Nia Long was blindsided by the affair her fiancé Ime Udoka had with a Celtics employee.
That’s according to TMZ, which reports that Udoka “kept her in the dark about his affair, even though the team busted him months ago.” The Celtics began investigating the coach’s affair in July, but he apparently did not reveal it to his longterm significant other until the last several days, when Udoka “knew it was about to go public.”
The report added that the couple was house hunting in Boston recently after Long moved to the city.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long told TMZ in a statement, through her publicist. “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.”
According to People, Udoka and Long began dating in 2010, after being introduced by mutual friends. The couple got engaged in 2015. They have a 10-year-old son.
The 51-year-old actress has had recurring roles on “NCIS” and “Empire,” and starred in numerous movies including “Friday” and “Big Momma’s House.”
The 45-year-old Udoka was suspended for at least the full 2022-23 NBA season by the Celtics, whom he led to the NBA Finals in his first season as head coach. In addition to the affair, he was also accused of making “unwanted comments” towards the woman, according to a report from Shams Charania at The Athletic.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement. “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.”
Udoka’s future for the team is murky beyond this season. Team owner Wyc Grousbeck and president Brad Stevens held a press conference on Friday, where they discussed the severity of the coach’s actions and made no promises that Udoka would return as coach after his suspension was up.
“The investigation had some twists and turns, and it took some time to develop all the facts,” Grousbeck told reporters, one day after the suspension was announced. “Everything we know was wrapped up two days ago.”
Grousbeack called the suspension “well-warranted” and noted multiple violations by Udoka.
This felt right, but there’s no clear guidelines for any of this,” Grousbeck said. “I took a lot of advice from partners like Brad and others. We collectively came to this and got there, but it was not clear what to do. But it was clear that something substantial needed to be done, in my view, and it was.”