Nia Long: Yes. But I want to get this straight: It wasn't my fault. I didn't start it; I didn't throw any punches. It was one man's ego against another man's pride. It was all about them.
Essence: But how do two grown men start fighting at a mall?
Nia Long: What happened was, I'd gone out to dinner with my son and a friend of mine. This was the first time I'd ever brought my child around someone I was dating, so it was a big deal.
After dinner, my son's father [to whom Long was previously engaged; the couple broke up when their son was a toddler] needed to pick him up, so I told him to meet me. Really, I had no intention of introducing him to my friend right then, because my life is my business. He knows I'm a good mother, and that's the most important thing. But he got to the mall a lot faster than I thought he would. It's like he put on his Batman wings and flew [laughing].
When I saw him I thought, Okay, this is nothing to get excited about, and I introduced him to my friend. They shook hands, and then I guess my son's father just got emotional, because he basically punched my friend in the face.
Essence: He shook his hand and then popped him for no reason?
Nia Long: Words were exchanged, but I'm not going to repeat them. Really, I don't think that fight had anything to do with me. I think it had to do with our son. Men are very protective of their children, and ours is his first and only child. I think my child's father was like, "This is who's around my son?" and just kind of lost it. Then they started fighting, so I walked off because I didn't want my son to get the idea that this is appropriate behavior. That's when the mall security came and broke it up, and the police were called. [Long's ex did not return repeated phone calls from Essence.]
Essence: How did you explain to your 6-year-old son why his father just hit a man in the face?
Nia Long: I told him his father got emotional and lost his temper, and he didn't use his best judgment.