Nia Long: “I Have Never Seen A Marriage Work”

Soul Food star Nia Long, 41, graces the August cover of Essence with her two sons Massai, 10, and Kez Sunday, 8 months. In the interview, the mom-of-two opens up about having a baby in her forties and admits she has “never seen a marriage work.”

On marrying Kez’s father Ime Udoka: “Marriage is not a priority for me…I have never seen a marriage work. I’m not saying I’ll never do it; It’s just not where we are as a family. I’ll be at home with my man, having a perfectly loving time, and I’ll see all these comments on some site about how wrong I am for not being married. I don’t feel less loved or less loving because I’m not married.”

On co-parenting with Massai’s father: “Massai’s dad and I have had the most challenging times, and I wasn’t always sure we wouldn’t end like my mother and father. But we’ve arrived at a place where I can truly say he’s not a baby daddy, he’s my friend, finally. He is an amazing father.”

On motherhood: “Motherhood is not easy, but it’s natural. I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I’ve also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake.”

On having a baby in her forties: “I’m in my forties, post baby and I’m thinner than I’ve been in years. The last step will be letting my hair go natural. That’s when you’ll know I’m free…”


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  1. That cover is misleading. If she’s in a relationship with the little one’s father, she’s not single. She’s not married, but she’s definitely not single. IDK, pet peeve.

    • I agree, but for some reason mother’s who aren’t married are considered single, even if they are in a relationship.

    • I think she means that she has not witnessed any marriages were love lasts and the people truly want to be in the marriage because they love each other. Marriage is extremely challenging and I have personally witnessed many marriages fall apart or couples who probably should have separated but stayed together because of finances or the children. While I am inferring her meaning, but as a married woman myself, I can see what she means.

      • That may be true but that goes for all relationships, not just marriages. I don’t get why people will live together for 20 years in a commited relationship, but they act like getting married will ruin it.

        • I disagree. I think that they know marriage can’t change or improve it, so why do it?

          Why do married people think that people who are in a committed 20-year relationship are in a ‘lesser’ relationship than those that are married?

          • I don’t see where anyone said anything about ‘lesser’ relationships?? She is saying she wants to be with this man but doesn’t want to get married because marraige doesn’t work. She is basically in a marriage so why would making it official change anything? It’s just people using it as an excuse.

    • The black man and woman needs to resort back to the basics on how to love one another and communicate with each other, hence a lack of love and communication resorts to a failed marriage. I am not condoning Nia’s outlook on marriage, but there are people that have no clue about the ideology of marriage. People are a product of their environment. I have a friend whose parents have never married. His father has 5 children by 4 different women, whom he never married; therefore, my friend expressed that he doesn’t believe in marriage-duh! He never grew up with an example of what a marriage is or what one is supposed to look like. Although, he does want a long term relationship and wants to have c children, but he also stated that he wants to be able to go outside of the relationship to pursue his sexual needs. I don’t condone his behavior either, but marriages in the black community have not been prevalent throughout centuries. I think our community subconsciously still suffers from the, “Slave Mentality (slaves weren’t allowed to marry, but when black families tried to coexist as a family, they were broken up to be sold as slaves),” which is passed down from generations; therefore, some of us deem it as necessary to have babies outside of a marriage, failing to remember that children need to see a committed loving mother and father co-exist under one roof. If you don’t believe in marriage, then I don’t think it is fair to a child who has no choice to be born into this world without an established family unit with a mother and father that exist in holy matrimony-that’s selfish. If you don’t want to get married, THEN DON’T HAVE CHILDREN!

  2. This is wrong and misleading. That may be her opinion but it doesn’t make it right! People act like marriage is the ultimate crime. Breaking down society and making wrong things right. I am sure there is more she isn’t telling but don’t make irresponsible men read this and be happy to get women pregnant and throw independent woman malarchy at them so they can be free. Marriages work if you both are committed to making each other happy. Tomorrow we will be hearing her say she is deliriously in love and wants to marry. I bet in that case hers would be the example that would work? Such wrong thinking.

    • There will ALWAYS be people who are marriage-minded and there will ALWAYS be people who aren’t.

      Stop getting your panties in a twist. If a marriage-minded woman is with a man who is NOT marriage-minded, she should END that relationship immediately. The ABSOLUTE problem is that they DON’T. They hang on and hang on and hang on hoping to change a man who has been clear from the beginning that marriage is not something he wanted.

      If WOMEN had some standards and STUCK TO THEM, they wouldn’t have the problems they have trying to get a man to marry them. If you were with a man who didn’t want to marry YOU, would you really want to marry HIM?????

  3. this woman is an idiot what about Denzel & Pauletta Washington they have been married 29 years and are as happy as ever. why doesn’t she keep her mouth shut and by the way you don’t have to be married to be stable loving parents ask Joely Richardson about that her parents divorced when she was a Toddler

    • 29 years, and he has cheated for most of them. hell, my grandparents have been married for 60 years, and my grandfather has talked to me extensively about marriage. He always tell my male cousins that a man should never bring trouble to his own doorstep. He says when you get in trouble on the street you can run home, but where will you go when you bring trouble to your own home? He said he always knew he’d be a good husband, even if he had to do it out of spite for his own father. He said he’s happy that wasn’t the case, but he was always determined to never leave his wife and kids. With all that said, as a woman, I still have no real desire to ever get married. I have great examples of marriage all around me, and marriage still does not mean a whole lot to me. Marriage has never guaranteed anything, and it has never meant that the relationship was better than that of two people who were not married. It’s not a necessity in my life.

