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Nia Long Says Her Split from Ime Udoka Was a 'Wake-Up Call'

"I think my older son saw me trying to keep the family together," Long said, "but I had to come to a place where loving myself was bigger and more important than saving anybody"

Frazer Harrison/Getty Nia Long
Frazer Harrison/Getty Nia Long

Nia Long is sharing how her broken engagement to Ime Udoka was cathartic and self-affirming.

While speaking with Jeezy to promote his new album I Might Forgive… but I Don’t Forget, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum opened up about her split from her ex-fiancé.

"I had a really public breakup recently," Long, 53, said in a video posted to Jeezy's YouTube. "It was a wakeup call for me in the sense of like, 'OK, you're going to do this on your own and you're going to be fine and you're not going to worry about what anyone thinks and has to say.'"

“The relationship was rocky for a very long time,” she confessed, adding. “I don't believe another person can break anyone up.”

Related: Nia Long Is Considering Who in Her Life 'Deserves Absolutely Nothing' amid Ime Udoka Cheating Scandal

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic Nia Long and Ime Udoka
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic Nia Long and Ime Udoka

Her breakup with the former Boston Celtics head coach not only affected Long, but also her son Massai, 22, from a previous marriage. 

“I think my older son saw me trying to keep the family together. But I had to come to a place where loving myself was bigger and more important than saving anybody,” she explained.

Related: Nia Long Speaks Out amid Fiancé Ime Udoka's Alleged Affair, Suspension from Celtics

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP Nia Long with her sons Kez and Massai
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP Nia Long with her sons Kez and Massai

In December 2022, Long and Udoka ended their 13-year relationship after news broke of the basketball pro’s alleged affair with a female subordinate within the team's organization. The team suspended Udoko for the 2022–2023 season shortly after.

"The situation is unfortunate and painful, but Nia is focusing on her children and rebuilding her life," a source told PEOPLE at the time. 

Udoka later issued a statement to ESPN's Malika Andrews: "I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. 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."

Related: Nia Long Slams Boston Celtics, Says 'No One' Has Called to 'See If I'm OK' After Ime Udoka Scandal

Kevin Winter/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty
Kevin Winter/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty

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Long and Udoka got engaged in 2015 and share one child together, 12-year-old son Kez. The exes first met in February 2010 when Udoka was a player for the Sacramento Kings. According to the Boston Globe, Long was in Boston filming a pilot for NBC and Udoka was playing against the Celtics when a mutual friend set them up.

"I think I'm exactly where I need to be,” Long told Jeezy, 46, as she grew emotional. “Which is, some days, I'm totally good and then, other days, I'm like, 'Oh God, this feels like so much work.' And then, other days, it feels like women shouldn’t have to be this strong. I don't want to be this strong sometimes." 

Wiping away her tears, she added, "No, I'm good. I mean, listen, it is what it is."

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Read the original article on People.