AceShowbiz - Nia Long has broken her silence on Ime Udoka's cheating allegations. After her fiance was suspended from the Boston Celtics due to his alleged affair, the "NCIS: Los Angeles" alum issued a statement.
"The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me," the 51-year-old said through her spokeswoman. "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."
Nia's statement arrived after the Boston Celtics announced that Ime is suspended for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for violations of the team's code of conduct. The decision was made after the second-year head coach engaged in an improper relationship with a female staff member.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will serve as the team's interim head coach during Ime's absence. The Celtics said a decision about Ime's long-term future with the team beyond the 2022-23 season "will be made at a later date."
Ime himself has expressed his remorse. "I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down," the 45-year-old said. "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."
Nia and Ime went public with their relationship back in 2010. They welcomed a son several months later. The Ellie Warren of "Fatal Affair" also has another son, whom she welcomed in 2000 with her previous partner.
Nia and Ime got engaged in 2015. On the reason why they haven't tied the knot, the actress said during a 2020 appearance on Essence's "Yes, Girl!" podcast, "I've never been married... And there's a reason for that because I don't know that I need to say 'I do' to prove to you that I love you. But also, what does marriage really [mean]... that you own me now and I own you? I don't get that part."
"I understand the religious aspect of marriage," she continued. "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 to feel like I'm in a partnership that's working."