Dwyane Wade on the Secret to His Relationship with Gabrielle Union: She 'Doesn't Stop My Growth'

Lindsay Kimble

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are always pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the retired NBA star shares what makes him the most proud about having the Bring It On actress as his wife.

“She is her own boss and has her own career, her own bank account and all that,” Wade, 38, says. “That she has her own life and she allows me to live my life and be me, and she doesn’t try to stop my growth or change who I am.”

“We both work very hard for our families and we love that about each other,” Wade adds. “We love that we grind, we go for it, we work, but we still find time for our family and find time to spend time together and love each other.”

Dwyane and Gabrielle | Johnny Nunez/Getty

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Wade and Union, 47, began dating in 2009. They married on August 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida and the actress became a stepmother to his three children:  Zaire Blessing Dwyane, 18, Xavier Zechariah, 6, and Zaya, 12, who recently revealed she identifies as female.

In 2018, Wade and Union welcomed their first child together via surrogacy: daughter Kaavia James, now 15 months. Wade is also the guardian of nephew Dahveon Morris, 18

Dwyane Wade/Instagram

So what’s involved in a “relaxing day” for the busy parents?

“Robes. It definitely consists of having robes on all day,” Wade shares. “We’re robe people. But I think really staying home, being home and whatever home. Some days it’s watching movies all day, some days it’s in the pool with the kids, some days it’s going down the street and going to lunch. It’s simple things.”

Wade believes that “the things that keep you connected are not the things that people feel that money is going to.”

“Money doesn’t keep you connected,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, you’ve got money so you can…’ No, it’s not that. It’s the simple things that you can do for free that will keep you connected with someone.”

Gabrielle and Dwyane | Aaron Davidson/WireImage

RELATED: Dwyane Wade Says 12-Year-Old Daughter Zaya Knew Gender Identity ‘for 9 Years’ Before Coming Out

Last week, Union introduced Zaya to the world, sharing a video of the preteen stressing the importance of being “true to yourself.”

“She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her,” Union tweeted with the video, praising Zaya. “It’s ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people.”

RELATED VIDEO: Gabrielle Union Introduces 12-Year-Old Zaya to the World: ‘She’s Whip Smart and We Are So Proud’

Wade recalled on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show last Tuesday the moment Zaya came out to the couple and also said that he hopes to give his daughter “the best opportunity to be her best self.”

“It’s now our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have — my wife reached out to everybody on the cast of Pose — we’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self,” Wade said.