Veteran actress Nia Long ripped the Boston Celtics for how the organization handled the fallout from suspending her long-time romantic partner, head coach Ime Udoka, for the 2022-2023 season. In a new interview with Hollywood Reporter, Long says the Celtics never checked on herself or the couple’s 11-year-old son as Udoka’s affair with a team employee played out publicly for the world to see.
Just before the season started, news slowly trickled out that the Celtics were eyeing a significant suspension to Udoka. Eventually, it was reported that Udoka had an affair inside the organization as well as other violations of team policies. Udoka was suspended for the season, and the Celtics named 34-year-old assistant Joe Mazzulla as head coach.
Long criticized the Celtics for a lack of care given to herself and her son as the story blew up in national prominence. From the Hollywood Reporter:
“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,” says Long, who took her son out of school when the news broke. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
The slow-drip nature of the reporting led to intense media scrutiny that overwhelmed Long.
“I literally felt like my heart had jumped out of my body,” she recalls of the media blitz. “And then what I found was this tribe of women and men who were standing up for me in a way that felt like I was in this bubble of protection, and that was very comforting.”
Long recently walked off a movie that had already began production because she needed to tend to her son and take care of family business.
“I went home to be with my son, and that was what was most important to me, because he was not having an easy time,” says Long, who would not discuss the status of her relationship with Udoka, nor comment on the conduct that prompted his disciplining.
Long said in the interview that she’s in the process of moving back to Los Angeles from Boston. Long and Udoka have an 11-year-old son together.
Udoka appeared to be on the precipice of being hired by the Brooklyn Nets, but the league pressured the Nets into going in another direction. It remains to be seen whether Udoka will ever coach the Celtics again. Boston currently owns the best record in the NBA through the start of this season under Mazzulla.