Nia Long‘s personal life over the past few months has now affected her 36-year career. The actress’ fiancé, and Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, was exposed for having a secret affair with the team’s service manager, Kathleen Nimmo Lynch in September. As previously reported, Lynch is a 34-year-old married white woman, mother of three and devout Mormon. She also allegedly organized all of Udoka’s travel arrangements including trips when Long travel on the road and to Boston for games.
Long and Udoka were dating in 2009 and engaged by 2015. For the affair, the disgraced coach received a year-long suspension for this NBA season.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Long explained how the emotional toll of this scandal impacted her career. As a result, she recently walked off the set of a film for the first time.
“It broke my heart to have to do it because that’s not who I am, but I knew that I needed to do it because it didn’t feel good in my belly,” the 52-year-old expressed.
The decision to do was completely out of Long’s character. But she was supported by her co-star who walked off set with her.
“It felt like not only was I supported by my fellow cast mate who was Black and who had a clear understanding of what I felt strongly about,” added Long, who described herself as “super Black.” “But there was also this sense that the business I have to deal with at home is more important to me than teaching a white director-producer how to tell a Black story.”
The scandal also affected the couple’s son 11-year-old son, Kez. She said she immediately took her son out of school after his father’s suspension hit the news.
“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,” said the “Best Man” star. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him.”
She continued, “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 “Love Jones” actress said her “heart had jumped out” of her body when Udoka’s infidelity went public. Afterward, she experienced an overwhelming amount of support from thousands on social media. A quick glance at the comments section on her latest Instagram posts will show loving messages from fans saying, “Keep going, sista” or “Keep holding your head high my black Queen.”
“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,” she shared.
“The Fatal Affair” star has also received encouragement from her closest girlfriends to keep pushing forward. She intends to implement more control and embrace the woman she says she’s becoming.
“I have to commit myself to that because I think sometimes when so much is happening, it takes your breath away and then it’s like you’re holding you’re breath, and you feel this angst and this panic of constantly being in fight-or-flight survival mode,” she stated. “I think mothers, Black women, we understand that more than anyone.”
Long’s first step at embracing this change includes moving back to Los Angeles from Boston, where she shares a new home with Kez and her oldest son, 22-year-old Massai.
“2023 is like the year of new beginnings for me,” she says. “I couldn’t be more excited.”