Before becoming a pop culture staple, Long got her start on the small screen in the late ’80s, with small roles on 227 and the Disney Channel Original Movie The B.R.A.T. Patrol. The native New Yorker — whose older half-sister is comedian Sommore — quickly made waves with her breakout role as Kathryn Speakes on Guiding Light from 1991 to 1993.
The same year the actress scored her part on the successful soap opera, she landed a role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — though it was a different Fresh Prince character than she’d soon become known for. In 1991, Long portrayed Claudia Prescott, one of Will Smith‘s one-off dates, before coming back two years later to portray the “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” rapper’s longtime love, Lisa, whom Long portrayed until 1995.
The late ’90s only saw the actress’ star rise even higher. She danced in Dr. Dre‘s “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” music video in 1995, had a two-episode arc on Moesha, landed a role in the 1997 hit Soul Food and starred in 1999’s The Best Man as Jordan Armstrong, a character she’d reprise in all four installments of the film franchise. Long only continued to hone her movie career throughout the 2000s, starring in classic comedy franchises like Big Momma’s House and Are We There Yet?.
The Third Watch alum, who went on to star in multiple music videos through the decades — including Kanye West‘s “Touch the Sky” and Ashanti‘s “Baby” — also grew her presence on the small screen, with memorable roles on Judging Amy, House of Lies, Uncle Buck, Empire and many more.
After starring together in Third Watch, Long and Massai Zhivago Dorsey welcomed a son, Massai, in 2000. After splitting from the actor, the Cleveland Show alum went on to date Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who proposed to her in 2005. The couple, who share son Kez (born in 2011), were on the rocks in September 2022, after the sports pro was suspended from the Celtics amid allegations he had an affair with a fellow staff member of the NBA. A rep for the former pair officially announced their split three months later.