Nia Long gets candid about her painful, public separation from her former fiancé, Ime Udoka.
Long recently joined Jeezy for a raw and emotional conversation, released Tuesday to promote his new album, I could forgive…but I don’t forget.
While Jeezy opened up about his own divorce from Jeannie MaiLong also reflected on her split from the basketball coach in September 2022, after news of an alleged affair with a female colleague within the Boston Celtics organization surfaced.
According to Long, the divorce was “a wake-up call” for her, especially when it comes to parenthood she and Udoka’s 11-year-old son, Kez. Long said she suddenly realized, “You’re going to do this on your own and you’re going to be fine!”
Long explained that for a long time she tried to keep the family together, but eventually, “I had to get to a place where loving myself was bigger and more important than saving anyone.”
Udoka was the Celtics’ head coach at the time of the scandal and had led the Celtics to the NBA Finals during the 2021-2022 season, his first season with the team. However, the scandal rocked the organization before the team ever started the 2022-2023 season, ultimately leading to Udoka’s season-long suspension.
Udoka, who was ultimately fired by the Celtics, apologized in a statement shared with ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” he said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further.”
The actress started dating Udoka in 2009 and the couple got engaged in 2015. They welcomed Kez on November 7, 2011. Long also has a 22-year-old son, Massai, from a previous relationship.
A year after their split – and amid a legal battle over custody of their son — Long told Jeezy that she still has her share of tough days and challenges.
“Some days I’m totally fine, and other days I’m like, ‘Ugh, God, this feels like so much work!’ Long said, as she began to tear up. ‘Other days it feels like women don’t have to be so strong. I do not do that want to to be so strong sometimes.”
Reflecting on how her breakup played out in the headlines and in the public eye, Long said she “wasn’t embarrassed” but was surprised by the outpouring of support she felt in the aftermath of the news.
“The way black people stood up for me, and the way black women said, ‘Oh no, don’t do that to her.’ I was shocked,” Long said. “Because I didn’t realize what I had done in my career had such an impact.”
Watch the video below to learn more about Long’s post-divorce life.
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