The countdown is on to Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade's Miami wedding on Saturday — they even have their official hashtag established: #TheWadeUnion. While it's happy days for the Being Mary Jane star and her Miami Heat honey, their road to the altar hasn't been without some, um, technical fouls.
In the five or so years they've been together, Union, 41, and Wade, 32, who are both marrying for the second time, weathered a nasty divorce, custody battle, brief breakup, and a love child. Whew! As the unsinkable pair prepares to say "I do," we look back at their bumpy road to happily ever after in a romance timeline...
February 2007: Wade and Union meet for the first time when they're hired by promoters to co-host a Super Bowl party. The basketball player is married to his high school sweetheart, Siohvaughn Funches, and the Bring It On actress, who was divorced from NFL player Chris Howard, is in a relationship, so they have little interaction. "I stayed on one side of the room with my people," Union later tells Essence. "We like to party and he doesn't drink at all. He was on the other side of the room holding bible study."
June 2007: Wade files for separation from Funches, who had just given birth to their second son, Zion, a month earlier. They also have a son Zaire. Divorce proceedings start soon after — as do rumors that Wade is secretly dating Union. The jock reaches out to the actress to apologize for the gossip and they become platonic friends.
July 2009: In the middle of a bitter divorce with Funches (she accused him infecting her with an STD; he sued her for defamation), Wade helps his pal Alonzo Mourning host the annual Summer Groove, a four-day charity event including an all-star basketball game, comedy show, block party, and dinner. Union, whose relationship with Wade has evolved into a romantic one, attends several of the events as the hoops champ's guest, though they don't pose for photos together. Oops — photographers catch them together anyway!
February 2010: Union attends the third annual All-Star Luncheon hosted by Wade and Mike Modano in Dallas. She doesn't pose for photos with her beau, but is obviously there with him. March 2010: While his acrimonious divorce with Funches rages on, Wade files for sole custody of their two young sons alleging that his ex couldn't "be considered a fit and proper person" to raise them because she exhibited threatening behavior, used abusive parenting methods, and had extramarital affairs. "For more than two years, I have tried to make peace with Siohvaughn concerning our divorce and custody of our kids," he tells the Associated Press. "I no longer believe that's possible."
May 2010: A peeved Funches files a lawsuit on behalf of her sons naming Union as a defendant. She accusing the actress of engaging in "sexual foreplay" with Wade in front of the children and says Union's behavior with Wade is causing the children emotional damage. Wade publicly refutes his soon-to-be-ex's claims and publicly defends his girlfriend, calling the lawsuit a retaliation tactic for his custody bid.
June 2010: Wade is given temporary physical custody of the children. Weeks later, an Illinois judge finalizes his contentious divorce. However, financial and custody issues are not yet resolved.
July 2010: Amid all the drama, Wade and Union make their red carpet debut as a couple at the Summer Groove event — one year after they were first exposed as a couple at the event.
August 2010: A judge dismisses Funches's lawsuit against Union. Soon after, Union participates in Wade's World Foundation Youth Empowerment Summit in Chicago, proudly sitting next to him on the panel.
December 2010: Wade and Funches face off in court to hash out their custody arrangement. On the stand, Wade denies allegations that he was abusive toward his sons or ex-wife. He also answers questions about his relationship with Union and denies engaging in sexual foreplay in front of the children.
March 2011: Wade is awarded sole "care, custody, and control" of his sons. In the judge's ruling it says, "This court finds that [Funches] has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them." He tells the Associated Press, "A huge weight is off my back."
February 2012: The couple appears on the cover of Essence and opens up about their relationship. "We're not rushing it," Wade says. "Both of us have been married before, and we understand that if we choose to marry again, we want it to be right. We both took failing at marriage hard. The next time it's gotta be forever."
April 2012: In an interview with Jet, Union denies that she played any part in Wade's split with Funches. "I think people mistook me taking the high road as an admission of guilt. Dwyane and I made a decision very early to not react to the negativity," she tells the mag. Besides, "My life is just too easy to track. We were submitting plenty of proof for the times [Funches] said I was in Miami. So, it was like, obviously you're not telling the truth. And then the courts dismissed the case." Despite being sucked into Wade's divorce drama, Union says she has no regrets about their relationship. "This kind of love is a gift. It's so consistent. There's no way that I would trade it for people who refuse to simply acknowledge the truth."
January to April 2013: The couple quietly takes a break for several months, beginning after the 2012 holidays until early spring, but they are still in contact. The first week of April, Wade brings Union to the Miami Heat Family Festival and it appears that things are back on. By June, she's rooting him on in the playoffs and they attend the BET Awards together.
July 2013: The financial portion of Wade and Funches's six-year divorce is finally resolved. He is ordered to pay his ex $5 million and she receives their Chicago mansion and four cars. Their agreement stipulates they can't badmouth each other — and his relationship with Union is off-limits as well. During the trial, Funches sits outside the courthouse with a cardboard sign that says, "NBA Miami Heat star, mother of his children on the streets."
September 2013: During an appearance on The Tonight Show, Wade admits that he and Union recently reunited after a split. "This was a big year for us in our relationship from the standpoint of she was shooting her show Being Mary Jane [and] I was dealing with my injuries, trying to win a championship. We kind of took a step back. We supported each other, but we took a step back for a little while. At the end of day, we came back together and said, 'Listen, we want to continue this. We want to try to continue to get better each day.' She's been with me and I've been with her all summer long. We're going strong now."
November 2013: Wade becomes a father again when a woman he was seeing during his split with Union, Aja Metoyer, gives birth to a baby boy named Xavier. The child's paternity briefly remains a secret.
December 2013: With the help of his two sons as well as his nephew Dahveon, whom he also raises, Wade proposes to Union. They debut her ring on Instagram and are over the moon. However, the celebration is short-lived. One week later, news breaks that Wade has a love child, which he confirms in a statement in which he calls his third son "a blessing." The baby isn't news to Union, who was reportedly well aware of the child and opted to stick with Wade.
January 2014: Union talks to Glamour magazine about why she got back together Wade. "It was because of distance and scheduling," she said of their brief split. "I couldn't take time off, and I missed some quality togetherness we desperately needed." However, she "reassessed priorities" and ultimately decided that she wanted to make it work. "I'd always wanted an awesome career with back-to-back projects, but I realized I wasn't willing to sacrifice my relationship for it. Moving forward, I decided my work schedule has to make sense for our family."
February 2014: On the Arsenio Hall Show, Union says she's asking her fiancé, who will earn $15 million in the upcoming season, to sign a prenuptial agreement. "The biggest difference between this and the last marriage will be a prenup — at my insistence," she candidly shares. "When you have your own stuff, you don't need to worry about anyone else's stuff. So everyone should go into the relationship knowing, 'I'm here for you and you're here for me.' And the reality is I've never seen Dwyane balance a checkbook, so I gotta protect my stuff. It's the wave of the future."
May 2014: Wade and Union send out their save the dates, which come in paper and video form. She previously revealed some details about the wedding, telling Arsenio Hall that the Miami bash on Aug. 30 will include "no bridesmaids, no groomsmen. It's just us and the kids. And we're just riding out, just us." As for the guest list, "There's a lot of people that think they're coming, and they are not. If you're not about us and we don't both have a relationship with you, you're not gonna make it."
August 2014: The couple hits the gym together in advance of their wedding, sharing an ab fab photo on Instagram. They also share some sweet couple shots. A week before their "I dos," Union posts the official hashtag for their wedding, #TheWadeUnion. However, it's unclear who is going to use it because there are reports that they are making their guests sign a confidentiality agreement and that they are banned from bringing cameras and cell phones to the affair.