CBSN

Gabrielle Union: A Part All Her Own

From "Bring It On" to "Bad Boys Two" to "Running With Scissors," Gabrielle Union has built a successful career playing strong, "take-charge" women. Her latest role has her playing a romantically challenged lawyer in Tyler Perry's new film "Daddy's Little Girls."

But in an interview on The Early Show, co-anchor Hannah Storm started by asking Union about her real-life love life, specifically rumors about a romance with Yankees captain Derek Jeter.

Union replied that if it was the truth, she would not be denying it. "But," she continued, "he's not my guy. I wish!"

From what she was reading in the newspapers, Union's mother was expecting Jeter for Easter.

"I was like, 'Mom, he's not coming for Easter.' I wish!" the actress said good-naturedly. "If my real life was half as exciting as what is reported, I would be thrilled. Derek Jeter?"

After clearing that up, it was time to talk about Union's new movie, "Daddy's Little Girls," which was written by filmmaker Tyler Perry with the actress in mind.


Photos: "Daddy's Little Girls" Premiere
"I sort of stalked his agent, conveniently, and I just happened to be on the plane with him, and I was, like, 'I would love to work with your client, Tyler Perry. Can you hook it up?'" Union recalled.

A couple of weeks later, Union and Perry did meet for a lunch that lasted four hours.

"We connected," she said, "and he turned in a script a month later, and we started filming three months after that.

"It's so humbling," she concluded, "to inspire someone to write a piece of literature for you. I am happy to get a card from my mother, much less a whole script… I was blown away."

In the part that Perry wrote for her, Union plays Julie, a high-powered lawyer who is having a hard time finding. Then she does meet a man, who happens to be her driver. He has three children and Julie ends up helping him in his custody battle.

In the movie, Julie's friends think that none of the men she dates are good enough for her. Storm wanted to know if Union's friends are like that in real life.

"My friends are very opinionated about the people I date," the actress replied. "They want the best for you, and we all have this idea who Prince Charming is, and what package he comes in. They come up in this white horse or white Porsche and live in this great house...

"But," she added, "I think if we open ourselves to all different kinds of men and all groups, we find a lot more opportunities to love."

Last year, Union used her platform as an actress to go public with a sexual assault that happened when she was younger, testifying before Congress to push for more funding for rape crisis centers. Storm wanted to know if she has had reaction to that.

Replied Union, "What's sad and great all at once is the amount of women who come up to me on the street and just say, 'Me, too.' Sexual assault — rape — is the most under-reported crime there is in the world. It's disheartening to see how many women suffer in silence. I hope by me speaking out, it at least inspires women to get counseling and the treatment they need… But just the number of 'Me, too's' is overwhelming."