Jeezy and Nia Long have a lot of relationship baggage to unpack.
And much like their respective public splits in the past year or so, the rapper and the actor decided to do so in the plain view of the internet. The pair sat down for an hourlong interview, released on Jeezy’s YouTube on Wednesday, to discuss a long list of topics including grief, mental health, expectations in the entertainment industry, parenthood and Black culture.
But what stood out to most fans and observers were their comments about their crumbled relationships.
Last year, Long’s relationship with Ime Udoka, 46, ended in late 2022 after the coach and former NBA player was caught having an affair with a co-worker in the Boston Celtics organization. Udoka was head coach of the Celtics at the time. Long, 53, has since filed for full custody of their 12-year-old son, Kez Sunday Long Udoka. She and Udoka had dated for nearly 13 years and got engaged in 2015.
In September, Jeezy, 46, filed for divorce from TV personality Jeannie Mai, 44, after two years of marriage. Mai took a social media break last month “to heal,” while Jeezy said the split “was not made impulsively and comes with a heavy heart.”
Unlike Long’s breakup from Udoka, the reason for Jeezy’s separation wasn’t made public. And fans who tuned in to his sit-down with Long and hoped for more clarity walked away with no new answers.
“Integrity intact, I could never say anything that would not honor somebody, but I can tell you, this has not been an easy journey — I can tell you that I’m sad, and I can tell you that I’m disappointed, I can tell you that I’m uneasy,” Jeezy told Long, after she asked the “Put On” rapper what had prompted him to file for divorce. “But again, God has put me in a different path, and that path is going to entail for me to take care of myself, and to love myself myself, and to be in the best situation that I can to thrive.”
Jeezy added that he does not like to fail at things, but acknowledged, “I can only be responsible for myself — I can only do what I could do, and I can’t expect someone else to do what I’m doing.”
Long then asked if he and Mai had gone to therapy together before deciding to end their marriage. “Yeah,” he replied, somberly nodding his head. Long praised his effort and said, “Well then, s—, you tried.”
The pair then pivoted to Long’s drama with Udoka. The “You People” actor said she eventually realized “that anything that happened in the last year-and-a-half of my life, that shouldn’t have had nothing to do with me.”
“I was not embarrassed,” she said.
Udoka’s infidelity had been kept under wraps for months, but the Celtics organization announced what it described as an “improper relationship” in September 2022, after an internal investigation. Long has criticized the team’s decision to go public with her ex’s infidelity, preferring to maintain privacy. She told the Hollywood Reporter in December that the organization never bothered to call her to see if she or her children were doing OK.
But during her talk with Jeezy, she said she was floored by the amount of support she received from the Black community.
“The way that Black people stood up for me, and the way that Black women were like, ‘Oh, no, you don’t do that to her,’ I was shocked,” Long said. “Because I didn’t realize that what I had done, or what I’ve done in my career, had so much impact.”
Long first shot to fame in 1991 for her performance in the Oscar-nominated film “Boyz N the Hood.” She was also known for playing Lisa Wilkes, the romantic counterpart to Will Smith’s character, on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Long also appeared in the movies “Friday,” “Soul Food,” “The Best Man” and “Big Momma’s House.” More recently, she starred in Kenya Barris’ romantic comedy “You People.”
Jeezy was incredulous at Long’s shock, calling her “America’s sweetheart.”
“You don’t know that?” he said, laughing. Long responded, “I don’t regard my myself in that way because it’s always really about to work.” The Grammy-nominated rapper said he wanted to talk to Long in hopes of sparking more safe, vulnerable conversations between Black men and women. Since the August release of his memoir, “Adversity for Sale: Ya Gotta Believe,” Jeezy has been open about dealing with depression and anxiety.
Long wrapped things up by giving Jeezy advice on how to forgive someone, describing her process of mediating and sending “love vibrations” to the people they are in conflict with.
“By me releasing love towards them, I no longer have to be connected to the negative feeling of being hurt and disappointed,” Long said.
Jeezy said he wouldn’t send “love vibrations,” drawing laughter from Long, but said he would write down a list of people he hopes to make amends with and added, “I’m gonna forgive, but I’m not going to forget — that’s halfway, right?”