On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson stood in front of a room packed with journalists and said: ‘Because of the HIV virus I have obtained, I will have have to retire today from the Lakers.’  Magic became the public face of HIV, and still is 25 years later.  But before he revealed his condition to the public, he had to tell his wife and the NUMEROUS other women he had unprotected sex with.  Magic’s wife Cookie wrote a memoir, ‘Believing in Magic’, that for first time, revealed the affect everything had on his family.

Cookie writes that she and Johnson had not even been married 45 days when she got the phone call which changed her life.  She said Magic was away for a preseason game, but called and told her that he was coming home because he had something to tell her.

Johnson 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?’

Johnson did not reply.

An hour later Johnson walked through the door. Her 6ft nine inch tall basketball superhero looked ‘small, blank, broken’.

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’.

Johnson broke the devastating news to her and they fell into each other’s arms.

Even worse, Cookie was pregnant with their first child, EJ, at the time. After the initial numbness passed both were terrified that the baby might also have HIV.

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.

Then came the most humiliating part of it all: Johnson ‘locked himself in a room and called the long list of women with whom he’d been intimate’, Cookie writes.

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.

At the time the disease was considered a death sentence and Magic was told he had three years to live.  Cookie also got tested and found out she tested negative, and did not have HIV.  Each of the women had to wait a long and excruciating 12 days to get their results as one-day testing was not around at the time.

Twenty years on from his 1991 disclosure Johnson insisted that he is ‘not cured’ and said that he knows he did the right thing by making his condition public.  Speaking to PBS he has said: ‘I am living with this virus. I don’t want (my kids) to ever have it, so I have to tell them…what can happen to them if they do the same thing I did’.

‘Believing in Magic’ will be released on September, 20, 2016.

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source: Daily Mail