Magic Johnson Opens Up About Telling His Wife, Cookie Johnson, About His HIV Diagnosis: I Hated To Hurt Her
Magic Johnson is opening up about when he learned of his HIV status. In a joint interview with his wife Cookie Johnson, NBA legend Irving ‘Magic’ Johnson, 66, explains the ‘pressure’ he felt revealing his diagnosis to his wife.
In his interview with Gayle King, Magic Johnson says,
“It was hard because I loved her so much and I hated to hurt her. I’ve played against some of the best basketball players in the world, right? I’ve been in championships. I’ve been in nine [NBA] Finals, so I know pressure. But there was no greater pressure than driving home to tell her.”
Magic was informed that he had HIV in 1991, just one month after the couple had married and recently learned the Cookie was expecting. Explaining he was ‘scared to death’ to tell her, the former Laker adds,
“The key moment was when Cookie took the test and the results came back that she and the baby were fine.”
“I wanted to make sure that she was going to be okay, the baby was going to be okay, and then I can move forward with making sure I was going to be okay.”
After learning that her husband contracted the disease, Cookie says she was more worried about him dying, which ‘trumped everything.’ Cookie decided to stand by her husband and be supportive however admits, she was against the press conference. She says,
“At that time, people weren’t educated so they thought you couldn’t touch people. You couldn’t hug people. And I didn’t want people to treat us like we were lepers.”
Magic and Cookie Johnson have been married for 30 years and together share three children, Andre, 40, EJ, 29, and Elise, who was adopted by the couple at 3-years-old.
Magic Johnson’s HIV is currently undetectable however the former Laker has to take medication daily to keep it under control.
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