Cookie Johnson The Journey of Strength, Love and Advocacy

Cookie Johnson is widely known as the wife of NBA legend Magic Johnson, but her story extends far beyond being a supportive partner to one of basketball’s greatest players. She is a successful businesswoman, a dedicated philanthropist, and a loving mother. This article delves into Cookie Johnson’s life, career, and the significant impact she has made through her advocacy and business endeavors.

Early Life and Education

Background and Upbringing

Cookie Johnson, born Earlitha Kelly on January 20, 1959, in Huntsville, Alabama, grew up in a close-knit family. She later moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she spent most of her childhood. Cookie’s upbringing was marked by strong family values and a deep sense of community, which played a crucial role in shaping her character and resilience.


Cookie attended Michigan State University, where she earned a degree in retailing of clothing and textiles. Her education provided a solid foundation for her future career in fashion and business. During her time at Michigan State, she met Earvin “Magic” Johnson, setting the stage for a lifelong partnership.

Marriage to Magic Johnson

A Love Story

Cookie and Magic Johnson’s love story began in college, and despite the ups and downs, their relationship has remained strong for over four decades. The couple married on September 14, 1991. Their union has been a testament to their commitment, love, and mutual respect.

Facing Challenges Together

One of the most significant challenges they faced was Magic Johnson’s HIV diagnosis in 1991, just two months after their wedding. Cookie’s unwavering support and strength were instrumental during this challenging time. She stood by Magic’s side, advocating for HIV awareness and contributing to changing the public perception of the disease.

Career and Business Ventures

Fashion Line: CJ by Cookie Johnson

Cookie Johnson’s passion for fashion led her to create her own clothing line, CJ by Cookie Johnson, in 2009. The brand focused on premium denim for women of all shapes and sizes, celebrating diversity and body positivity. The jeans were designed to be both stylish and comfortable, catering to women who wanted to look good and feel good.

Success and Impact

CJ by Cookie Johnson quickly gained popularity and was featured in major department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. The brand’s success highlighted Cookie’s entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to connect with consumers on a personal level. Although the line is no longer in production, its impact on the fashion industry and body positivity remains significant.

Philanthropy and Advocacy

HIV/AIDS Awareness

Following Magic Johnson’s HIV diagnosis, Cookie became an ardent advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness. Together, the couple established the Magic Johnson Foundation, which focuses on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment, as well as educational programs and community empowerment.

Supporting Minority Communities

Cookie Johnson has been actively involved in supporting minority communities through various initiatives. She has worked to promote health and wellness, education, and economic empowerment, particularly in underserved areas. Her efforts have helped improve the quality of life for many individuals and families.

Empowering Women

Cookie’s work extends to empowering women through mentorship and support. She has spoken at numerous events, sharing her experiences and encouraging women to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles. 

Family Life


Cookie and Magic Johnson are proud parents to three children: Andre, Earvin III (EJ), and Elisa. Despite the challenges they have faced, the Johnsons have prioritized family, creating a loving and supportive environment for their children. Cookie’s role as a mother has been central to her life, and she often shares the joys and challenges of parenthood in her public appearances and interviews.

EJ Johnson’s Journey

One of the most public aspects of their family life has been supporting their son EJ’s journey as a gay man. Cookie and Magic Johnson have openly expressed their unconditional love and support for EJ, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Their public stance has helped many other families navigate similar experiences with love and understanding.

Public Speaking and Media Appearances

Book: “Believing in Magic”

In 2016, Cookie Johnson published her memoir, “Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith.” The book offers an intimate look at her life, including her marriage, motherhood, and the challenges they have faced together. It provides valuable insights and inspiration for readers, showcasing Cookie’s resilience and faith.

Inspirational Speaker

Cookie is also a sought-after speaker, often sharing her experiences and insights at conferences, events, and in media interviews. Her ability to connect with audiences through her authentic storytelling has made her a powerful voice for women, families, and those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is Cookie Johnson’s real name?

A1: Cookie Johnson’s real name is Earlitha Kelly. She earned the nickname “Cookie” during her childhood.

Q2: How did Cookie Johnson meet Magic Johnson?

A2: Cookie Johnson met Magic Johnson while they were both students at Michigan State University. Their relationship began in college and has endured through many challenges.

Q3: What is CJ by Cookie Johnson?

A3: CJ by Cookie Johnson was a premium denim line launched by Cookie Johnson in 2009. The brand focused on creating stylish and comfortable jeans for women of all shapes and sizes, promoting body positivity and diversity.

Q4: How many children do Cookie and Magic Johnson have?

A4: Cookie and Magic Johnson have three children: Andre, Earvin III (EJ), and Elisa.

Q5: What philanthropic work is Cookie Johnson involved in?

A5: Cookie Johnson is actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness through the Magic Johnson Foundation, as well as initiatives supporting minority communities, health and wellness, education, and economic empowerment.

Q6: What is the focus of Cookie Johnson’s memoir “Believing in Magic”?

A6: Cookie Johnson’s memoir, “Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith,” focuses on her life, including her marriage to Magic Johnson, motherhood, and the challenges they have faced together, particularly around Magic’s HIV diagnosis.

Q7: How has Cookie Johnson supported her son EJ’s journey?

A7: Cookie Johnson has openly supported her son EJ’s journey as a gay man, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Her public support has helped many families navigate similar experiences with love and understanding.

Q8: What are Cookie Johnson’s contributions to the fashion industry?

A8: Cookie Johnson contributed to the fashion industry through her denim line, CJ by Cookie Johnson, which focused on premium jeans for women of all sizes. The brand celebrated diversity and body positivity, making a significant impact before it ceased production.

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