Actress Nia Long appreciates the concern people have shown after it was revealed that her fiancé, Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, had an inappropriate relationship with a female team member.
“The love and support of family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long said in a statement to Boston.com. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Most importantly, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
Long and Udoka have been in a relationship since 2010 and have a 10-year-old son. The two have been engaged since 2015 but had no plans to get married as Long once told Essence.com that “marriage is not a priority.”
On Thursday night, the Celtics announced that Udoka will be suspended for the entire 2022-23 NBA season after an independent investigation found the coach’s relationship with an employee violated several team policies.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement to ESPN. “I’m 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.”
At a news conference Friday, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and basketball operations president Brad Stevens did not elaborate on what the investigation found or what specific team policies Udoka violated.
While much of the coverage of Udoka’s situation focused on the sporting implications, Long’s fans took to social media to express their feelings about the affair, with many noting how popular Long is in the black community.
Long made her first major appearance as Brandi in John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz N the Hood. In 1993 she got a cameo appearance in Living Single and a year later she had a recurring role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. . Long starred opposite Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in F. Gary Gray’s “Friday” in 1995.
Podcaster and Oscar-winning producer Van Lathan Jr. tweeted“Nia Long has a 100% approval rating on Black America and Ime Udoka will soon understand that.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (DN.Y.) shared a message of support for the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” actor.
“I send Nia Long nothing but love. We will not let a man who has not recognized the luxury of her presence tarnish all her beauty and glory,” he wrote. “Actually, we need a Nia Long National Day!”
user @queenveej wrote, “The sad part is that Nia Long isn’t even okay and now this man has her name all over the place while she’s just trying to film the last groomsman in peace.”
Below are some more tweets in support of Long.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-09-23/nia-long-plans-to-focus-on-my-children-after-fiance-ime-udokas-affair Nia Long will ‘focus on my children’ after Ime Udoka affair