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Gabrielle Union Looks Back on Her First Marriage: “I Was All About Getting the Ring”

Before she was snuggling up to NBA boyfriend-turned-fiancé Dwyane Wade, actress Gabrielle Union was married to former football player Chris Howard — but that relationship ended in 2005. Looking back on it almost a decade later, the Being Mary Jane star admits she may have rushed into things for the wrong reasons, even comparing herself to her naive (but lovable) TV counterpart.

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"Hey, I can relate!" she dished to TV Guide, explaining why Mary Jane continues making the same mistakes with men over and over again. "When I was in my 20s, I was all about getting the ring. Cut to: I'm divorced."

Now, at 41 years old, Gabrielle's finally found a relationship that fulfils her for all the right reasons, even if though things aren't always easy. "Some of us put more work into choosing the right therapist than choosing the right guy," she said. "Nobody talks about the work — the really hard work — that goes into marriage."

In a 2010 interview, Gabrielle admitted that her failed marriage taught her to be more laid back and understanding.

"I spent so much of my marriage upset. Things like the toilet seat being up or down shouldn’t define your day. You put so much on every little thing," she revealed. "You look at your parents like they were infallible and perfect and you realize now that they made a lot of mistakes and they’re just people. I’m giving the men in my life the same consideration. They’re just human.”

And it seems like Gabrielle is truly a woman of her word. The newly-engaged actress has been standing by her man since the news broke that Dwyane fathered a child while the pair were on a break. "And in other news... Happy Freakin New Year!" Gabrielle tweeted on January 2, flashing her sparkly 8.5 carat engagement ring.

Something tells us that 2014 is going to be a good year!

Being Mary Jane premieres on Tuesday, January 7 at 10 p.m. ET on BET. Will you watch?

Source: TV Guide, People,