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Nia Long. Source: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

Right after the news broke that Ime Udoka cheated on Nia Long with a Celtics staffer, she didn’t have much time to be out of the spotlight. With the premiere of The Best Man: The Final Chapters approaching, the Brooklyn rep had to straighten up and smile for the camera regardless of what was happening in her personal life.

In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment’s Role Recall, Long discussed how a young Will Smith represented perfection and achievement. She recalled there hardly being any room for errors when the actors were growing up.

He’s been in the public eye since his teenage years and his image was tainted after slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards, a polarizing moment the media couldn’t ignore. Long said Smith is “now able to be human” and make mistakes.

“He’s a joyous person. But I think we all have our moments in life where we have to reconcile things that maybe we suppress. And I think it’s hard growing up in this business and being front and center every day, all day,” she said.

While he dealt with the guilt in private, he also had to deal with it in public. Long had to face the masses after her own heartbreaking moments as well.

“That it’s, it’s the thing that allows me to stay connected to the people and to be human and not try to be this perfect being,” she added. “And you know, I’ve had some pretty devastating moments in my life over the last couple of months and I’ve had to just say, ‘It’s all right. You’ll pick yourself back up…’ Oh my God, I’m about to cry. You pick yourself back up and you keep it moving.”

Long’s rep confirmed in December 2022 that she and Udoka were separated. The couple called it quits after 13 years.

Nia Long wasn’t happy about her husband’s actions or how the Boston Celtics handled the scandal. She made it known that having her private life blow up was devastating.

“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” Long told The Hollywood Reporter.

It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”

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