Cyntoia Brown, who served 15 years of a life sentence for killing her alleged sexual abuser, married Christian recording artist J. Long before she was released from prison last week.
According to Billboard, Brown's spokesman, Wes Yoder, confirmed Monday that the two wed before she was released from prison but did not provide further details. Brown's story of sexual exploitation, life inside prison, and how she met J. Long, a former member of the R&B group Pretty Ricky, will be disclosed in a book titled Free Cynthia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, set to be released on Oct. 15.
Yona Deshommes, associate director of publicity for Atria Books, said in a statement that the 31 year old is looking forward to “starting her life as a recently married woman.”
Now that she's a free woman, Brown will go by her married name, Cyntoia Brown-Long.
Brown was released on probation last Wednesday after receiving clemency from former Gov. Bill Haslam. She will be on parole for 10 years and required to get a job and go to counseling, ABC affiliate KXTV reports.
Her case drew national attention after celebrities Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg — who himself has bragged about sexually exploiting women as a pimp — and LeBron James, lobbied on her behalf.
During her time in prison, Brown was prohibited from having conjugal visits with her husband because Tennessee state prisons ban such visits. That policy will be revised in 2020.
Long has been in the music industry under the name "J. Long" since 2009. He comes from a long line of family musicians. His uncle, Huey Long, was in the pop group The Ink Spots that gained international fame in the 1930s. His grandfather, Curtis Long, is known for playing guitar with B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland.
The R&B singer-turned-gospel hip-hop artist removed all of his Instagram photos and replaced them with a large image of him and his new bride.
In 2004, Brown was convicted of murdering a 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent whom she said picked her up outside a fast-food restaurant and paid her for sex. She was 16 years old at the time.
According to The Tennessean, Brown's attorney Charles Bone praised God, writing in a text message to his legal team: "She is free! Hallelujah!" after discovering that their nine years of work had finally paid off.
“'I'm rejoicing," he told The Tennessean. "Knowing this is a new life for her is thrilling, but we also know what a challenge it is for her to start this journey of freedom,” he said. “We are confident she'll be as successful as a free woman as she had been as an incarcerated woman, but it is a totally different journey.”
According to a statement shared following her release, Brown will spend her time as a free woman helping other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation.