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Gabrielle Union Gets Real In 'We're Going To Need More Wine'

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Gabrielle Union Gets Real In 'We're Going To Need More Wine'

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Gabrielle Union says she thinks it's tacky to tell on your costars — but she tells many revealing stories about herself in We're Going to Need More Wine. Michael Lavine hide caption

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Michael Lavine

Gabrielle Union Gets Real In 'We're Going To Need More Wine'

Gabrielle Union says she thinks it's tacky to tell on your costars — but she tells many revealing stories about herself in We're Going to Need More Wine.

Michael Lavine

Actress Gabrielle Union started off playing teenagers on TV in the 1990s. Now, she stars in the BET show Being Mary Jane, as a powerful cable news anchor who's equally fierce in her personal life. She's also an advocate for rape survivors and an outspoken voice on many issues. And she's just written her first book, a collection of essays called We're Going to Need More Wine.

Union says she's always loved regaling her friends about her adventures and misadventures — hence the title of her book. "I'll be like, 'Girl, you don't have enough wine,'" she says. "A lot of these stories are helpful with a cocktail, for sure."

A lot of these stories are helpful with a cocktail, for sure.

Gabrielle Union

She's never been a fan of celebrity tell-alls. "To narc on your costars, I think is kinda tacky," she says. But in her book, Union does dish about how dreamy it was to work with actor Heath Ledger. She reminisces about parties Prince used to throw. And she calls out her ex-husband, retired NFL running back Chris Howard, talking about her regret that after they divorced, she paid his rent, cosigned for a Porsche he later abandoned, and invested in a company he started that failed.

"Had he paid up, perhaps I would have been kinder. Or omitted some of his truth, or our truth," she sighs. "But, alas, his bill is outstanding, and — sorry."

Union's memoir is funny and frank about many things. Mostly, herself: She details losing her virginity, sexual encounters, cheating, infertility, miscarriages. In one essay, she describes being raped at gunpoint by a stranger in the back room of a shoe store where she worked. She was 19.

"It's weird to say, and it's awful to have to say that I had the luxury of being raped in an affluent community with an underworked police department and an underutilized rape crisis center, counselors who had gone through the sensitivity training," she says. "And to be immediately afforded the sympathy that accompanies stranger rape, to be immediately supported, and immediately put on the path to healing."

We're Going to Need More Wine

We're Going to Need More Wine

Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True

by Gabrielle Union

Hardcover, 262 pages |

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Union credits the Santa Monica-UCLA rape treatment center for saving her life. But the incident still affects her. "I talk about the sense of rape energy that has continued to swirl around me, things happening to me that are out of my control," she says. "And then in the microcosm of Hollywood, being put in the situation where you're not supposed to have any boundaries. You're supposed to be grateful if your fans want to be around you or touch you or grope you or yank you around, and all of that is supposed to just be par for the course."

Union says her goal has never hearing the words "me too" again, but sexual assault is far too common. Her experience motivated her to take on a role in the film Birth of a Nation, about the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. She plays Esther, a slave who's raped by a drunken dinner party guest at a plantation. While the character was silent, the actress who portrayed her was not — especially after it was revealed that the film's director and actor Nate Parker had been charged with rape while he was a college student.

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