Soap Opera History

Nia Long Facts: Celebrities Who Started on Soaps

Nia LongNia Long

Nia Long is best known for being on television shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Empire, and Third Watch. She was also on a soap. Along with her soap and television career, Long has also been in several movies.

Long starred in iconic films like Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Soul Food, In Too Deep, The Best Man, Big Momma’s House, and Are We There Yet? From where she was born and raised to being featured in rap songs, here are five fast facts about the actress.

Who Is Nia Long?
Long was born on October 30 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents divorced when she was 2, so she and her mother moved to Iowa City, Iowa. They later moved to Los Angeles when Long was 7. Long attended St. Mary’s Academy and eventually graduated from Westchester High School.

Soap Beginnings
After landing a few roles early on, Long was cast as Kathryn “Kat” Speakes on the now-defunct CBS soap Guiding Light. She was on the show for three years before leaving to work on other projects.

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Took Jada’s Part
Next, she was cast on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as Will Smith’s girlfriend and fiancée, Lisa Wilkes. The role almost went to Smith’s eventual wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, but she didn’t get the part because she was too short. Nevertheless, Long got the role and was on the show for 15 episodes.

Rapper Muse
Long has been mentioned by name in countless rap songs over the years. Her name has been said in Kanye West’s Touch the Sky, J. Cole’s No Role Modelz, Lil Wayne’s Novacane, Meek Mill’s I’m Leanin’, Juicy J’s Bandz Make Her Dance, and a few others.

Getting Personal
Long and her former partner, Massai Dorsey, welcomed a son together named Massai Zhivago Dorsey II on November 26, 2000. The couple was supposed to get married in 2001, but they called it quits. She then started dating Ime Udoka in 2010, and they had a son named Kez on November 7, 2011. The couple got engaged in May 2015.

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