The 24 hours have been tough for Nia Long. After the actor learned that his fiancée, Ime Udoka, was being suspended as head coach of the Boston Celtics for the 2022-2023 season, he also learned why: Udoka reportedly had an affair with an employee. On Friday, Long was ready to speak.
“The shower of love and support from my family, friends and community means a lot to me during this difficult time,” Long told E! News. News in a statement. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to pay attention to my children.”
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down.” Udoka told ESPN reporter Malika Andrews in a statement, “I’m sorry to put the team in this difficult position, and I accept the team’s decision.”
Udoka, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals during his first season as head coach, certainly has his supporters. But Long has accumulated a mass of loyal fans over generations. From classic comedies like “Friday” to commendable charity work, he’s widely beloved — including on Twitter.
“Sending nothing but love to Nia Long,” Representative Jamal Bowman (D.N.Y.) tweeted on Friday. “We are not going to let a man who does not recognize the luxury of his appearance, belittled in all his beauty and majesty. Indeed, we need a Nia Long national holiday!”
The impact of Boman’s tweet sparked some mockery, but the legislator was not the only one to express support for the actor: