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Magic Johnson’s Wife spills secrets of the Night he found out he was HIV Positive…From how they survived a then 6-Week Marriage to being forced to Retire from Basketball

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In a new book called “Believing In Magic”, Magic Johnson’s wife of 25 years, Cookie, is spilling some secrets surrounding their life, especially that life-changing moment when Magic Johnson found out he was HIV positive.

In excerpts exclusively obtained by DailyMail, Cookie reveals that Magic, who lived a hard life of partying and unprotected sex, found out he was HIV positive six weeks into their marriage when she was pregnant for their first child EJ.

Magic & Cookie

Magic Johnson & Cookie Johnson in June 2016

Magic Johnson & Cookie Johnson in June 2016

The couple, who have now been married for 25 years with 3 kids, stayed strong through those trying times when the illness was generally thought only to affect the gay community.

The couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last week. Magic flew in a hundred of the couple’s closest friends and family to mark their marriage milestone.

Her memoir reveals that on that night in 1991, the Los Angeles Lakers point guard ‘locked himself in a room and called the long list of women with whom he’d been intimate’. He could not remember how many women he had slept with. So he tracked down as many as he could and gave each a call which would turn their lives upside down.

Cookie writes in the memoir that going through that herself was like being in her own ‘personal hell’ – one marked by ‘silence and darkness, numbness’. She says, ‘In just one moment our world, this perfect union we’d fought so hard and so long to have was obliterated.’

Magic had dated on-and-off for 12 years before they got married in 1991 and barely 45 days after their world has shaken.

Hearing the Life Changing News

Magic Johnson & Cookie Johnson in 1992

Magic Johnson & Cookie Johnson in 1992

Talking about how she found out from Magic, she writes that he called her up and said, ‘I’m coming home early because I have to tell you something.’ She tightened her grip on the receiver and could feel herself becoming nervous.

He said, ‘I have to talk to you, but I’m on my way to the doctor’s office right now. I’ll tell you what’s going on when I get home, Cookie. I can’t tell you over the phone’.

Cookie writes that her husband’s hushed words ‘sent a chill creeping over my heart’. She thought he had suffered a career-ending injury, wanted a divorce or was leaving her.

She asked him: ‘What’s wrong, do you have AIDS or something?’ to which he didn’t reply. An hour later he came back home.

Cookie writes: ‘My husband walked toward me, took my hand into his and slowly marched me back into the den…the two of us sat at the foot of our huge chaise lounge and I held my breath’.

According to her, Magic Johnson told her that she could leave him if she wanted but she grabbed his hand and put it on her belly. ‘We’re going to beat this together,’ she told him and ordered him to get on his knees and pray.

Shifting to Survival Mode

Magic Johnson, WIfe Cookie & Kids

Magic Johnson, WIfe Cookie & Kids

Magic Johnson’s doctors had originally told him that he had three years to live. To deal with the stress he shifted into ‘warrior mode’ and buried himself in organization.

Cookie said that she stopped thinking about the past and the future and she found that the only way to survive was to ‘breathe your way through this moment. And the next. And then each one that follows’ .

She writes: ‘Every morning I would wake up in a panic, worried that I too might be HIV positive and die. Or worse, that my baby would be sick and not make it. The stress coursed through my veins like a poison, occupying practically every moment of my day.’

Thankfully the tests proved negative.

Magic Johnson was convinced to become a public face of the condition by a friend and he has done so excellently for 25 years.

His revelation about his condition forced him to retire from Basketball at 32 and he was also faced with rumours of being gay or bisexual – rumours he dismissed immediately.

After two attempts to rejoin the NBA he left the game for good. He shifted his focus to the Magic Johnson Foundation, which has spent the last two decades educating people about HIV and encouraging community groups.

In her memoir, Cookie writes that throughout she had been at his side.  She says that any troubles they went through after their marriage were arguably not as bad as the 12-year on-and-off relationship they had before their wedding.

The Memoir

believing-in-magic-9781501125157_hr

According to DailyMail, ‘Believing in Magic – My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith‘ tells how she and Johnson met in their freshman year at Michigan State University and, despite her misgivings about dating a basketball star, she agreed to be his girlfriend.

Cookie describes her getting close to Johnson as an ‘awkward dance towards intimacy’ and that the ‘prying eyes of other women’ were never far away. In the book, Cookie describes how one day after they were dating for three months she went to Johnson’s dorm only to find a girl in slippers and a robe ‘standing there like she paid rent like that was her place and she was his girl’.

In the book, she writes: ‘This would be the first of many times in our romance journey that (Johnson’s) fear of commitment and penchant for alpha male dominance would tear us apart’.

They were engaged three times before they finally got married after the fourth.

Read more about what the book has to offer here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic | Barry King

38 Comments

  1. UNCLE GWE GWE GWE

    September 15, 2016 at 6:18 am

    LOVE!!!!!

    • Phoenix

      September 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Uncle Do you have this kind of love in your life?

  2. David

    September 15, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Aunty Bella,Good morning. Thank u so much, I have received the alert. Thank you

  3. Missappleberry

    September 15, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Wow! So inspiring…brought tears to my eyes. This is what it truly means to stick to your “for better, for worse” vows.

  4. A

    September 15, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Women…. Hmmm. I know you will say this love o but please open your eyes and use your head. Cookie is so very lucky she and her baby didn’t get infected before his diagnosis.. The story doesn’t end like that for many. You know your boyfriend is a chronic cheat who isn’t using protection. That is him being selfish. Please think of yourself and your future. The story does not end this way for numerous women….

  5. canim

    September 15, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Will the story be the same,if the wife where to be positive whiles he’s negative?

    • Chi

      September 15, 2016 at 8:27 am

      Nope because this is a man’s world whether you like it or not..iyou can fight it all you want,it always favour them in one way or the other. .so unfair

    • peace

      September 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      It might have been the same. There are a lot of men who support their spouse out of love. They might not let others know about it but they do it every day.

      Sometimes I get worried when I see large number of comments showing a lose of faith in Nigerian men and Men all over, I know that history doesn’t speak well for men in general, however I know that when a Man truly loves someone, there is absolutely nothing they can’t do for that person but that is still subject to external factors such as personality, upbringing, society etc.

  6. chi

    September 15, 2016 at 8:17 am

    wow, he is so tall and huge and a damn womanizer

  7. Chi

    September 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

    wow, he is so tall and huge and a damn womanizer..

  8. Omoté

    September 15, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Truly inspiring story of when love conquers. Discordant couples exists but not everyone is lucky. I can’t just wrap my head around why someone would endanger his life so?. He just got lucky, if she hadn’t stood by him there’s a chance he’d have turned to drugs n booze. The key word here is unconditional love n support.

    • bree

      September 15, 2016 at 9:35 am

      thank you Omote, love is like light, it could dim down a little when you move towards your darkness but the reflection is enough to carry you through anything.

  9. Gorgeous

    September 15, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Love my black ass. He obviously didn’t love or care for her enough all those years he was sleeping around unprotected. If she also had it, he may have lied on her that she gave him. Life is not about right now, but how you will live healthy into old age. If he didn’t have HIV he would probably be flaunting one young, blonde gold digger. People learn to love yourself please, and respect your partners by not intentionally putting them in harms way because you are insatiable and allergic to condoms

    • nene

      September 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      gbam

  10. jesbadoma

    September 15, 2016 at 9:19 am

    God give me the strength to stand by my man no matter what. Amen.

    • A

      September 15, 2016 at 9:33 am

      @ Jesbadoma, I am not sure that is a good prayer to pray o… That’s why many women end up being used and abused.For a good man, I will say amen to that. But if not….Just my opinion though

    • Californiabawlar

      September 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Omo! See prayer o. To what end? So that you can receive praises? Why is it your sole purpose in life to stand by someone who won’t sit with you? Like someone said, if this niggur didn’t have AIDS he would have traded her in for a brand new racially ambiguous model since since…and yet you find this lifestyle worthy of emulation. It’s like we’ve been told we have to suffer as married women…we now even seek out suffering…odiegwu.
      Abeg my own prayer point is for God to give me sense to marry a good man so I can direct all my strength to raising healthy and upright kids. If the natural storms of life arise, yes! But any protracted yawa and I’m out the door…well except if I’m married to a multimillionaire like Magic… I might just stay to enjoy the money. A little HIV never hurt nobody ??

    • bm

      September 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      @californiabawler. God will give Jesbadome a man who has strength to stand by his woman too, how about that rather than jumping into some conclusion based on the assumption that men are mostly negative. I believe in love and I believe that life gets better when you stand by people in difficult times, that is what friendship and relationship means. You cant be in a relationship without taking some level of risk and sacrifice. Even business relationships require risk and sacrifice.

      Lets stop breeding this negativity about marriage.

    • FasholasLover

      September 15, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Pls. leave matter. She stayed for the money.
      NBA players hv always bn the gold mines in American sports. You think a girl who ‘get mind’ to stay thru al the whahala of other women was going anywhere?…. In the book, Cookie describes how one day after they were dating for three months she went to Johnson’s dorm only to find a girl in slippers and a robe ‘standing there like she paid rent like that was her place and she was his girl’
      I
      t was not love. It was to prove she was the “CHOSEN” one.
      You show me pepper with other women # It is well
      You chose to marry moi amongst the multitude # GODWIN.
      Go where? Pregnant on top? Medicare dey to ensure we can hv more kids without HIV. The Money dey.
      Go where? #We kukuma die together. Ibi ni ma kuusi.

      Did you read where she said after catching him with another girl? She did not blane him but , she blamed the other girl. For naija, na her type dey fight tear weave.

    • LondonGirl

      September 16, 2016 at 7:21 am

      Just the way Denzel Washington and Samuel L Jackson did right?
      There are plenty of people who stay with their partner irregardless of the circumstance.
      The Sd blog done a very good feature a while back on Nigerian women who contracted the virus and their husbands stuck by them.
      Not all men are bad. A little optimism goes a long way!

