Nia Long with fiancé Ime Udoka in 2017. He has been suspended as head coach of the Boston Celtics for an inappropriate relationship with a female staff, despite being engaged to Long
Fresh Prince of Bel Air actress Nia Long broke her silence today after learning that her Boston Celtics fiancé, Ime Udoka, was cheating on her with one of his staffers.
The starlet told TMZ in a statement that she was “overwhelmed” by the affair, which comes when she moves to Boston to be with her old beau.
Long, 51, and Udoka, a former NBA player turned coach, have been together for more than a decade.
They got engaged in 2015 but never married, although they share a 10-year-old son. She also has a son from a previous relationship.
This week, their family happiness was destroyed when the Boston Celtics suspended Udoka for violating ethics rules by having a consensual affair with the unnamed staffer.
It is believed that this is how Long discovered the infidelity.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long said through her spokeswoman.
“I ask that my privacy be respected in processing the recent events.
“Most of all, I am a mother and I will continue to focus on my children,” she said.
Udoka, the Celtics sophomore head coach with a once stellar record, was banned Thursday from the entire upcoming season for “multiple” unspecified team rule violations.
In a statement on Thursday night, he said: “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for disappointing.
“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.”
Long with the couple’s ten year old son recently
Long, 51, and Udoka, 45, have been together for over ten years. They were seen together at the Barclays Center in New York last August
Disbelief: Nia’s fans and friends tweeted their anger and disbelief on Friday
Udoka is said to have received a ‘significant financial fine’, although the amount has not been disclosed.
The 45-year-old is said to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee.
That woman has not been named.
In the team statement appointing assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim coach, Boston said Udoka’s future would be determined “at a later date.”
Long became a household name with her role in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air as Lisa Wilkes, Will Smith’s girlfriend.
She also starred in Boyz In The Hood, Soul Food and Big Momma’s House.
The beloved actress is also the recipient of three NAACP Image Awards and a Black Reel Award.
When news of the affair spread on social media this week, Long’s fans and famous friends jumped on her defense.
Many rebuked Udoka for his indiscretion, asking how he could have betrayed the actress – a universally popular star and one of the most beautiful actresses of her generation.
“Sending nothing but love to Nia Long.
‘We will not allow a man, who did not recognize the luxury of her presence, to obscure all her beauty and glory.
“Actually, we need a national holiday Nia Long!” tweeted New York Congressman Jamaal Bowmann.
“Nia Long has a 100% Black America approval rating and Ime Udoka is about to get that,” adds film producer Van Lathan.
‘Cheating Nia Long? The end of the day must come because it is NO WAY,” added producer Nina Parker.
American Sweetheart: On his way to fame in roles such as Lisa Wilkes in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Brandi in Boyz In The Hood. She is known for avoiding scandal and only appeared in the press for her acting roles or activism
Udoka joined the Celtics as head coach in the 2021-2022 season. He previously played for the team.
While he was settling down, Nia and their 10-year-old son stayed in New York City, where they live in Brooklyn.
However, sources say she planned to move to Chicago to support her fiancé, and had been house hunting this week.
She became a national treasure in the 1990s with her roles in movies and TV shows that celebrated black culture and featured predominantly black casts.
Long is also known for keeping herself free from scandal — fans noted on Friday that she appeared in the press only for her acting roles or activist causes.
Udoka played in the NBA until his retirement in 2012. Last year he joined the Celtics as head coach