When Earvin “Magic” Johnson‘s son “E.J.” Earvin Johnson III came out, the former NBA star felt nothing but love. And he advises all parents of gay children to respond the same way.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show Wednesday, the 57-year-old was asked how he would help a parent through their child’s coming out process.
His advice was simple: lead with unconditional love.
“It’s all about you not trying to decide what your daughter or son should be or what you want them to become — it’s all about loving them no matter who they are, what they decide to do,” Magic said.
He went to explain the happiness he felt for EJ when he made the courageous choice to be honest about his sexual orientation.
“When my son came out, I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents,” Magic said. “And we love him. E.J. is amazing.”
“You’ve got to support your child,” he continued. “There’s so many people who try to discriminate against them. So if you don’t support them, who’s going to support them and love them?”
E.J. came out in 2013 and went on to find fame of his own on E!’s Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. The 24-year-old reality star told the webcast Gwissues in 2013 that he had initially come out to his mom Cookie when he was 13 or 14 — and then to his dad a year later.
At the time, E.J. was scared — and he suggested anyone in that situation would be. But, he went on to say, “after I got all the love and support from my family, I knew I could go out and conquer the world.”
He got all that support from his dad, who discussed E.J.’s public outing to TMZ in 2013.
“I love E.J. so much, that’s my main man,” Magic said. “I think he really wanted to be out. But he was torn … He just didn’t know how. He just said, ‘This is my moment. This is my time. I’m happy to share with the world who I am.’ And I said, ‘Go, E.J., go.’ ”
Magic added: “This is a good moment for us as a family, and a greater moment for him. Now he’s just the bubbly kid we knew again … I’m behind him a million percent. This is really wonderful for him.”
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“That was a very hard thing for me,” she said. “That was a very, very hard thing for me. I tried everything, but finally I just said to myself, ‘This child is innocent. He was like this when he was a baby, it can’t be wrong. It can’t be wrong.’ ”
“I had to pray about it,” the 57-year-old continued. “This was one of those moments where I had to go directly to God and I prayed … and the answer I got back was love. And he said, you know, ‘I give you all great gifts and the greatest of that gift is love.’ And so, that’s when I knew I could love my son and support him on who he was and I was okay with it.”