Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade Stun At BET Awards; Why Did Actress Defend Kim Kardashian, Kobe Bryant? [VIDEO & PHOTOS]

By Staff Reporter July 1, 2013 10:59 AM EDT
Gabrielle Union and boyfriend Dwayne Wade stunned on the 2013 BET Awards red carpet. (Photo: Reuters)
Gabrielle Union and boyfriend Dwayne Wade stunned on the 2013 BET Awards red carpet. (Photo: Reuters)

Gabrielle Union and boyfriend Dwayne Wade dazzled on the red carpet at the 2013 BET Awards. In a curve-hugging red dress by Zac Posen, Union glowed from inside and out as she posed for photos with her basketball star boyfriend.

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Union, 40, is starring in the new BET series Being Mary Jane, and took the stage at the BET Awards to present an award to Angela Bassett. Union and Wade teamed up to present the award for Best New Artist to Kendrick Lamar, though he was unable to accept the prize onstage himself.

The actress recently spoke out in defense of Kim Kardashian, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant in an Access Hollywood appearance, describing what she thought of as "mean girl" behavior.

Gabrielle Union's curve-hugging Zac Posen dress fit the actress like a glove, and her NBA boyfriend Dwayne Wade was smooth as silk in his silver jacket and white tie. (Photo: Reuters)
Gabrielle Union's curve-hugging Zac Posen dress fit the actress like a glove, and her NBA boyfriend Dwayne Wade was smooth as silk in his silver jacket and white tie. (Photo: Reuters)

WATCH The 2013 BET Awards Live Stream!

"If you ever made a comment about Kim Kardashian during her difficult time and her pregnancy, you're a mean girl. If you ever said something about Lebron or Kobe," Union said. "Like a backhanded compliment, that's bad behavior. That's mean girl behavior. It can be how we choose to communicate through insults and negative imaging and put-downs and reveling in gossip or just finding comfort in someone else's misery."

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Gabrielle Union is on her way toward becoming a Hollywood icon as her elegant demeanor and thoughtful comments earn her admirers in high places. Oprah Winfrey recently featured Union along with actresses Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad on her Oprah's OWN Network show Oprah's Next Chapter. Oprah took to her website to express how much Union had inspired her.

During Oscars season, Union received the Fierce and Fearless Award at Essence magazine's annual Black Women in Hollywood pre-Oscars luncheon. In her acceptance speech, Union addressed the issue of negativity in Hollywood.

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"We live in a town that rewards pretending," Union said. "I used to revel in gossip and rumors. I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt, whose shine diminished my own. I took joy in people's pain and I tap danced on their misery."

Oprah said her jaw dropped when she heard Union speak. "[She] had our rapt attention," Winfrey wrote on Oprah.com. "A minute later my jaw literally dropped. ... I had never heard anyone be that honest in public or private about the competition and fierce drive to be seen and succeed in Hollywood. That competition is even more charged for women of color because of the death or roles. So I was inspired by Gabrielle's speech to break open the truth and have a real conversation."

Union later revealed that being honest about her past "mean girl" behavior felt good. "I just sort of explained that journey through my speech and Oprah happened to be in the audience and that's sort of where this discussion came from," Union said. "It felt good to be honest."

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