Magic Johnson Explains How He and Wife Cookie Met At a College Party: 'Caught a Brother's Eye'

The NBA legend said that wife Cookie's college roommate wanted to date him first

Magic Johnson and Cookie Johnson
Photo: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Earvin "Magic" Johnson knew he wanted to be with his wife Cookie since the first night they met.

On Tuesday, Magic, 63, appeared on the Jennifer Hudson Show and told host Jennifer Hudson about "the beautiful situation" of a mutual friend introducing him to Cookie, also 63, during a party at Michigan State University in the late '70s.

"A friend of ours knew her, and she knew me, but we didn't know each other," Magic explained on Tuesday.

"So we were coming to a party, it was a party, and she came walking in with the tightest jeans I've ever seen, caught a brother's eye," the Los Angeles Lakers legend said, earning laughter from the show's in-studio audience.

Magic explained that he and Cookie were introduced briefly before Cookie hit the dance floor for the evening.

"So Jennifer, I'm watching her all night, I didn't dance one time, but I'm watching her dance, and Cookie can dance," Magic told Hudson.

"Aw man, she went down to the floor, bow bam bam, and I said, 'Oh, I'm all ready,' " he added.

Magic explained that by the end of the evening, he was determined to get Cookie's phone number, so he waited by the door of the party as guests left.

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"She was one of the last people [there]. I said, 'Listen, you and I gotta get to know each other,' " Magic said. "What was crazy — you're gonna love this — her roommate had told her three weeks earlier that 'I got to get Magic Johnson.' "

When Hudson, 41, expressed skepticism about how Cookie might have reacted to her college roommate trying to date Magic instead, the NBA legend reminded the host that this coincidentally happened before Magic and Cookie actually met.

"Her roommate told her, 'I'm gonna meet Magic Johnson, he's going to be my boyfriend.' Isn't that crazy?" Magic said. "And then I meet Cookie first, and the rest is history."

Magic and Cookie wed in Sept. 1991, after some ups and downs in their relationship. The NBA star welcomed son Andre Johnson with an ex-girlfriend, Melissa Mitchell, in 1981, before getting back together with Cookie.

One month after their wedding, Magic was diagnosed with HIV. He said last year that telling Cookie was the "hardest" thing he ever had to do.

"It was hard because I loved her so much and I hated to hurt her," Magic said in an interview with CBS Mornings' Gayle King. "I've played against some of the best basketball players in the world, right? I've been in championships. I've been in nine [NBA] Finals, so I know pressure. But there was no greater pressure than driving home to tell her."

Cookie was also newly pregnant with their first child, son Earvin III "E.J." Johnson.

"The key moment was when Cookie took the test and the results came back that her and the baby was fine," the retired NBA star told King, adding he was "scared to death" beforehand.

"I wanted to make sure that she was going to be okay, the baby was going to be okay, and then I can move forward with making sure I was going to be okay," the former Lakers president said. The couple also later adopted a daughter, Elisa, in 1995.

(L-R) Elisa Johnson, EJ Johnson, Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson, Lisa Johnson and Andre Johnson. MediaPunch/Shutterstock

Magic marked 30 years of living with HIV in November 2021. A month earlier, he celebrated his wife on their 30th anniversary.

"Cookie, our 30 year marriage has been the best time of my life," he wrote on Instagram. "Ever since the day I laid eyes on you in 1978 I knew you were the one for me. I thank God every day for you and for bringing you into my life! You've made me a better man, person, husband, father, and businessman."

The Jennifer Hudson Show airs weekdays. Check your local listings for airtimes.

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