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March 16th, 2012
07:18 PM ET

Cookie Johnson on rumors she slapped husband "Magic" upon learning of his HIV: "I called it a love tap"

Coming up this evening, Guest Host Week comes to a dramatic conclusion on "Piers Morgan Tonight," as television veteran Arsenio Hall pulls up a chair, and relives his glory days as an iconic late-night personality.

Filling in for Piers Morgan, Hall welcomes NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson for an entertaining and emotional sit down interview, as the two friends discuss HIV, basketball, and Broadway.

In November of 1991, Magic shocked the sports world – and the nation in general – when he revealed that he had tested positive for HIV. As difficult as that announcement was, the Hall of Famer says it was nothing compared to driving home, and telling his wife, Cookie:

"Arsenio, the worst ride of my life. Because when you make a mistake, it actually hurts other people," explains Johnson. "And, I was about to hurt the woman that I loved, my best friend, a person who had been in my corner through everything, thick and thin."

As the candid conversation continues, Hall asks Magic and Cookie about rumors that Mrs. Johnson slapped her husband upon hearing his confession. Magic's wife of more than 20 years says the story has been exaggerated:

"I just kind of tapped him on his face, I called it a love tap. It wasn't a knockout punch," says Cookie.

"A little harder than that," recalls Magic. "Oh yeah. I felt it. I felt her emotions, and we both started to cry at that time."

Tune is this evening at 9 p.m. EST/PST, as Magic Johnson talks about his goal of buying the LA Dodgers, and shares details of the upcoming Broadway play depicting his rivalry and friendship with Larry Bird.

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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Karyn Roesler

    Its nice to know that people that have money can talk about how access to medical resources and technolgy has allowed them benefits in life, but its is so disgusting to the rest of us who live off minimal incomes, and have to pay for every xray or mri or have to decide that we DONT get that great drug to cure our disease, or ease our disease because it costs too much money out of our minimal income. I need a place to live, I have to pay for every medical bill I get-and yet somehow-Magic Johnson and his money is held on high-isnt it great how his wife stands by him-well yeah-her bills are paid-mine are not. I really dont think any of you get it. When your passion is to put on a play about your basketball career-short sighted. Maybe-As a black kid from Lansing Michigan, you shoud give back to that community. But beyond that-you-and people like you-just dont get it-dont understand how people without access to your money-have to live day to day.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stefcho

      Hi Vickie, It isn't too late to registrar for the arpade and some do so on the arpade day. Contact Kay Lyon 864-4150, or report to the registration desk at Toledo Middle School between 8 and 9 on arpade day.

      April 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pzazz

      So Karyn, are you blaming this man for surviving after working hard and achieving what he has through that hard work? If so, that has to be the most ignorant thing I have read in a long time. This man is a philanthropist and spokesperson for various causing including HIV/AIDS. There is no magic drug for people with money over those who do not have money. If there was, many other "celebrities/athletes" would have "bought" their way to live.

      July 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nana

    How tajic the Rupiblicans and Insurance company did not support President Obama healt care plan.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Melanie Dean

    Faithfully watch the Pierce Morgan show & like it very much. However Magic was awesome this evening. Your other hosts this week had me changing channels in less than 10 minutes. I strongly recommend you have him as a major stand in and perhaps the station consider whether they could use him in other roles. He's got lots of energy that most of your hosts don't have.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jim Moore

    It was good to see Mr. Hall back in the seat. He has a lot of energy and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. You should use Mr. Hall more often.

    March 17, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jerry Pollard

    I'm pretty ticked at your distortion of Romney's statement about him not caring about the poor. Suzy Orman was a lady I respected, now she is just a partisan snob.

    Romney meant that there was a safety net. Hear me on this.....the reason the middle class is diminishing IS BECAUSE OF LIBERAL POLICIES.

    March 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Auth

      Best way to insulate and mooprdaf my new Shed?Ok so i decided to bite the bullet and get a shed built in my back garden, its going to be 8m x 3m so quite big now i have half of it built, need to knock my old flimsy shed down and carry on with new one ..Man i didnt relise how expensive this was gonna be !!! Im going to be using it as a home gym with tv computer, carpet etc !!Now i no its gonna need insulating and ventilating to stop damp now this is a must with as i dont want to ruin my expensive electrical stuff, i no there is so many ways but there all confusing me so any help or advice would be great.Shed is as followsUsed my flat decking as a foundationTimber joists with 3/4 inch ply for floor3 2 frames for the walls with 1/2 inch ply fixed to itThe front of the shed has been done in 3 2 for frames and a layer of visqiune and feather edged boards on top (more pleasing on the eye than plyPvc opening windowsFlat Roof 7ft at the back going to 6ft 6 at the front made from timber joists again and 3/4 inch plyAnd the roof will be finished with mineral felt when the other half is done, also will have fascia boards and gutters .And all the wood has been tanilised !!!Any ideas for the best way to insulate and ventilate would be great .I will be plasterboarding the inside and plastering but what to put inbetween and where to Ventilate??THANKS

      April 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dona Stallworth

    Piers, your comments about private education are inaccurate because you are making an incorrect assumption that private schools are more effective. The data we have gathered in Texas proves over and over on multiple measures that most public schools are vastly more effective than most private schools. Are there individual exceptions, you betcha. Wouldn't the world be a sweet place if everything was 100% good or 100% bad .... No come think of it, the only way that works is if we are all 100% the same – vive la difference!

    Ms. Orman is absolutely correct. You can get a lousy education at Harvard, Yale or Stanford. You can also get an incredible education at public universities. The difference in the quality of education received at that level is largely the student receiving it. Beyond that – in my 40 years of professional work, no one has ever asked me in a job interview where I got any of my degrees.

    Love your show. Thanks for having such fascinating guests and doing such insightful interviews.
    Dr. Dona Stallworth
    Austin, TX

    March 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Red

    Piers, you are more suited for MSMBC. You are a so uneducated and Susie O was so kind to not call you out as clueless. You are as bad as the Joy Behar, and I hope CNN will send on your way. You just can not carry on an intelligent conversation. "Ask Apple to cut profits" to make a cheaper product. If you weren't so out of touch you would have followed up on Suzi Ormans comments, It is THE UNIONS and their demands for pensions and excessive work groups and conditions, that ruin the US manufacturing environment. Just like all the cities that are going broke. This is of course, the sacred secret, since unions own Congress and you.

    March 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Anderson

      Mar30Brian L Liked the article but loved the oopths Sam. Training jiu jitsu is such a great long term activity for any age. I would encourage anyone to come out and train.

      April 3, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mario gonzalez

    Mr hall was great host and he should be used more often. He has a pulse in America what to hear and his interview with magic cannot be done by mr Morgan. Great job Mr Hall amd it was must TV.


    March 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Beleuchtung

    You realize therefore significantly in the case of this matter, produced me individually believe it from a lot of varied angles. Its like women and men aren't involved unless it's one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. Always handle it up!

    April 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    April 5, 2012 at 12:58 am | Report abuse | Reply

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