Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/ Contributor via Getty Images
  /  01.22.2023

For vastly different reasons, last year came to a rocky end for Nia Long and Will Smith. The Hollywood juggernaut obviously faced an onslaught of scrutiny after he slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. And Long was blindsided by an alleged cheating scandal involving her longtime partner, NBA head coach Ime Udoka.

While the two aforementioned men were put through the metaphorical ringer by the media and outraged fans, Long says she can still sympathize with Smith. Both have put on their best faces even during one of the most publicly difficult periods of their lives. “He’s carried a burden for many years to try to represent what perfection looks like or [what] achievement looks like,” said Long of her former “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” co-star’s joyous persona in a Jan. 19 interview for Yahoo Entertainment. She noted as they were blossoming actors there was no room for them to be human.

The “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” actress added, “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.”

As she experienced a flood of emotions, Long referenced the turmoil of her and Udoka’s breakup. The former couple was engaged for seven years and share a son, 11-year-old Kez. “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,” she said.

Long is currently promoting two films, Missing and You People. Both movies hit theaters on Friday (Jan. 20). The latter will also be available on streaming giant Netflix starting Jan. 27.

Check out Long’s statements below.

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