Cookie Johnson, the wife of legendary NBA player Earvin “Magic” Johnson, opened up about her journey towards acceptance of her gay son E.J. Johnson, the star of E's #RichKids of Beverly Hills, in an interview.
Johnson reveals how prayer guided her towards love and acceptance in her memoir, Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith. The book, which came out September 20, also includes details into the moment Cookie first learned of her husband's HIV diagnosis nearly 25 years ago.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey for OWN's Super Soul Sunday, Johnson spoke about how she reconciled her Christian faith with having a gay son.
“That was a very hard thing for me,” Johnson tells Winfrey. “So, I had to pray about it.”
Johnson says that the message she received from God when she prayed was love. And that love allowed her to make peace with having a gay son. "This child is innocent,” says Johnson. "He was like this when he was a baby, it can’t be wrong."
Acceptance of LGBT youth by their parents is critical to current and future mental health, and lack of acceptance can negatively affect everything from school performance to general well-being.
And even worse, some LGBT youth who are rejected by their families are at a higher risk of becoming homeless.
Johnson says it wasn’t easy for her or her husband to accept the news at first, but that they were both quickly in his corner. And they now admit that the elder Johnson's initial reaction wasn’t the best.
“I had to come to realize this is who he really is, and he’s gonna be happy,” Magic Johnson told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in a televised interview.
After first telling his son that he wasn’t happy with him being gay, the elder Johnson says he went back the next day and apologized to his child, telling Roberts that as his father, he questioned why he was judging his son.
"I knew he was looking for me to accept who he was, and I had to get out of my own way,” said the basketball legend.
Watch a clip of Johnson's interview with Oprah below.