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Fans discover new Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is engaged to actress Nia Long

Actress Nia Long and Ime Udoka attended BET's 2017 American Black Film Festival Honors Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif.Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/file

The news that Ime Udoka will soon take over as head coach of the Boston Celtics had basketball fans poring over his biography — and discovering he boasts an A-list Hollywood connection: He’s engaged to actress Nia Long.

Long, 50, famous for her roles in “Boyz n the Hood,” “Soul Food,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and Udoka, 43, went public with their romance in 2010, and welcomed a son, Kez, in 2011. They became engaged in 2015, but apparently fans shouldn’t expect to hear wedding bells at TD Garden anytime soon.

“Love is complicated, let’s just start there,” Long told Essence in 2020. “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.”

Udoka, a longtime assistant coach in the NBA and former player, is expected to be introduced as Celtics coach at a news conference on Monday, June 28.


Long, a three-time NAACP Image Award recipient and a winner of a Black Reel Award, played Will Smith’s girlfriend and fiancee in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” in the fifth season of the hit ’90s sitcom. On the big screen, she got her big break in 1991′s “Boyz n the Hood” where she played Brandi, girlfriend of Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Long earned her first producing credit in July 2020 for the Netflix movie “Fatal Affair,” in which she starred opposite Omar Epps.

Upon learning that Udoka was good at courting in more ways that one, fans took to Twitter to express their amazement about his famous fiancee — and their excitement about Long potentially sitting in the stands.


Dana Gerber can be reached at dana.gerber@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @danagerber6.