*In her new memoir, “Believing in Magic,” Cookie Johnson reveals that she had only been married to her NBA legend husband for six weeks, and she was pregnant with their first child, EJ, when she learned Magic Johnson was HIV positive back in 1991.
Cookie opens up in the book about how Magic couldn’t remember who he had sex with so he called each woman that he could recall being intimate with, to tell them the devastating news. During those days, the women had to wait nearly two weeks to receive test results. Cookie writes that for her, the waiting game was like being in her own ‘personal hell’ – one marked by “silence and darkness, numbness.”
“In just one moment our world, this perfect union we’d fought so hard and so long to have was obliterated,” she writes in “Believing in Magic.”
The memoir tells for the first time the impact that going public with his HIV diagnosis had on Johnson’s family, and his professional life. It was a choice which made him the face of heterosexual HIV, a title he still has 25 years later, per Daily Mail.
Cookie said Johnson called her up and said, “I’m coming home early because I have to tell you something. I can’t tell you over the phone.”
She asked him: ‘What’s wrong, do you have AIDS or something?’
Johnson did not reply.
When he finally came 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.”
Doctors told Johnson that he had three years to live. Cookie also shares her terror over worrying that she and their unborn child could be infected too.
‘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,” she writes. “The stress coursed through my veins like a poison, occupying practically every moment of my day.”
Thankfully the tests proved negative.
Cookie’s memoir will be released September 20, and is now available for pre-order.