Cookie Johnson, wife of basketball legend Magic Johnson, opened up about the moments she learned her husband was HIV-positive and her son, EJ, was gay in a rare interview on Good Morning America.
The couple appeared together to promote Cookie’s new memoir, Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith, and discussed how their marriage persevered through 25 years despite some pretty tumultuous times.
“It scared me to death. I mean, I fell to my knees,” Cookie recalled of learning her husband’s diagnosis in 1991, just 45 days after the couple were married.
“We both fell on our knees and we started crying.”
Cookie admitted “there wasn’t a lot of knowledge [about HIV] back in 1991” but said she never once considered leaving Magic, even though he said he “wouldn’t blame her” if she did.
She said: “I didn’t have time to get mad about whatever happened, you know, or start asking questions. [My mind] went to ’He is possibly going to die.’”
On learning to accept their son EJ after he publicly came out as gay in 2013, Cookie said: “Ultimately, you want your child to be happy. But I also knew that [Magic] didn’t understand. And I was still trying to figure it out. I’m not going to sit here and say that I understood that he was gay at that time, because I didn’t. I just knew that this is what made him happy. And as time went on, it never changed.”
Admitting he initially “didn’t want” his son to be gay, Magic added: “I had to come to realize that this is who he is, and he’s going to be happy. And so why am I judging him? I’m his father, so I got to be the first one to say, “It’s OK and I love you. Now, how can I help you?’”
“You gotta love your child,” Cookie concluded. “Love wins.”
Check it out below: