'Almost Christmas' Star Gabrielle Union Is As Independent As Ever — Even Though She's Married

Regardless of all of the holiday spirit present in the upcoming Almost Christmas, Gabrielle Union’s character Rachel isn’t particularly cheery — especially when it comes to her outlook on men. She has a hard wall up when it comes to the opposite sex, and all the Christmas spirit in the world won’t convince her to let a man so much as open a door for her. As a female who’s self-sufficient and way too proud about it, I totally identify with this character. But Rachel is so strongly justified in her actions for reasons Union can actually relate to. In the film, the single mom returns home for Christmas for the first time since she got divorced. She constantly feels the need to tell people she’s OK on her own. Union, who’s now happily remarried, tells me why she related to Rachel back when she got divorced — and why she still feels she has something to prove.

Union isn’t timid expressing how she relates to her divorcee character. “The next time you’re around your family after divorce, you try to put on as much armor as you can,” says the 44-year-old. “You kind of shield yourself from the judgement, from the smarts comments, from the idea that you can’t make it without a man.”

Before marrying NBA star Dwyane Wade in 2014, the actress was married to former NFL star Chris Howard from 2001 to 2006. “You’re gonna be like, ‘No, I got it, I don’t need anybody, I’m fine, I’m still gonna thrive,' just to prove to everybody that you don’t need a man and that you’re not flawed or worthless because you don’t have somebody,” Union says. “Rachel kind of walks through life now like that. At different points in my life, I’d for sure do that,” she explains.

Although it’s been years since she got divorced and a few since she got remarried, she still feels conditioned to constantly prove her worth. “I have to remind people that I’ve had a career for a very long time, long before I met my husband,” says Union. This boss lady is so self-sufficient that she still doesn’t depend on her man for money, even though he’s worth millions.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In fact, she’s got hard-earned paper of her own, and she’s proud to claim that. “I still pay my own bills. It’s sad you have to remind people of that,” says Union. Although she finds herself defending her independence and accomplishments from time to time, she knows her worth and that’s what matters most. “Yeah my husband has money, and so do I. And they’re in two different accounts,” she proudly says.

These are all the goals I ever needed in life. Union proves a relationship doesn't mean losing a part of yourself, it just encourages you to amp up your best qualities.

Almost Christmas hits theaters November 11.

Image: Universal