A unique love story. Nia Long has been vocal about not wanting to get married despite her engagement to fiancé Ime Udoka.
The couple hit it off in 2010 after a mutual friend learned they were both in the Boston area at the same time. One year later, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum announced she was pregnant at 40.
“I was supposed to go to Ghana to do a film and that’s when I found out I was pregnant,” she told reporters at the BET awards in June 2021. “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 the actress learned she was expecting, she couldn’t contain her excitement. “I almost fainted. It was the best moment and the sweetest surprise ever,” she gushed.
Long became a mother for the first time in 2000 when she welcomed son Massai with ex Massai Z. Dorsey. Her son with Udoka, Kez Sunday, arrived in November 2011, and Udoka popped the question four years later.
Before getting engaged, Long had been candid about not needing to get married to feel fulfilled in her personal life. “I don’t feel less loved or less loving because I’m not married,” she told Essence in August 2012. “I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I’ve also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake.”
After the retired athlete got down on one knee, Long’s mindset about marriage didn’t seem to change. “We are taking our time,” she told TMZ sports in 2015 when asked whether the twosome had set a wedding date.
While they haven’t yet walked down the aisle, Udoka and the Boyz n the Hood star have been each other’s biggest supporters. When the Oregon native was named head coach of the Boston Celtics in 2021, Long said she would “never forget” the special moment. “I was anxious. He’s always calm, like, totally calm,” she recalled in an October 2021 interview. “[He] just smiled and shook his head in the yes position. And I ran down the hall and jumped on him. And I think I almost, probably, broke his back.”
The NAACP Image Award winner continued to cheer on her man throughout the NBA season, but things took a turn for the couple in September 2022 when Udoka was reportedly accused of “improper” conduct. The former New Jersey Nets player allegedly had an “intimate and consensual relationship with a female member,” per The Athletic, and faced a possible suspension from the league for one year. Neither Udoka nor Long immediately commented on the allegations.
Scroll down to look back at the pair’s relationship timeline:
Originally published at www.usmagazine.com