Gabrielle Union: 'I don't need to put another woman down'

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Gabrielle Union on "Being Mary Jane" and #HowWeFamily
BY DONNA FREYDKIN

Fans of BET's steamy "Being Mary Jane" know that our heroine is brimming over with, shall we say, issues.

She's a boozer. She's mean. Like, really mean. She's competitive and petty and selfish. But also crazy-smart and quit-witted and ambitious. In other words: yassssss.

Plus, she's gorgeous.

So what happens in the wake of the car crash that closed out season two, and opens season three tonight? Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) has trashed everything that matters to her. In true "BMJ" style, she cares only about -- herself.

"There's consequences to the car accident for everybody. She lives -- and she's pissed. She's lost everything she normally used as a scaffolding: her friends, her job, her love life. Who are you without all your crutches? We find out," says Union.

Union is an executive producer of the show. And yes, she agrees, her character's reaction to the accident isn't how she would have handled things.

"If your face is your job, that's a concern. That goes to show how deep she takes the loss of her face, at least for a while. If you validate yourself through your looks, who are you without those things?" she muses.

Unlike Mary Jane, who's been looking for love in all the wrong places, Union is happily hitched to NBA player Dwyane Wade and is stepmom to his sons. They live in Miami. And while yes, Union is psyched to be out of the dating game, she accepts whatever life hands her.

"I have dope friends. And over time I've developed self-esteem. I don't need to put another woman down. There is no upside for negativity in that way," she says. "I'm just happy. I liked being single, too. After my divorce, I committed to enjoying life however it was coming at me. I took life by the huevos and ran with it. I just have an amazing dynamic dope-ass group of friends. We always say, 'Commit to the fun.' We have a blast. Some of us are married. Some of us are not."

And she's equally accepting of Hollywood's most dreaded word: wrinkles.

"I'm a human being and human beings age. Unless you want to turn into the plastic woman, it's going to happen. You can either fight it, or go gently into that sweet good night and age gracefully. I've tried to go with the latter. I do OK," she says.

Those of us of a certain age revere Union for the 2000 cheerleading drama "Bring It On," which had her playing an outspoken, no-B.S. team captain named Isis. Can Union still do any of those routines?

"Absolutely not. People ask all the time. I didn't have those cheers down when we filmed it. There's a reason there aren't a ton of wide shots. Choreography and I are not friends," she says.

