Why Nia Long Says Breakup From Ime Udoka Was a "Wakeup Call" for Her After Cheating Scandal

A tearful Nia Long gave an update on her life following her 2022 split from Ime Udoka, who was suspended as head coach of the Boston Celtics for an alleged relationship with a team staff member.

By Corinne Heller Nov 08, 2023 4:57 PMTags
Watch: Nia Long Calls Ime Udoka's Cheating Scandal "Devastating" for Their Son

Nia Long is reflecting on her split from ex-fiancé Ime Udoka.

One year after the Boyz n the Hood actress broke up with the basketball coach amid his cheating scandal, she shared what she learned from experiencing heartbreak in the spotlight.

"I had a really public breakup recently," Long, 53, told rapper Jeezy in an interview posted Nov. 7, "It was a wakeup call for me in the sense of like, 'OK, you're going to do this on your own and you're going to be fine and you're not going to worry about what anyone thinks and has to say.'"

In September 2022, the Boston Celtics suspended Udoka, 46, for the 2022-23 season for what they called unspecified "violations of team policies" amid reports that he had had a relationship with a female employee. Udoka, who now coaches the Houston Rockets, later said in a statement to ESPN, "I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down."

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And Long—who shares 12-year-old son Kez with Udoka—admitted their "relationship was rocky for a very long time."

As she told Jeezy, who recently went through his own split from wife Jeanne Mai,  "I don't believe another person can break anyone up. I don't buy that."

And she also recalled how the scandal impacted her son Massai, 22, from a previously relationship.


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"My older son saw me trying to keep the family together," she explained, "but I had to come to a place where loving myself was bigger and more important than saving anybody."

Long got tearful as she spoke about what her life is like post-breakup. "I think I'm exactly where I need to be, which is, some days, I'm totally good and then, other days, I'm like, 'Oh God, this feels like so much work.' And then, other days, it feels like women should've have to be this strong. I don't want to be this strong sometimes," she said, adding as she wiped away tears, "OK, you made me cry."

She continued, "No, I'm good. I mean, listen, it is what it is."

Long and Udoka got engaged in 2015 after five years of dating. Following their split and reports of his cheating scandal, the actress took Kez out of school and spoke out about how the news impacted him.

"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 told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview last December. "It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it's not easy for him."

This past August, Long filed for full custody of Kez, alleging in court documents obtained by E! News that Udoka "failed to support" their son. She petitioned for her ex to receive "reasonable visitation" that is "consistent with the child's best interest."

E! News has reached out to Long and Udoka's reps for comment and has not heard back.

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