Gabrielle Union says marriage to ‘a younger man with a big life’ inspired her involvement in ‘The Idea of You’

In helping to bring Robinne Lee’s novel “The Idea of You” to the screen, Gabrielle Union found inspiration in her own story.

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Gabrielle Union attends the Prime Video's "The Idea Of You" New York premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Gabrielle Union may be best known for the variety of roles she’s played onscreen — or maybe for her two bestselling memoirs — but in her most recent role as producer on the feature film “The Idea of You,” the veteran actress also saw parallels to her own personal life. Based on the novel of the same name by fellow actress-author Robinne Lee, the film, which stars Anne Hathaway as a divorced mother who embarks on an unexpected romance with a younger pop idol, instantly resonated with the “Being Mary Jane” star.

“An O-M-G page [turner] that literally sucks you in from page one to the last few words,” wrote Union in praise of the book during its 2017 release. “I found myself yearning for more; needing, really, to know what happens next… it’s that good.”

True to her word, Union jumped on board to help bring the story to the screen, acknowledging some striking parallels to her own longtime romance with husband Dwyane Wade. At 51, the actress has been partnered with Wade, 42, since 2008 and has been married to the former NBA All-Star for the better part of a decade.

“Being inspired by Robinne’s book and knowing that [main character] Solene’s story was a very specific story, I was like ‘I want in,’” Union told People magazine. “I live this! I’ve got a younger man with a big life.”

The couple now shares an even bigger life as they continue to raise their youngest two children, Zaya and Kaavia James. Nevertheless, their age gap has caused a few inevitably awkward moments, experiences not too dissimilar to those of the film’s protagonist, Solène Marchand.

“I love it because it reminds me of when I vacation with some of my husband’s friends,” Union explained. “It’s like, ‘Oh so no one’s heard of Jefferson Airplane?'”

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Of course, this is not Union’s first foray into portraying intergenerational love onscreen. In 2023, she and Keith Powers, 31, brought author Tia Williams’ bestseller “The Perfect Find” to Netflix, heating up the screen with their own variation on the “May-September” romance.

While Union and Wade are only nine years apart in age, as the two approach their tenth anniversary on August 30, 2024, they have seemingly found their balance — in marriage, parenthood, joint ventures, co-authoring, and even in juggling their respectively high-powered careers. As Wade told Shannon Sharpe in June 2023 (as previously reported by theGrio), “In certain moments when we want to do better together, we do better together.”   

“The Idea of You” premiered on May 2 on Prime Video.