EJ Johnson, the son of NBA superstar Magic Johnson, has lost 50 pounds after undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery, E! reported. EJ, who stars on the reality TV show, “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills,” got gastric sleeve surgery five weeks ago.
“I feel very mature, kind of in the right place for it and I’m very ready to look cute,” said Johnson, 22. “The surgery is a huge deal for me and it will certainly be a positive change.”
In gastric sleeve surgery, about 80 percent of the stomach is removed to create a small sleeve-shaped stomach, about the size of a banana. As a result, you get full after three or four bites of food and can no longer eat huge portions.
EJ, who’s openly gay, is a fashion student at New York University who’s a self-proclaimed “fashion diva.” Johnson revealed he decided to get weight loss surgery on the Sept. 28 season finale of “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.” His gastric sleeve surgery and weight loss will be chronicled on “RKOBH” if the show gets picked up for a third season.
Johnson, who has struggled with weight his entire life, said getting bariatric surgery was not the easy way out. “A lot of people think it’s the easy way out, but it’s not,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction, just a big push.”
Johnson echoed the sentiments of comedian Rosie O’Donnell, who recently lost 53 pounds after getting vertical gastric sleeve surgery. O’Donnell, who had suffered a heart attack in 2012 and was pre-diabetic before her bariatric procedure, wants to disabuse people of the idea that weight loss surgery is an easy decision.
“Once you have the surgery, it’s not a magic pill,” said Rosie. “It’s still hard. You have to risk your life, and you’re in severe discomfort for a couple of months, and it forces you to modify your behavior when you haven’t been able to before.”
Bariatric surgeons agree with O’Donnell, and are troubled by the stigma surrounding weight loss surgery. “People lose sight of the fact that the patients aren’t just obese, they’re sick,” bariatric surgeon Dr. Alan Wittgrove told CNN. “It’s not as easy as just losing weight.”
Wittgrove said it’s unfair that weight loss surgery is viewed as the lazy person’s way out of obesity, saying no one would accuse someone who gets cancer surgery of being lazy.
EJ was once a guest on “Fashion Police” alongside the late Joan Rivers. When Rivers asked Johnson about his relationship with his dad, Magic Johnson, EJ said his dad is extremely supportive of him. “We go shopping together all the time,” said EJ. “He helps me pick out clothes and bags. [We] share a common love of fashion and traveling.”
Magic Johnson recently told Oprah Winfrey he loves and supports his son no matter what, and had long suspected EJ was homosexual. “I would say it was a shock in the beginning, but also I knew [he was gay],” said Magic. “I was just waiting on him to tell me, and he did.
“I told him, ‘EJ, I love you, so I’m going to support you no matter what.’ And I think it made him feel good because he wanted my approval. He wanted my support.”