When it was revealed that Ime Udoka cheated on Nia Long, he came as a shock. The Boston Celtics coach was said to have carried on an affair with a team staffer, and as the scandal unraveled, everyone seemed to hound Long for a statement. The public wanted to know how she was coping with the controversy, if she would stay with her partner of 13 years, and what information she had about the other woman. The actress kept her cards close to her chest, but now, she is getting candid with The Cut about her journey.
“For the last 22 years, I’ve been pouring out. But at a certain point, you’re like, ‘Woo, I’m looking a little tired,'" said Long. "Even if I can’t see it, I can feel it. So I try to pour into myself and let everyone know this is a ‘do not disturb’ period.” In the end, Long decided to end her longstanding romance with Udoka and focus on raising her children. The mother of two shares a son with Udoka, an 11-year-old who has had to face his father's indiscretions with the rest of the world.
Read More: Nia Long Has “No Comment” On Fiancé’s Affair
“My only focus right now is my youngest son ’cause he’s having a really tough time," Long stated. "I’m sure I have some things that I’m suppressing, but I have to do that to take care of him first. That’s the giving. It’s natural. I’m sure I’ll have to circle back with myself several times to reconcile things. But the one thing I’m trying not to harbor is anger.” In that reflection on her relationship, Long admitted she has tried to piece together what went so wrong after 13 years.
“The Celtics made a choice to make my family business public, and I don’t understand why," the You People star also said. "It could’ve all been handled internally. I do understand why, but I can’t talk about it. Maybe one day I will. You know, fear drives stupidity, and I’ll leave that right there. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was.”
Immediately following the reveal, Long was bombarded with supportive messages from industry peers and fans alike. It was something she says helped her through dark days. “It saved my mental well-being because I felt uplifted by the community in a way that felt like my family was checking in and making sure I was okay. And that, I appreciated. I have that for people like Beyoncé. I look at her, and I’m so proud of her because I know how difficult it is to sustain and manage everything she has in her life. My life is probably a smaller version of that."
“I don’t cry as much as I used to,” Long said of mourning her breakup. “I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but I do check in with myself and let people know how I feel, for better or worse. ’Cause I’m not holding on to nonsense, and I’m also not passive-aggressive. I say it and sometimes it’s received, sometimes it’s not, but in any case, it’s my truth.”
"Black women that are dynamic and famous and there to inspire are also required to be exceptional, and sometimes I just get tired of being strong. That’s my biggest thing: I don’t want to have to be strong. I would like to just have an experience that’s pleasant. But the difference comes down to race. Race matters and makes a difference in your experiences and the way people treat you, respect you, and regard you — and the way people protect you. Malcolm X said the least protected person in America is the Black woman. That quote resonates big time in my life right now.”