When one of the most successful professional athletes in the world marries one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, the powerful partners enjoy the best experiences and possessions money can buy. There is no better example of this than the love story of Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union. After meeting at a Super Bowl party, the pair started off as just friends, partly due to their ten-year age gap. However, their natural chemistry turned out to be undeniable, and things ultimately took a romantic turn.
The iconic basketball player and the glamorous movie star formed their own dream team, tying the knot in 2014, and welcoming their daughter, Kaavia James, in 2018. The dynamic celebrity duo brings new meaning to the phrase “power couple,” with a staggering combined net worth and lucrative side hustles adding to their bank account. In fact, they are such a strong union, no pun intended, that Time magazine named them two of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2020.
With a multi-million dollar home, closets full of designer labels, invites to the most exclusive red carpets, and extravagant travel itineraries, life is good for the Union-Wades. Here’s a look into just how glamorous it truly is.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union met at an exclusive party
Co-hosting an exclusive Super Bowl party turned out to be a slam dunk for Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, who had only briefly encountered each other once before. “We just had like a regular conversation at the middle of a party,” Wade told People of their fateful 2007 encounter. At the time, Wade knew who she was from her career on screen; however, Union did not know who he was. Guess she didn’t watch basketball!
What made their meet-cute extra glamorous was the fact that they were actually making money while they first flirted with one another! This is because they were both being paid by promoters to be party on Game Day. Talk about multitasking!
When they met, Union was fresh off her divorce from another pro athlete, Chris Howard, whom she was married to from 2001 to 2006. As for Wade, he was married to his high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches, and would file for separation in June, just a few months after meeting Union. The lovebirds waited until 2010 to make their relationship red-carpet official at a summer party Wade hosted with fellow Heat player Alonzo Mourning.
Dwayne Wade popped the question with a nearly 1 million dollar ring
Gabrielle Union said that she knew Dwyane Wade was “The One” when he became her best friend. “And then it was ‘You’re my best friend, and I don’t want to be on this planet without you,'” she told Today.
When it came time to pop the question, Wade used the construction site of their Miami home as the site of his proposal. Wade had his children, Zaire and Zaya, and nephew Dahveon Morris help orchestrate the event. “They’re holding signs that say, ‘Nickie, Will you marry us,'” Union, whose nickname “Nickie” is derived from her middle name Monique (via Entertainment Tonight), explained on Live with Kelly and Michael. Wade even hired a camera crew to capture the moment, which was used in the couple’s “Save the Date” video.
At first, Union wasn’t sure it was the real thing. However, once she looked to Wade, he was already down on one knee with a massive sparkler. The NBA star worked with celebrity jeweler Jason Arasheben, who accessorizes stars like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian (via GQ), to create the 8.5-carat ring valued at close to $1 million, according to People. With a statement piece like that, we’re sure it wasn’t hard for Union to say “Yes!”
The venue for their wedding was an actual castle
When Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union made it official, they did it in style. At the time of the planning, the bride-to-be said it was her future groom who paid attention to all the details. “Secretly this is like his princess moment,” Union said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “He’s been hoarding bridal magazines.”
Their ultra glam wedding video shows all the lavish details, such as a performance by John Legend, a speech by Kevin Hart at the reception, and an afterparty DJed by Questlove. As for their over-the-top venue, the couple said “I Do” at Miami’s Chateau Artisan castle, which is so exclusive that it’s surrounded by a moat. The wedding was so upscale that the couple wanted to keep it a secret, and TMZ reported that guests had to sign confidentiality agreements to attend. The extravagant soiree, which was so extra that it even had its own official white wine created by the bride herself, reportedly set the couple back $5 million, according to the Daily Mail.
The dapper groom donned three outfits for the nuptials — one each for the ceremony, reception, and afterparty. The stunning bride dazzled in a custom Dennis Basso gown from Kleinfeld Bridal, home of Say Yes to the Dress.
The couple lives in a $23 million L.A. mansion
In 2010, Dwyane Wade purchased a $10.6 million home in Miami, which, at the time, was a bachelor pad for the newly-separated dad of two (via The Wall Street Journal). Upon his retirement, he put it on the market for a whopping $32.5 million due to the massive renovations he had done. Amenities included a pool that looked out over Biscayne Bay, a home theater, a barbershop, and — of course — a basketball court (via Architectural Digest).
In 2018, Wade purchased his first property with Gabrielle Union, a sprawling Sherman Oaks, Calif. property for just under $6 million, according to Variety. The five-bedroom home was complete with a game room, a sizable wine vault, a yoga studio, and a home theater. In an interview with ESPN that was done from inside their home, viewers got a glimpse into the state-of-the-art interior, and it’s no surprise that it was beautiful.
In 2020, the lovebirds upgraded to an even more affluent address in the swanky Hidden Hills neighborhood of L.A. that reportedly cost to $17.9 million, with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms (via Variety). Amenities of this not-so-humble abode include a home theater, a wine-tasting room, a fitness room with a spa and sauna, a swimming pool, a cabana, and a 12-car garage.
