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Nia Long says son was her main concern after Ime Udoka scandal

By Tonya Pendleton
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Nia Long stars in "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" on Peacock. Photo courtesy of Peacock
Nia Long stars in "The Best Man: The Final Chapters" on Peacock. Photo courtesy of Peacock

Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Nia Long is one of the stars of The Best Man: Final Chapters coming to Peacock on Dec. 22. It's the final iteration of a series that began with The Best Man movie directed by Malcolm D. Lee in 1999 and continued through its sequel The Best Man Holiday in 2013 and now completes the cycle as an eight-episode TV series.

All the original cast members have returned to the production, anchored by Taye Diggs' role as Harper Stewart, the writer whose novel about his college friends sparks tension among them. Long plays Jordan Armstrong in the series.

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In the trailer, it appears that the characters played by Diggs, Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Melissa de Sousa, Regina Hall, Howard Perrineau, and Sanaa Lathan, whom viewers have grown to love over the years are being challenged by the kinds of problems that happen over time -- from health and relationship issues to changing friendships.

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Per the official description, "The series will catch up with Harper, Robyn (Lathan), Jordan (Long), Quentin (Terrence Howard), Shelby (De Sousa), Candace (Hall), and Murch (Perrineau) as relationships evolve and past grievances resurface in the unpredictable stages of midlife crisis meets midlife renaissance."

Long has embraced the role, but is also aware that it's time to move on.

"I guess all good things must come to an end, but I also feel like this isn't just about these characters," Long told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was a decade of culture that we contributed to and that we inspired."

Offscreen, Long has contended with a scandal not of her own making. Her longtime partner, former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was suspended by the team just before this season after an "inappropriate relationship with a female staffer." Long, who recently moved back to Los Angeles from Boston, says that her main concern was their 11-year-old son, Kez. She took him out of school when the scandal broke.

"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 said. "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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However, Long, 51, who is also the mother of 21-year-old Massai from a previous relationship, was gratified by the public support she received from fans online, thanking them in a statement released to Boston.com.

"The outpouring [of] love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me," Long said in the statement. "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's next film Searching, with Euphoria star Storm Reid, is moving up to January, Sony Pictures recently announced. It was originally scheduled to come out in February. It's the stand-alone "sequel" to 2018's Searching starring John Cho, which became a box-office hit.

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