Well, it’s official: Nia Long is back on the market.
PEOPLE Magazine reports that The Best Man actress has called it quits with former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka after 13 years together. The split comes less than three months after it was revealed that Udoka had an affair on the job, which led to the Celtics suspending him for the entire 2022-2023 NBA season.
A source tells the magazine “The situation is unfortunate and painful, but Nia is focusing on her children and rebuilding her life.” A rep for Long also confirmed the split, saying that the couple is no longer together, but both parties are fully committed to co-parenting their 11-year-old son, Kez.
The couple met in February 2010 when Udoka played for the Sacramento Kings and Long was shooting a pilot for NBC. They welcomed their son in November 2011, and by 2015, they were engaged. However, Long was adamant that marriage didn’t necessarily define their relationship at the time. “I don’t feel less loved or less loving because I’m not married,” she said in an interview with Essence Magazine. “I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I’ve also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake.”
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Fast forward to September of this year. The Celtics organization announced that Udoka was suspended from his coaching duties. At the time, they said Udoka had violated “team policies,” and noted his future with the team will be evaluated. It would later be confirmed that Udoka had an intimate relationship with a female staff member. Udoka issued a statement, posted by 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.”
As previously reported, Long opened up about the aftermath of Udoka’s cheating scandal in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face,” the actress said, “when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public. It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him.”
She went on to say, “I have to commit myself to that because I think sometimes when so much is happening, it takes your breath away and then it’s like you’re holding your breath, and you feel this angst and this panic of constantly being in fight-or-flight survival mode. I think mothers, Black women, we understand that more than anyone.”
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