Walking away. Nia Long and Ime Udoka have split following his alleged cheating scandal.
The Best Man star, 51, and the Boston Celtics head coach, 45, are “no longer together but remain fully committed to co-parenting their son [Kez],” a rep for the former couple told People on Tuesday, December 6.
The couple’s breakup comes three months after news broke in September that Udoka allegedly cheated on Long with a fellow NBA staffer. After the allegations came to light, the Celtics suspended him for the 2022-23 season, as the purported affair violated “team policies.”
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies,” the Celtics shared in a September 22 press release. “A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately.”
Per The Athletic, Udoka had an “intimate and consensual relationship with a female member” of the Celtics staff. Though he didn’t admit to the reported infidelity, the former Brooklyn Nets coach apologized to “our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family” in response to his suspension. “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.”
Celtics players were stunned by the decision to suspend their head coach, Marcus Smart told reporters on September 26.
“It’s been hell for us,” the basketball star said at the time. “Just caught by surprise. Nobody really knows anything. We’ve been in the wind like everyone else. So these last couple days have been confusing.”
Long, for her part, got candid about her devastation in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Thursday, December 1. “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 outlet.
She also released a statement of her own in the wake of the allegations against her then-fiancé.
“The outpouring love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum told Us Weekly on September 23. “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.”
Udoka and Long — who share 10-year-old son Kez, while the Big Momma’s House star also shares 21-year-old son Massai with ex Massai Z. Dorsey — began dating in 2010. Five years later, the Oregon native popped the question, though the two were never in a rush to walk down the aisle.
“I understand the religious aspect of marriage. That is beautiful and it’s fantastical and it’s dreamy and it’s every girl’s fantasy to have that moment. But I don’t know that I need that,” Long revealed on Essence’s “Yes, Girl!” podcast in 2020, noting that “love is complicated.”