    • Naijababe

      September 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

      @jesbadoma chai receive sense. To whom brain is given, sense is expected oooo!!!!!
      Bible says love your neighbour as yourself not more than yourself.
      If to say she dan get HIV now, this wont be your prayer.

      I understand standing by your man but pls do it with some sense & eyes wide open. Not just so that you can be hailed for standing by him. You are not Jesus Christ who was born and sacrificed to carry the sins of the world ooo.

      Just my opinion sha. You can definately ignore me hehehehhe lol

    • good girl

      September 15, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      if he showed sincere remorse and fessed up why should she not give him a chance?? i think she would hv left him if she didn’t see any change at all thereafter and also cleaned him out financially after all she’s in a country were the courts would have absolutely favoured her…..i know of a man who married his woman despite he met her with hiv…lets not always be so uptight and angry always ..peace out

  11. kim jay

    September 15, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Love indeed. he loved her so much he slept with everything he saw when they were in a relationship. If the woman was the one affected, do u think he would have stood by her?? I pray ooo. Men are selfish. It’s all about them. They have no regard what women whatsoever. I will never be one to tolerate cheating. I think she stayed for low self esteem and the money. They are both so ugh!

  12. Think like a man

    September 15, 2016 at 10:16 am

    “This would be the first of many times in our romance journey that (Johnson’s) fear of commitment and penchant for alpha male dominance would tear us apart” – say what?! In a world of 10 million people, where she could have been with someone who didn’t cause her as much stress and heartache. Her story could have been so different, she appears smart, is educated and is beautiful the sky would have been the limit. she sat there like Saint Theresa, dealt with his cheating, dealt with his HIV and the fallout of getting it. So, if not for his foundation he would be jobless on top matter. Nonsense and ingredient, some people need to learn to love themselves sha.

    • Think like a man

      September 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

      The thunder, the thunder that will fire Magic… Oh wait it already fired his abunna with HIV. Nonsense.

    • Think like a man

      September 15, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Rubbish romance journey! Sorry for the endless posts and replying to my own post! I am veerrrry pissed at this nonsense. So, why did she write this her book now, I don’t understand.

  13. Marian

    September 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Please, make una dey use condom o!!!! I will never forget asking a guy who had full AIDS if he used protection and he told me no. In his words ” wo ko ti won ni yen” not really sure how to properly translate but pretty much the guy said that’s their ( the women he slept with) own problem. I was shocked the guy was able to find women who were willing to have unprotected sex with him. The guy looked really sick and was very frail. If you can’t afford condom just abstain from sex!!!!!!

  14. Prince

    September 15, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Inspiring is all i can say. It’s soul lifting.

  15. Naijatalk

    September 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Maybe the diagnosis has been a blessing in disguise. Saved him from plunging deeper and darker into promiscuity. He even became wealthier after the fact it seems.

    That their son is another matter altogether.

  16. memebaby

    September 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    she tried.. but that cant be me.. if he got it through any other means other than sex, then oh yes, we would fight till the very end.. good for her though, they all seem happy

  17. esteem

    September 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Yeye the smell. Love is best proven in difficult times not time of enjoyment alone, i over heard californiabawler saying she can only stay if he is a multi-millionaire. When Adam discovered Eve has made him to eat the forbidden fruit did he drive her away? Some of you think about yourself alone in marriage that is why a whole lot of you still suffer because of i too know. Didn’t you agree to be one with the person on the day of your marriage? Why now that things have suddenly changed. Some people think the vow that say for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health are just mere proclamation, na oath o.

  18. Q

    September 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    All I can say is I now finally understand the reason behind the 25 carat ring or whatever and the lavish ceremony. laawwl

  19. curious

    September 15, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    all I think when I read this story, is the benefits of a good healthcare system…that’s an HIV positive dude there looking so fresh… how many Nigerians die from little things. I am a Christian, believe in GOD and in healing through JESUS CHRIST….but I still think the govt needs to do a lot when it comes to healthcare. many people are afraid of going for tests like HIV test, because they see it as the end of the world…this only increases the problem for everyone! themselves, their family who would suffer pain, and others they would put at risk!

  20. Deedee

    September 16, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Hmmm my friends husband was avoiding her for a year. When he was on his death bed she found out he had AIDS. Instead of seeing a doctor he was paying a fake pastor to heal him. He died eventually. I am glad she is negative. Nigerian men u guys need to change, make una just try sigh.

  21. Ajoke

    September 16, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Some people don’t even know their status and they see those people with HIV as condemned to die whereas with proper medication somebody with the virus can live longer than them. Speaking from experience.

  22. NationalSquirrel

    September 16, 2016 at 11:32 am

    As much as I want to be inspired by their story, because story l’eleyii. If na the woman cheat and catch virus, her ass woulda been dumped real quick.
    And she stayed for the money.
    And it’s sad that EJ is gay

  23. Mzphunby

    September 17, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Please where can I get the book? Would love to read it.
    On and off for 12 years!!!!!!
    Life is about accepting and having peace about where you are. She’s happy being known as just his wife. Nothing else.

  24. Mscheeew

    September 18, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Na dis kain story naija men dey like….

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