Nia Long has broken her silence on the scandal surrounding 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 a consensual 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. The 45-year-old has been suspended from the NBA for the entire 2022-2023 season.
The “Friday” actress has been engaged to Udoka for nearly a decade and shares a 10-year-old son, Kez, as well as Long’s son, Massai, from a previous relationship, with him.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long says in a new 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’s statement comes shortly after Udoka broke his own silence on the situation on Friday.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” he said in a statement shared by ESPN’s “NBA Today” host Malika Andrews. “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 have no further comment.”
The Celtics start their upcoming season on Oct.18 against the Philadelphia 76ers at the TD Garden in Boston, with their first pre-season game kicking off Sept. 30.
Udoka took over as the team’s head coach ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season and coached the Celtics to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, where they lost 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors. At the time, Long — who has been engaged to Udoka for nearly a decade — praised him for making it to the NBA Finals in his first year as the Celtics’ head coach.
On Wednesday, as news broke of the allegations against Udoka, the “Friday” actress shared a cryptic video on Instagram. In the clip, a repost from a healing and wellness page, Long makes reference to embracing positivity, spirituality and finding light after darkness.
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