially for women and specifically women of color, make you feel like you’re on an island by yourself. And [the book] was creating community.”
“So, after a lot more therapy and my daughter being born, I revisited some of those chapters,” she continued. “I find that the more painfully honest I am, the more impactful I am. You just have to talk about it. And finally, I’m ready. I’m as ready as I’m going to be.”
Sharing her experience with infertility, Union said, “It’s maddening. You get so focused on the thing that they’re saying that it is, and there’s not a lot I can do about being my age. When the reality is, it’s something that has nothing to do with that—it’s something that’s been plaguing me for over 25 years, and no one ever got to that issue.”
“By the time I got the answer, it was just like, “Are you f—ing kidding me?” Then, it went from shock to anger. Rage, really—an all-consuming rage. And then relief that it wasn’t me. I felt like there was a thing that I could tag as the problem other than myself,” she added.
Union also revealed how she takes care of her mental health. She said, “Therapy. I started maybe four or five days after being raped at 19. I think for everyone, it was about wanting me to be OK as fast as possible. Then, when I went to UCLA, I sought the help of the UCLA Rape Crisis Center. That was my lifeline—you’re with people who can relate to everything you’re talking about.”
“When my therapist from home knew I was going to college, she told me to go there for resources and said, “Know where it is. Map your route.” [On the large UCLA campus], there are tens of thousands of people—it’s just full of triggers,” she added. “So her even telling me how to map out the route that I would walk was helpful.”
This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Health Magazine. To know more about what Union has to say about her memoir and mental health, visit Health.