Magic Johnson is talking for the first time about when he learned his son, Earvin Johnson III, is gay, and why he decided to confront him about it.
"We've known for a long, long time," Johnson told TMZ. But there came a time in his son's early teens when Magic and his wife, Cookie, decided it was time to ask directly.
"We finally had to sit down and talk about it," Johnson said. "And I told him look I'm going to love you regardless, just let me know: Are you or aren't you?"
While this isn't the approach that every parent takes, Johnson said his son was relieved. He explained his reason for asking about it directly. "We just want you to love yourself and also to make sure that you have all the information," he recalls telling his son. Johnson, who is HIV-positive, told his son it's important "you protect yourself, you protect your partner." And he wanted to help prepare him for coming out to friends and others.
His son is now 20 and recently walked proudly through West Hollywood holding his boyfriend's hand.