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Nia Long Speaks Out About Ime Udoka's Scandal, Calls Out 'Disappointing' Boston Celtics Organization

ETOnline 12/1/2022 Mekishana Pierre‍
© Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for ESSENCE

Nia Long is opening up about the scandal that surrounded her longtime partner, Ime Udoka, and his suspension from the NBA. 

The Boston Celtics coach has apologized after allegations surfaced in which he was accused of engaging in an intimate relationship with a female member of the team's staff. A relationship with the unnamed staff member is reportedly against the franchise's code of conduct, and the 45-year-old coach was suspended for the entire 2022-2023 season. 

Long began dating Udoka in 2009 and the couple got engaged in 2015. They share a 10-year-old son, Kez, as well as Long's son, Massai, 21, from a previous relationship.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Long reveals that she had been in the middle of a project when the news hit and -- for the first time in her 36-year career -- walked off the set to be with her son. She explains that not only was the project unfulfilling, but "there was also this sense that the business I have to deal with at home is more important to me than teaching a white director-producer how to tell a Black story."

"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 tells the outlet. 

"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 says of the organization's decision to call a press conference to address Udoka's suspension. Long shares that she took her son out of school when the news broke, saying that it was "devastating, and it still is."

"He still has moments where it's not easy for him," the Friday actress adds. "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."

After Udoka broke his own silence on the situation in a statement shared by ESPN's NBA Today host Malika Andrews, Long publicly addressed the wave of support she'd received in wake of the news.

"The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me," Long said in a statement issued to ET. "I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children." 

Long hasn't discussed the status of her relationship with Udoka, nor commented on the conduct that prompted his disciplining. Instead, the actress has focused on her children and her upcoming projects, including the release of Peacock's The Best Man: Final Chapters

The final installment of the Best Man franchise features the original stars from the film, including Long, Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye DiggsRegina HallTerrence HowardSanaa Lathan and Harold Perrineau.  

Based on the Universal movies by writer-director Malcolm D. Lee, Final Chapters will catch up with Harper (Diggs), Robyn (Lathan), Jordan (Long), Lance (Chestnut), Quentin (Howard), Shelby (De Sousa), Candace (Hall) and Murch (Perrineau) as relationships evolve and past grievances resurface in the unpredictable stages of midlife crisis meets midlife renaissance.

The limited series brings several recurring guest stars together with our favorite dysfunctional friend group as Harper is given the opportunity to turn his debut novel that kicked off the wild ride over 20 years ago, Unfinished Business, into a movie. Unsurprisingly, it stirs up a lot of feelings.

The Best Man: Final Chapters premieres Dec. 22 on Peacock.

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