“I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events,” the actress said in a statement.
Nia Long is speaking out amid reports that her fiancé, Ime Udoka, had an alleged affair with a Boston Celtics female staff member.
On Thursday, Udoka, 45, was suspended as head coach of the team for “violations of team policies.” In a statement to PEOPLE, Long, 51, thanked family, friends and fans for their support and noted that she is prioritizing her children during this difficult time.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long said. “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.”
Long and Udoka have been engaged since 2015 and they have a 10-year-old son named Kez Sunday Udoka. The veteran actress also shares her 21-year-old son Massai Dorsey II with actor Massai Dorsey.
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes affect immediately,” the team said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.
In a statement to ESPN, Udoka expressed his apologies while accepting the team’s decision. “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” he 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.”
Udoka was a professional basketball player for 12 years before he retired in 2012. He spent seven years as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, then went to the Philadelphia 76ers for a season before landing with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020. He joined the Celtics last summer.
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