      • I don’t agree with any of what is being said…Point blank, wrong is wrong for whatever the reason may be. People sometime tend to blame someone or something for their own faultz in life or for their shortcomingz. The innocent die young and the victimizers receive unjust rewards. Now how theoretical can you get to clean that one up? Fair is fair and as someone once said “Let no good deed go unpunished”. Great post July 4th article. “America, the beautiful”…..Ok? OK….

    • Guys, she says she’s never seen marriage work. But she also says that it’s not that she’s against it either. So when the time is right, as women we do what we gotta do. No need in rushing just because we’ve dropped this mans baby…come on…really??? Everyone does what’s best for the situation (whatever that may be). This doesn’t make you greater or less than anyone else. You are simply “doing you”. Congrats Nia….I feel ya!!

      • You absolutely right ….. Give her a break stop judging her she neve said anything negatively about married !!!! So stop it

    • Courtney… why do you tell EVERYONE to just shut up when it’s something you don’t do yourself?

      Why am I talking to Courtney when she never responds to anything anyone says???

  4. Marriage is difficult, perhaps more so for women. You see the benefits but although fond of that other person, you also grow weary of them after many years. Even though it’s the 21st century many women, although holding down a job, are still stuck almost exclusively with the cooking duties. That in itself becomes a real drag. Young women don’t think of that when they’re shopping for their wedding dress or gazing at their engagement ring. Think of it. Think of it on a daily basis year after year. It’s no surprise there’s a 50% divorce rate.

    • I think the problem is also that people live so long now. Never, in history, were people expected to spend 40, 50, 60 years with the same person.

    • You are so right. My parents married at age 20 and stayed married for 45 years until my dad died. I witnessed the sacrifices my mom made for our family and the gross inequities she endured in having the role of wife and mother. My father loved my mother dearly but was sort of traditional in the way he had license to fulfill his career dreams without regard to who was shouldering the burden of running the home. At the end of my dad’s life, my mother worked herself silly taking care of my father in his illness. It seemed so unfair that at the end of it all, he was comforted to the end and my mom got to shoulder the burden of his care. I wonder if she would have signed-up for marriage (in general – not specifically with my dad) if she had known how she would spend 45 years of her life working like a dog. Thankfully my dad had is finances correct and left my mom with a load of money and assets – so, finally she can get the rest she needs and deserves. Mostly, though, she just wants my dad back so she doesn’t have to be alone.

      • Most people would look at your parent’s marriage and say, “Wow, look at them. Married for 45 years. What a success story!”.

        I’d look at and think how pathetic they were for thinking that just because two people manage to stay ‘married’ is meaningless. Your mother was in an unfulfilling relationship with a man who treated her like a maid. How the hell is that successful?

        That’s the worst example of ‘marriage’, yet people fawn over it. Gross.

  5. I’ve never seen a marriage work either. The happiest long-term couple I know is unmarried (15 years on), and this is probably because they thought long (before knowing each other and during their relationship) about what they needed to be and to do to create a happy family life. Somewhere along the lines, they realized that a piece of paper and a party did not do that. …Adam and Eve never had a piece of paper, a ceremony or a party.

  6. That’s sad she hasn’t seen a marriage work. My grandparents were together until the end and my parents are still happily married. But I do understand why marriage isn’t a priority, I’m not 100% into the idea either.

  7. I agree, it is sad that she says this. My parents have been married for 37 years, happily. But I agree in the fact that marriage is harder nowadays…dating is harder nowadays! I personally dont feel the need to be married if life doesnt take me in that direction. So I can see what she means.

  8. I have seen many marriages work. My great grandparents were married for over 60 years before my great grandad passed away, my grandparents have been married 45 years and are very happy and in love with each other. On the other side of things, my parents were married for 9 months yet have been together for 25 years, they just couldn’t didn’t work as a married couple. My uncle and I have both been married and divorced twice. I’ve learned a thing or 2 since then about marriage.
    Marriage is about hard work and finding someone who you are willing to change and grow with. It is about honesty and friendship and working together.
    So as you can see sometimes marriage works and sometimes it doesn’t. There is no right or wrong about marriage, if you want to then do it, if you don’t then don’t, but don’t judge others for how they feel about it and don’t judge them for expressing their opinions about a subject.

  9. If Nia hasnt seen a marriage work what makes her think she’s not setting a poor example to her sons about not being married to one of the fathers. It’s sad that she has this view of marriage and not setting an example for her sons that you marry the women you have children with. Now they see that she hasnt married their fathers they think it’s ok to have baby mamas and not a wife.

  10. You keep living & you will see we all have options she’s not the first person to feel this way & truth be told she’s not the last is God Pleased NO but tats her choice we all have our own thing to ask before. God bless you and pretty baby

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