- Ime Udoka is best known as the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
- He last publicly dated actress Nia Long.
- He is not known to have had any other public relationships.
- Ime and Nia’s split was confirmed in Dec. 2022, two months after he was suspended from the Boston Celtics for an alleged affair with a female on the team’s staff.
Ime Udoka, 45, is not only the former coach for the Boston Celtics but also the previous longtime partner of actress Nia Long, 51. The pair started dating in 2010 and even have a child together, but on Dec. 6, 2022, Nia’s rep confirmed to PEOPLE that the two had split. “The situation is unfortunate and painful, but Nia is focusing on her children and rebuilding her life,” a source also told the outlet while the rep said they’re “no longer together but remain fully committed to co-parenting their son [Kez].”
The breakup happened two months after Ime was suspended from the Boston Celtics for having an alleged affair with a female on the team’s staff. On Sept. 23, 2022, the actress broke her silence about Ime’s alleged affair which reportedly led to his suspension from his team. “The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Nia said to PEOPLE. “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.”
Below is everything you need to know about Nia and the former basketball player’s longtime romance.
Nia Long & Ime Udoka’s Timeline
The Love Jones actress and Ime became an official item over a decade ago in 2010. They first met through a mutual friend who discovered the two were in the city of Boston at the same time, according to US Weekly. And apparently, they hit it off right away, because by 2011 Nia had discovered she was pregnant with her and Ime’s first child together. That June, Nia told reporters at the BET Awards about her exciting news. “I was supposed to go to Ghana to do a film and that’s when I found out I was pregnant,” she said at the time. “I had a doctor’s appointment to get the yellow fever shot and they were like, ‘Miss Long, we can’t give you a shot.'” When they told her she was expecting, she said, “I almost fainted. It was the best moment and the sweetest surprise ever.”
Ime and his leading lady were engaged four years later in 2015, despite the fact that she has publicly said she does not want to get married. In Dec. 2021 Nia opened up to Essence about her beliefs on matrimony. “Love is complicated, let’s just start there,” she said. “And then you start a marriage, which 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,” Ime’s fiancée added.
Two years prior to her engagement, she spoke to Rolling Out during a press conference about wanting a long-term partner. “You have to have an open heart to be vulnerable to accept it when it does come. I think the more success you have as a woman, you kinda go, ‘Well, I don’t really need a man, cause look—I have everything I want,’ but the truth is you do need a partner because at some point in your life you’re not going to want to walk alone,” the Friday star said. Despite being engaged for over seven years, Ime and Nia never officially tied the knot.
After Ime was suspended for allegedly having a romance with a female staff member of the Boston Celtics in Sept. 2022, Nia’s rep confirmed the two had split in Dec. 2022.
Her Two Children
As mentioned above, Nia and Ime have one child together, Kez Sunday Udoka, 10. But she also has a 21-year old son, Massai Zhivago Dorsey II, whom she welcomed in 2000 with her then-boyfriend, Massai Z. Dorsey. In 2009, Nia addressed her experience on being a single mother to Spotlight to Nightlight. Even though she told the outlet that her eldest son’s father was “totally involved” she still was in charge of most of the day-to-day. “Honestly, it’s organization and planning…and keeping a clean house! Patience is super important as a single mother. You do have to be a little more patient because all of the responsibility is on you…ask for help!”, she said at the time.
Nia often shares many photos of her two boys on her Instagram. On Sept. 7, 2022, she shared an adorable back-to-school photo of her and Ime’s son, Kez. The beauty captioned the Instagram post, “There he is…my yummy baby boy!” Nia and her eldest son, Massai II are often seen promoting products for Smile Direct Club together on her social media. On Aug. 4, 2022, she shared a sweet photo of them with the caption, “Massai is nearing the end of his @smiledirectclub journey and he has absolutely loved the process! As a mom, my son‘s confidence is very important to me.”
Nia Long’s Ex-Boyfriends
Prior to Ima, the actress was linked to a handful of Hollywood heartthrobs. From 1993 to 1995 Nia and former basketball player Chris Webber, 49, were in a committed relationship together. She then moved on to date Massai from 1999 to 2001. The star was also linked to singer Ricky Fante, Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, rapper 50 Cent, rapper T.I., and more.
She was also linked to Pride actor Kevin Phillips for four months in 2008. Two years later, she got involved with Ime and the rest is history.