“You’re with someone for 12, 13 years, you think you know them.”
Nia Long is calling out the Boston Celtics for revealing her ex-fiancé Ime Udoka’s alleged affair with a female co-worker.
In a new interview with The Cut for its February cover story, the actress expressed her frustration over the organization’s decision to publicly discuss the NBA coach’s inappropriate relationship.
As a result, the Celtics suspended Udoka for at least a year, and Long and Udoka split after 13 years together.
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Nia Long Has ‘Eye on One Person’ After Messy Ime Udoka Split
“The Celtics made a choice to make my family business public, and I don’t understand why,” Long, 52, told The Cut. “It could’ve all been handled internally. I do understand why, but I can’t talk about it. Maybe one day I will. You know, fear drives stupidity, and I’ll leave that right there. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was.”
The “You People” star — who shares 11-year-old son Kez with Udoka — said her son is her “only focus” at the moment, noting that he’s “having a really tough time.”
“I’m sure I have some things that I’m suppressing, but I have to do that to take care of him first,” she added. “That’s the giving. It’s natural. I’m sure I’ll have to circle back with myself several times to reconcile things. But the one thing I’m trying not to harbor is anger.”
Long went on to share that it’s not hard for her to discuss the scandal, but she doesn’t “wanna talk about it because it’s personal and I’m still figuring it out.”
She added, “I’m still going, ‘Wait, did this really happen?’ Because, you know, you’re with someone for 12, 13 years, you think you know them.”
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However, the “Boyz n the Hood” actress said she’s grateful for the support she’s received, sharing that it “saved my life.”
“It saved my mental well-being because I felt uplifted by the community in a way that felt like my family was checking in and making sure I was okay,” Long told The Cut. “And that, I appreciated. I have that for people like Beyoncé. I look at her, and I’m so proud of her because I know how difficult it is to sustain and manage everything she has in her life. My life is probably a smaller version of that.”
She added that she believes “race matters” when it comes to how the public will rally behind someone.
“Black women that are dynamic and famous and there to inspire are also required to be exceptional, and sometimes I just get tired of being strong. That’s my biggest thing: I don’t want to have to be strong. I would like to just have an experience that’s pleasant,” Long explained. “But the difference comes down to race. Race matters and makes a difference in your experiences and the way people treat you, respect you, and regard you — and the way people protect you. Malcolm X said the least protected person in America is the Black woman. That quote resonates big time in my life right now.”
When asked if she’s “a crier” and “embrace[s]” these emotions, Long admitted, “Oh my God, I cry. I don’t cry as much as I used to. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but I do check in with myself and let people know how I feel, for better or worse. ‘Cause I’m not holding on to nonsense.”
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“I’m also not passive-aggressive,” she added. “I say it and sometimes it’s received, sometimes it’s not, but in any case, it’s my truth.”
In September, the Boston Celtics announced Udoka had been suspended for the 2022-23 season for “violations of team policies” following reports that the coach had an affair with a female employee.
A couple of months after the news of the scandal broke, it was reported that Long and Udoka had called it quits after 13 years together.
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in December, Long broke her silence on the scandal, calling the news “devastating.”
“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,” she said at the time.
Long and Udoka started dating in 2010. The two welcomed son Kez the following year, and became engaged in 2015.
During an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show” last month, Long shared her thoughts on dating, and revealed her current relationship status following her split from Udoka.
“I have my eye on one person,” she teased, adding that she’s going to remain tight-lipped about the mystery man. “I’m not saying. I’m never telling.”