NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson was diagnosed with HIV a little more than 20 years ago and in a clip below he remembers that day fateful day. With Oprah Winfrey for Oprah’s Next Chapter, Magic Johnson details his promiscuous past, why he and wife Cookie are soul mates and supporting his son EJ with coming out to the public.
Here are some of the highlights:
Oprah: When you were following around with all those women were you serious about any of them?
Magic Johnson: Oh no, oh no and they knew. They wanted to be Miss Johnson and I was like, ‘Uh, ah I only got one person that’s gonna be Miss Johnson’. And they were like, ‘What? Why [not] me? Who is that? Who is she?’ All those type of things..When I get married, I’m marrying Cookie and they all knew that.
Oprah: Did it ever even occur to you to use protected sex?
Magic Johnson: No. I think at that time, it wasn’t a thing that everybody even talked about [protected sex]. It was the 80?s. It was a fun time and everybody having sex, unprotected sex.
Oprah: With one or more women at the same time?
Oprah: How do you end an evening? Does the girl just then leave, will I see you again?
Yes. I wanted her to leave. I didn’t have people sleep over. That wasn’t the thing for me. So, it was more we had fun and that was it. I never disrespected women. I was always upfront. I wasn’t a guy who would mislead anybody. Once you’re upfront then they have to make a decision on what they wanna do and so they made their decision.
When you made the decision that you were ready to marry her and it was twenty two years later what are you happiest about?
I just love her so much. As we sit here and I think about what we’ve been through and just to hear her talk about me first of all has got me so emotional. You know we’ve been together a long time and she’s the perfect partner for me. I think when people throw around ‘soul mates’ and all that, we’re..its for real that we are soul mates and that this is my best friend. She’s an incredible mother, incredible wife and just changed my whole life and shaped it. She always allowed me to be me. And I think why I am proud of her is because she is a woman that is so strong and she has her own identity, she’s her own woman….She said first of all Irvin, I’m gonna give my life up to you and a great mother to the kids. When the kids finally got of age, she [said], ‘Now its my turn and I wanna get my life back’. That’s when she started to start her own business. As I said, ‘I am here to support her’. But I say this, if she would had left me I wouldn’t be here. No way, no way on this earth. So I got blessed with the right person as I tell her all the time. I can only be me because of her, because of the woman she is. Truly, truly everyday I’m so happy to be her husband.
Oprah: Earlier this year, your family made news when your son was photographed by TMZ. Obviously he had come to out you before. Did he come out or did you ask him to come out?
Cookie: Since he was so high, he would wear dresses, dancing around he was three or four years old so it’s kinda like you know something but you think they’re gonna grow out of it. He really never did but it was okay..it’s your child and you love your child and support your child no matter what they are. We did all along and being a mom I knew. When that teenage time came around I just pulled him aside and talked to him about it. I didn’t want him to feel bad about it and I didn’t want him to feel like he had to hide and I didn’t want him to be insecure especially around us. So I just talked to him and he felt so relieved and he was like yes mom and I was like it was okay.
Magic: I would say it was shock in the beginning but also I knew and I was just waiting on him to tell me. He did and EJ is just a lovable guy. As I told him I said, ‘EJ I love you so Im gonna support you no matter what’ I think it made him feel good because it’e one thing with mom and it was another thing with me. He wanted my approval, wanted my support.
Watch the clips below: