The 52-year-old actress opened up about the fallout in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. Although she denied to comment on Udoka or conduct that led to his suspension, Long said her family was blindsided by 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," Long said. "It was devastating, and it still is."
The Boston Celtics announced in September that Udoka was suspended for the entire 2022-23 season for "violations of team policies." Boston didn't detail the violations, but a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Udoka had an inappropriate relationship with a female Celtics staffer. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the sensitive nature of the topic.
BOSTON CELTICS: Four NBA teams launched season in chaos. Have they recovered?
Long and Udoka, who got engaged in 2015 after six years of dating, share a 11-year-old son named Kez. Long said she immediately picked up her son up from school following the Celtics' press conference and the ensuing media frenzy.
"I literally felt like my heart had jumped out of my body," Long recalled. "I went home to be with my son, and that was what was most important to me, because he was not having an easy time."
The "Best Man" star alleged that the Celtics organization has had no contact with her since: "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."
Although she didn't receive any support from the Celtics, Long said she received an overwhelming amount of comfort from others.
"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 said.
Long said she's in the process of moving from Boston to Los Angeles with Kez and her 22-year-old son Massai, who she has from a previous relationship.
“2023 is like the year of new beginnings for me,” she said. “I couldn’t be more excited.”
Udoka has stayed out of the public eye since the scandal. There was speculation that the Brooklyn Nets were zeroing in on hire Udoka as their next head coach, but the New York franchise ended up naming Jacque Vaughn as interim head coach.
Joe Mazzulla was named the head coach of the Boston Celtics (18-4), who currently have the best record in the league after reaching the 2022 NBA Finals last season.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nia Long on Ime Udoka: Celtics made 'a very private situation public'