Nia Long breaks silence regarding Ime Udoka suspension, scandal

Long said that she was "devastated" when news broke about Udoka's suspension as head coach of the Boston Celtics in September.

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Nia Long publicly addressed the scandal involving her fiancé Ime Udoka and the Boston Celtics for the first time.

Long discussed the issue during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The Celtics suspended Udoka, the team’s head coach since 2021, for the entire 2022–2023 season for engaging in an improper relationship with a female member of the organization.

The actress stated that her first concern when the news broke was for her and Udoka’s son, Kez. “I went home to be with my son, and that was what was most important to me because he was not having an easy time,” Long said.

Nia Long
Nia Long and Ime Udoka attend BET Presents the American Black Film Festival Honors on Feb. 17, 2017, in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

The Celtics announced the suspension on Sept. 23, just months after Udoka led the team to an Eastern Conference championship and berth in the NBA Finals. Long said she took her son out of school after word got out, and criticized the Celtics for the way the team handled everything.

“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” Long continued. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”

Long and Udoka began dating in 2009 and got engaged in 2015. While she did not disclose the current status of her relationship with Udoka, she acknowledged how the media’s reaction to the scandal affected her and the support she received from the public.

“I literally felt like my heart had jumped out of my body,” she recalls of the media blitz. “And then what I found was this tribe of women and men who were standing up for me in a way that felt like I was in this bubble of protection, and that was very comforting.”

Long is currently starring in the new limited series, “The Best Man: The Final Chapters.” She is reprising her role from the previous two “Best Man” feature films along with the films’ co-stars including Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut. The series premieres on Peacock on Dec. 22.

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