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Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade
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Gabrielle Union: 'I don't need to put another woman down'
MIAMI BEACH, FL - AUGUST 29: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade leave their wedding rehearsal dinner at Prime 112 Steakhouse on August 29, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Olivia Salazar/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0173 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Gabrielle Union during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on December 1, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured (l-r): Kyle Richards and Gabrielle Union -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Gabrielle Union and guest attend the Miami Heat vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on November 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 19: Gabrielle Union and Karla Martinez make an appearance on the set of Univision's Despierta America to promote her new movie 'Top Five' at Univision Headquarters on November 19, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Gabrielle Union attends 'A Night On The Runwade' fundrasing event at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade pose on the Run way at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/FilmMagic)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union share a moment at the 'A Night On The Runwade' fundrasing event at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attends 'A Night On The Runwade' fundrasing event at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend 'A Night on the Runwade' to benefit Wade's World Foundation at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend 'A Night on the Runwade' to benefit Wade's World Foundation at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attend 'A Night on the Runwade' to benefit Wade's World Foundation at Ice Palace Film Studios on November 18, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - AUGUST 29: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Gabrielle Union arrives at their wedding rehearsal dinner at Prime 112 Steakhouse on August 29, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Olivia Salazar/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - AUGUST 29: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade leave their wedding rehearsal dinner at Prime 112 Steakhouse on August 29, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Olivia Salazar/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 16: Actress Gabrielle Union (L) and NBA player Dwyane Wade speak onstage during Day 2 of Jazz In The Gardens at Sun Life Stadium on March 16, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for Jazz In The Gardens)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - AUGUST 01: Jamie Foxx and Gabrielle Union share a laugh after a game at Dwyane Wade's Fourth Annual Fantasy Basketball Camp at Westin Diplomat on August 1, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 10: Gabrielle Union and Chantel Christopher arrive at the NBA Finals Game 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 10, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - AUGUST 03: Chantel Christopher, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade at Dwyane Wade's Fourth Annual Fantasy Basketball Camp at Westin Diplomat on August 3, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 15: Actress Gabrielle Union and Miami Heat Shooting Guard Dwyane Wade attend GQ & LeBron James NBA All Star Party sponsored by Samsung Galaxy and Beats at Ogden's Museum's Patrick F. Taylor Library on February 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for GQ)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 14: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are seen during NBA All-Star Weekend 2014 at on February 14, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 24: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union attend the Miami Heat Family Foundation TaHEATi Beach Fundraising Event brought to you by Hublot on January 24, 2014 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 02: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are seen at Prime 112 for a special dinner to celebrate the partnership between Hublot and Miami HEAT player Dwyane Wade on December 2, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Hublot)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 27: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union arrive at South Beach Battioke 2014 at Fillmore Miami Beach on January 27, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Ken Gorin, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade make an appearance at the unveiling of the new Maserati Ghibli at The Collection on November 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Collection)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union make an appearance at the unveiling of the new Maserati Ghibli at The Collection on November 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Collection)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade make an appearance at the unveiling of the new Maserati Ghibli at The Collection on November 21, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for The Collection)
MALIBU, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Miami Heat basketball player Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union are sighted enjoying a beach outing on September 21, 2013 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
MALIBU, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Gabrielle Union and Miami Heat basketball player Dwyane Wade are sighted enjoying a beach outing on September 21, 2013 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 16: Professional basketball player Dwyane Wade (L) and actress Gabrielle Union attend ESPN The Magazine 5th annual 'Body Issue' party at Lure on July 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
MALIBU, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Gabrielle Union and Miami Heat basketball player Dwyane Wade are sighted enjoying a beach outing on September 21, 2013 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Gabrielle Union and NBA player Dwyane Wade attend the Entertainment Weekly pre-Emmy party at Fig & Olive Melrose Place on September 20, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union is seen leaving the Venice Airport during The 70th Venice International Film Festival on September 1, 2013 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/FilmMagic)
VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 29: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend Miu Miu Women's Tales during the 70th Venice International Film Festival on August 29, 2013 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: Actress Gabrielle Union and NBA player Dwyane Wade arrive at The 2013 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - AUGUST 15: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union pose at the Dwyane Wade Fantasy Camp at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood at the Westin Diplomat Resort on August 15, 2013 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: (L-R) Actress Gabrielle Union, NBA player Dwyane Wade, NBA player LeBron James, and Savannah Brinson attend The 2013 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for ESPY)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 16: Actress Gabrielle Union (L) and Professional basketball player Dwyane Wade attend ESPN The Magazine 5th annual 'Body Issue' party at Lure on July 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Gabrielle Union and NBA player Dwyane Wade attend the Entertainment Weekly pre-Emmy party at Fig & Olive Melrose Place on September 20, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 16: Actress Gabrielle Union (L) and Professional basketball player Dwyane Wade attend ESPN The Magazine 5th annual 'Body Issue' party at Lure on July 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
HANGZHOU, CHINA - JULY 11: Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade take some photos and share a kiss on at Green City Villa on July 11, 2013 in Hangzhou, China. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: NBA player Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union attend the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 30: Dwyane Wade (C) and Gabrielle Union (R) attend the 2013 BET Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BET)
GUANGZHOU, CHINA - JULY 06: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union visit Chimelong Safari Park on July 6, 2013 in Guangzhou, China. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 8: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union arrive at Shanghai Airport to contuine Li-Ning ' Way of Wade' China tour on July 8, 2013 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Bobby Metelus/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 16: Professional basketball player Dwyane Wade (L) and actress Gabrielle Union attend ESPN The Magazine 5th annual 'Body Issue' party at Lure on July 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage)
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