Many of the industry’s elite who counted Will Smith a friend abandoned him after the Oscars incident, but not Nia Long. Smith has returned to work in full force since the release of Emancipation, but regaining respect from his colleagues will be difficult.
The iconic incident when he slapped Chris Rock on the Oscars stage ruined Smith’s reputation, but those who know him well, such as Long, applaud his courage in recovering.
“I will always love him. He’s had an incredible career, and he’s carried a burden for many years to try — to represent what perfection looks like,” Long told Yahoo‘s Kevin Polowy. “Or what achievement looks like.”
The actress goes way back with the Fresh Prince star, as she portrayed his girlfriend on the hit 1990s sitcom.
“I don’t think that — at least when we were growing up — there was room to be human,” Long also said. “I think he’s now able to be human.”
She’s grateful that she’s amassed the success she has while still being able to lead a somewhat regular life. According to Long, she gets recognized in the street, but no one is chasing her down.
“We all have our moments in life where we need to reconcile things that we suppress,” she said. “And I think — it’s hard growing up in this business and being front and center every day, all day.”
Elsewhere, she discussed the rough few months she’s faced. While she didn’t name her ex Ime Udoka’s cheating scandal, viewers read between the lines. The pair split after 13 years together when news of his infidelities stormed the headlines.
“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 alright. You’ll pick yourself back up’ — oh, my God I’m about to cry,” Long said. “You pick yourself back up, and you keep it moving.”
Check out clips from her interview below.
Nia Long says she passed up for Charlie's Angels "because they said I looked too sophisticated and too old next to Drew Barrymore." pic.twitter.com/k68dDv3Sxw
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) January 20, 2023