Nia Long is breaking her silence following bombshell news about her fiancé Ime Udoka.
The actress issued a statement exclusively to PEOPLE after Udoka, was suspended from his role as head coach of the Boston Celtics following an alleged affair with a female staff member.
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” Long 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.”
Long and Udoka have been engaged since 2015. They welcomed a son together — Kez Sunday Udoka — in 2011. Long has another son, 21-year-old Massai Dorsey II, from a previous relationship with actor Massai Dorsey.
On Thursday, the Boston Celtics issued a statement on Udoka’s immediate suspension from the team. At the time, they said Udoka had violated “team policies,” and noted his future with the team will be evaluated.
Shortly before the Celtics statement went live, ESPN reported that Udoka had a “role in an intimate relationship with a female member of the franchise’s staff.”
Udoka later gave a statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews on the alleged relationship. “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.”
His message concluded, “Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Udoka has been head coach of the team since 2021.