Magic Johnson Credits Wife Cookie for Her Steadfast Support During HIV Diagnosis: 'God Really Blessed Me'

“I’ve had a positive mindset and attitude, because the only thing in life I wanted really was to be with Cookie forever," he said

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

When Magic Johnson revealed that he had HIV in 1991, the news sent shockwaves around the globe — but his wife was and continues to be a steadfast pillar for the superstar.

“To have Cookie’s support, it made it easier for me to tell the world,” the retired NBA icon, 64, told Variety in an interview on the eve of the couple’s latest humanitarian achievement — receiving the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS Award on Thursday night.

He added, “Knowing that Cookie and I had our strong relationship, and also our faith too. Because Cookie and I pray. Cookie’s a prayer warrior — and I think that helped us too. God really blessed me. The medicine and the support of my beautiful wife."

Looking back, Magic also credits an army of others who lent their support, including Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss and NBA commissioner David Stern.

Related: Magic Johnson and Family Don Masquerade Headpieces for 'Another Amazing Party' on Super Yacht in Europe

“To know that you have all the people, as well as my parents, and my brothers and sisters,” Magic said. “I can’t tell you how much that meant, knowing that I had their support as well. That helped me to go do what I needed to do to be here a long time.”

To that end, the icon has spent the years since his diagnosis spreading awareness about the disease with his Magic Johnson Foundation, which has allowed the couple has given over $15 million to underserved Black and other communities of color, per Variety.

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For the sports icon, being thankful and optimistic is part of the game of life.

Harry Langdon/Getty
Harry Langdon/Getty

“I’ve had a positive mindset and attitude, because the only thing in life I wanted really was to be with Cookie forever, and hopefully see that we would have some grandchildren,” he said.

Magic added, “So, when you think about me, I’m just happy. It’s been going on 32 years. My wife has been amazing. She’s educated a lot of women about how you support your husband or your boyfriend."

Related: Magic Johnson Celebrates Wife Cookie on Their 32nd Anniversary: ‘Will Always Honor and Support You’

And going through hard times has made the couple — who recently blissfully documented their epic maritime summer adventure together — prevail over any rough seas, so to speak.

“The experience definitely made our love and our marriage stronger,” Magic said. “We had another purpose in life. That purpose was to raise a lot of money for HIV and AIDS organizations. We also went out and educated our people because the Black and brown community — at that time, there were so many myths, so much misinformation out there."

He added, “So Cookie and I just got out there and educated our Black and Brown community and also raised money to care for people.”

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