"Don't Try To Put On Personalities Around Them"

Gabrielle Union is determined to learn from her stepmother’s mistakes. The L.A.’s Finest star tells Gwyneth Paltrow of The Goop Podcast how her upbringing shaped her perspective on what a stepparent should and should not do in a relationship.


“My dad married my stepmother nine days after the divorce was final, I’ve got some unresolved issues there,” Union admits. “So I tried to do the opposite of what I thought my stepmother did wrong, or could have done better,” the actress continued.

“So I tried to stay in my lane and just be consistent,” Gabrielle explained. As I tell other women and men in this position, whoever you are, if you’re a curmudgeon then just be a curmudgeon, and then they get used to that.”

“If you’re a pushover, just stay the pushover. Don’t try to put on personalities around them. Whoever you are, just be consistent so everyone can get used to whoever the h*ll you are and you’re not putting on an act so that the mask falls off and they’re like ‘whoa, now you’re the psycho stepmom, or the irrationally mean stepdad.’ Be the consistent adult that is above the fray.”

Gabrielle Union became such an amazing stepmom that her bonus kids did not want her to leave for work. “They thought I shouldn’t work, I should be at home like the other moms,” Union tells Paltrow. “By the time we got married, it was just, I think, a relief for them, which isn’t always an emotion you associate with kids in this situation,” the actress shares.

“Then they were like, ‘Ah we’re a normal family. But wait, you’re still leaving and dad’s still rich, so what’s happening here?’ I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, sometimes women want to work and have a career, and do other things, and this is what makes me who I am. And it doesn’t mean that I love you any less or that I don’t want the job, or I don’t love being your stepmother.'”

“‘I will do my best to be here for all the things you want me to be here [for], at the same time making that space for mom or dad is there. It is the golden seat of honor always.”

Photo: Gabrielle Union/Instagram



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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