They have a penchant for designer duds
The fashion-forward duo, who frequently make best-dressed lists, turn heads on the fanciest red carpets in the world from the Met Gala to the Oscars.
In their household, the award for the biggest closet goes to Dwyane Wade. “Not only has his closet taken over both guest room closets, he has a shoe vault. … Like he turned a whole extra room into a shoe museum,” Gabrielle Union dished to People. For his exquisite taste, Wade has been ranked No. 1 on best-dressed baller lists. In fact, Union is known to raid her hubby’s stacked closet for some pieces as well, once captioning an Instagram post with, “Was his, now hers.” Union also has an equally keen eye for fashion. In fact, The Cut has credited the fashionista with a “fearless sense of style that achieves the perfect balance of sultry and chic.”
The fashion lovers have so many clothes that they sold 400 of their designer pieces through a consignment site, The RealReal, donating the proceeds to charity. According to South Florida Sun Sentinel, the items had hefty price tags — one of Wade’s Tom Ford suits was priced at $1,325 and Union’s Jitrois Python jacket went for $1,195.
To add to their bank accounts, they have lucrative side hustles
Besides their main earnings — Dwyane Wade’s from basketball and Gabrielle Union’s from acting — the couple has a bunch of side hustles that span a variety of industries. “This game of basketball doesn’t last forever,” the famed athlete told The Washington Post. “If you don’t plan for your future, I don’t think that’s a smart thing to do.”
So how do the two add to their flowing bank accounts? Well, it’s always happy hour in the Union-Wade household because they have their own wine labels. Wade makes his own in Napa Valley, branded Wade Cellars, while Union has her own Chardonnay line called Vanilla Puddin. The power couple also lend their famous names to promote companies as brand ambassadors. Wade represents the luxury watch company Hublot, while Union reps Tylenol.
Because of their love for clothing, they have also inked deals in the fashion arena. In 2012, Wade launched a sportswear company Way of Wade, specializing in designer sneakers, and has collaborated on clothing inspired by his career. Union meanwhile designed a collection for New York & Co. and dipped into the beauty world by launching Flawless, a haircare line aimed at textured hair.
The jet setting duo loves to take lavish vacations all over the world
Once they made it official, the fun-loving pair wasted no time in booking a trips to the best locations around the globe. They started their union on the right foot, jet setting to the Maldives for their honeymoon. During the tropical getaway, Union posted photos on Instagram with captions like, “Maldives on our deserted island ish…” and “When the Indian Ocean is ya swimming pool… You dive in.” Sounds pretty glamorous to us!
Dwyane Wade retired from the NBA in 2019, and the family vacation they embarked on to celebrate the milestone was so monumental it had its own hashtag! Union commemorated many of their magical moments on Instagram using the tagline #WadeWorldTour2019. During that year, the couple celebrated their five-year anniversary on a yacht in Saint-Tropez, and their daughter Kaavia dipped her feet in the ocean for the first time in Cannes. Très chic!
The following year, the cultured pair continued their epic traveling with the new hashtag #WadeWorldTour2020. They started by making a stop in Paris for Fashion Week, and Union updated her 15 million followers with photos of their sleek looks (via Good Morning America).
The powerful pair's combined net worth is staggering
For his years of playing professional basketball, Dwyane Wade earned a big chunk of change. As one of the most celebrated players in the league, he has been honored as one of the NBA’s “all time leaders” and was also given credit for assisting the Heat to victory in their first NBA championship. With a net worth of $170 million, Wade earned a total of close to $200 million in the NBA. The basketball legend and loyal son used $20 million of it to buy a church for his mother, Jolinda Wade, who turned her life around after being incarcerated (via ESPN).
As for his better half, Gabrielle Union brings her net worth of $40 million to their lucrative partnership. After landing TV roles on Moesha and Saved By the Bell: The New Class in the ’90s, she transitioned to movies with a supporting role in 10 Things I Hate About You. Her big Hollywood break came in 2000, when she starred as a cheerleader in Bring It On, and she’s since snagged bigger and bigger roles. The actress later recounted her humble beginnings in her bestselling memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine, surely adding to her bottom dollar.
To welcome their first child, they hosted a baby shower with a marching band and a puppy pit
After a public struggle with infertility, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade welcomed their first child together, daughter Kaavia James, through a surrogate in 2018. When their miracle baby came into the world, the couple celebrated in typical Union-Wade fashion, by throwing an over-the-top party, as People reported. Festivities included a marching band, baton twirlers, and even a puppy pit filled with golden retrievers. Guests also played beer pong, drank from kegs, and posed in a photo booth.
Ever since she was born, the little one’s been showered with the all the best things money and fame can afford. She has an NBA star, Udonis Haslem, as her godfather, gets to twin with her mom in her famous Bring it On costume, and play in a book-filled nursery. Her mom also created a clothing line with her in mind. “I wanted to create a baby collection because it was a natural progression where I am in my life now,” Union told WWD.
The celebrity baby has an Instagram handle with over 1.4 million followers and receives gifts from the likes of Cardi B.
