It’s been a tough 24 hours for Nia Long. After the actress learned that her fiancé, Ime Udoka, had been suspended as the Boston Celtics head coach for the 2022-2023 season, she also learned why: Udoka is said to have had an affair with an employee. On Friday, Long was ready to speak.
Long told E! “The outpouring of love and support from my family, friends and community during this difficult time means a lot to me.” News in a statement. “I ask that my privacy be respected while addressing recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
“I want to apologize to our players, the fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Odoka told ESPN reporter Malika Andrews in a statement. “I am sorry to put the team in such a difficult position, and I accept the team’s decision.”
Odoka, who led the Celtics to the NBA Finals during his first season as head coach, definitely has his supporters. But Long had amassed a legion of loyal fans for generations. From classic comedies like “Friday” to adorable philanthropy, she’s widely loved — including on Twitter.
“Send anything but love to Nia Long,” Representative Jamal Bouman (DN.Y.) Tweet Friday. “We do not allow a man who did not realize the luxury in which her existence was, to dim her beauty and glory. Indeed, we need Nia Long’s national holiday!”
The outpouring of Bowman’s tweet drew some ridicule, but the lawmaker wasn’t alone in expressing his support for the cherished actor: