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January 05, 2014

Gabrielle Union Gets Personal

Just how personal do Gabrielle Union's 2 million-plus followers get with her on Twitter? The film-now-TV star shares this and more about groundbreaking BET drama series Being Mary Jane.

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn
  • Gabrielle Union

  • Gabrielle Union

  • Gabrielle Union on the set of Being Mary Jane with castmates.

  • Oscar nominee Margaret Avery joins Gabrielle Union on Being Mary Jane, as her mother.

  • Veteran star Richard Roundtree joins Gabrielle Union on Being Mary Jane, as her father.

In Gabrielle Union’s Twitterverse, fans are not shy about posing personal questions, including some intimate inquiries about her romance with basketball beau Dwayne Wade:

“Almost every day someone will tweet me saying, ‘Why don’t you give us a baby?’ And I’m like, ‘Why are all of you so concerned with my womb?’”

But many of her 2 million–plus followers are more focused on her January 7 return to BET in Being Mary Jane, which broke ratings records when it premiered last July as a back-door pilot.

The network’s first hour-long scripted series, Mary Jane centers on the life — and love life — of a cable chat host (Union, of course) living single in Atlanta. Union is accompanied by a vibrant cast, which includes veteran stars Richard Roundtree (widely known as “Shaft”) and Oscar nominee Margaret Avery (Color Purple), who portray Mary Jane’s parents. 

Granted, playing successful, sexy and searching doesn’t seem like a stretch for the Catholic girl from Omaha who’s been a darling of television (Night Stalker, City of Angels) and film (Deliver Us from Eva, Bad Boys II, Think Like a Man) since her breakout as Kirsten Dunst’s cheerleading nemesis in Bring It On.

But there’s more to Mary Jane than her European sedan, fly designer clothes and enviable, sprawling bachelorette pad.

“She makes terrible decisions,” Union says, “like we all make in life. And Mary Jane faces hard consequences for her actions. She loses a lot.”

Not soon after losing Olivia Pope (yes, she auditioned for the lead on ABC’s Scandal), Union got a call from creator–executive producer Mara Brock Akil and her husband, director–executive producer Salim Akil, about Mary Jane. “Salim said, ‘We wrote it with you in mind.’ We ended up talking for 4 hours.”

The 8 episodes of season 1 are now complete, and scripts have been ordered for season 2.

During hiatus, Union banked two movies: a Chris Rock film and the rom-com sequel Think Like a Man, Too, reprising her role as Kristen who, now married, is trying to conceive during a Vegas wedding weekend.

“The whole time,” Union says, “I’m trying to keep Jerry Ferrara’s character on the ovulation schedule.”

Maybe her fans can tweet about that womb action for now.


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