They throw extravagant birthday parties with celebrity guests
Birthdays are cause for much celebration for the Union-Wade duo. When she turned 40, Gabrielle Union celebrated at the trendy PHD rooftop at New York’s Dream Downtown hotel. The soiree, which coincided with the launch of Courvoisier Gold, included a dinner and cocktail menu inspired by the alcohol, as Vibe noted. Union’s Bad Boys II costar Will Smith, who also lives a glamourous life, even rapped for the crowd. Union marked another birthday with a musical guest, having rapper Saweetie perform for her 47th.
When Dwyane Wade turned 32, he rented out a huge yacht to party with his teammates in Miami. The superstar — who commemorated the event, which included a fireworks display and photo booth, on his YouTube channel – even coordinated his outfit with the vessel. “I got my jacket to match the boat. That’s baller,” he said in a video. To ring in his 35th, Wade’s staff planned a blowout bash in Chicago with details like having his face printed on fake money. “I had nothing to do with that party except writing the check for it,” Union shared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Must be nice to be able to shell out that serious cash!
Even Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union's pups are pampered
It’s a good thing the Union-Wades have such a spacious home because with a total of five dogs, they definitely need the space for them to roam! The couple’s fur babies include Bobby Hurley, Pink, Jaro, Charlie Blue and Tre’. When their newest puppy, Tre’, joined the family, Dwyane Wade took to Instagram to gush, “My little homie is in training but he’s already [a part] of the Wade family.” In his post, he also mentioned Fab Frenchie, a “high end boutique breeder,” so we can imagine the pooch came with a hefty price tag.
Now that he’s retired, Wade has much more time on his hands to help Gabrielle Union with pedestrian errands, including trips to the vet. “We have five dogs, and he’s never been to the vet,” Union told The Late Late Show with James Corden. “He’s like, ‘So is there, like, a VIP?’ And I’m like, ‘No. It’s a general waiting room.'”
With him being a doting dog owner and fashion aficionado, it should come as no surprise that Wade spoils his pup with a wardrobe. Union dished to The Hollywood Reporter, “…Now that we are on dog No 5 … Dwyane is amassing a small closet for him.”
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union have friends in high places
After spending 16 seasons in the NBA, Dwyane Wade made many celebrity athlete friends. In fact, famous faces like LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony were in the stands in support as he played his last professional game. Although they competed against one another during their careers, they were still able to cultivate lasting friendships. “Even from the start with us, being so close, going out to eat, going to movies, etc., then go out and play each other the next night. People didn’t understand that at first,” Wade told ESPN (via Bleacher Report).
As part of the Hollywood scene, Gabrielle Union also has many A-listers she calls pals. During her nights out in L.A., the actress became besties with Jessica Alba. “We’re in the back with the bartender drinking tequila. And we would often find each other at that bar, drinking tequila … so that’s kind of how we bonded,” Union explained on The Late Late Show. Through her role in 10 Things I Hate About You, Union socialized with the late Heath Ledger, whom she called, “Such a gentleman.” And when she got married, Union had her Deliver Us From Eva costar-turned-friend Essence Atkins serve as the officiant.
Their staff includes stylists, a personal chef, and a nanny
To manage their busy work and play schedules, the powerful pair hires help. To prepare meals, they have Chef Richard Ingraham, who began whipping up dishes for a then-single Dwyane Wade. “Now here we are now, almost 18 years later. I’m cooking for him and his wife, Gabrielle, and the kids, everybody,” Ingraham told Essence.
The couple also has help maintaining their flawless looks. To style her gorgeous locks, Gabrielle Union employs celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims, who co-founded her haircare line. As a result of her IVF treatments, Union suffered hair loss, and it was Sims who helped her restore it. “We both made it our mission to try to figure out a way to grow her hair back,” he told Black Enterprise. To assist him in looking sharp, Wade has his own stylist, Calyann Barnett. “It’s the most pressure ever,” Barnett told MaximoTV of dressing the basketball star.
Even their daughter Kaavia has an assistant… in a way. After the couple implanted their embryo in a surrogate, Union met celebrity nanny Connie Simpson, as the actress shared on Facebook, and she’s been part of the Union-Wade clan ever since. Simpson has 30 years of experience working for A-Listers like Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, who also have a glamorous lifestyle.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union get name-dropped in chart-topping songs
You know you’re living the high life when other celebs won’t stop mentioning you. Dwyane Wade’s name has been name-dropped in songs by Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. When asked what his favorite musical nod has been by Showtime Basketball, he replied with Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind.” The famous lyric “If Jeezy’s paying Lebron, I’m paying Dwyane Wade” is part of the hit anthem that reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts and even earned a Grammy for Best Rap Song. “This is when I felt like I made it in pop culture. Once Jay Z did it, I felt like I was on that respect level of artists that I respect,” he told Genius.
Artists have not only paid homage to Wade, but have also name-dropped his partner-in-crime in their lyrics. In “Want Some More,” Nicki Minaj raps, “They want that union, they want that D-Wade.” Wade told Genius that they got a kick out of that line. “That was our first song together as a couple. … It was just dope. She always says, ‘No mainstream artists ever put me in their songs as a punchline,'” he said about his wife finally receiving the lyrical recognition.
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