Before there was One Direction, *NSYNC, Boyz II Men or even New Kids on the Block, there was New Edition – the original boy band of the ‘80s which paved the way for many groups to come.
Although he wasn’t part of the original lineup, Johnny Gill was an integral part of the band when he replaced Bobby Brown before moving on to have a solo career. For years, Gill has been surrounded by rumors that he was involved in a gay love affair with comedian Eddie Murphy, and in a revealing new interview, he spoke with “omg! Insider's” Kevin Frazier about all of these rumors and much more.
"There have always been questions about your sexuality, why?" Frazier asked Gill.
"If I could tell you why I sure would have by now … at this point in time I would have been able to cure that issue … to get rid of that issue," he explained. "I took (sic) for the life of me never, never understood where it came from, why it lasted as it's lasted."
In many ways, Gill, who will be featured in a new episode of TV One's "unsung," which airs tonight, said that he sees the rumors to be the result of a bygone era, and yet he himself has progressive views about what it means to be gay.
"I mean, you gotta remember, before there was Twitter, and Facebook, and all this other stuff, you know there was just the rag magazines. Whatever they say it was like that was the truth. People believe whatever it was," he said. "But I don't feel as bad anymore, because when I go on the Internet everybody's gay … I've just always been a very private person."
He continued, "Let me make sure we are clear on something. Whether it's being called gay, accused of being gay, accused of a thief, accused of being anything or somebody's lying [about] you and saying something about you that's not true, it just doesn't feel good … I have such compassion for gay people now more than ever. Just simply because in some odd way I've been able to walk in their shoes or to see … how they feel and how people treat them and deal with them because of their sexuality."
And Gill explained to Frazier that he decided to take a lie detector test about rumors that he was romantically linked to his good friend Eddie Murphy … mainly because he didn't want his girlfriend to have any doubt about his love for her.
"I'm going to tell you guys something off the record that I know my girlfriend probably won't be happy with me for saying this, to talk about this. But I'm going to say it. When we first got together – we've been together for five years – there was so much stuff floating around why are you dating this guy, this guy, he's gay, blah, blah, blah, Eddie Murphy. All this stuff is going on and I'm like, 'Do you believe it?' She says, 'No, I just hear everybody just keeps saying,' and I said, 'Let me tell you something. Here's what we are going to do…' Woke up, we got the yellow pages, and you know, I mean, that was five years ago … So, we called this guy, he brought out his machine, strapped down to take a lie detector test. I wrote down questions, I made her write down questions … When the guy called back with the results and we both laying there in the bed. Tears came down … I would never want to lay next to someone that might even remotely have any doubt or question of who I am."
Frazier went on to ask, “Why has this been one of the great urban myths in Hollywood? The hush, hush thing you don't talk about? Johnny and Eddie Murphy they have this relationship … they're together every day. They eat together every night. These two are a couple and everything else is a coverup. Where does that come from and why is that?"
"Eddie could care less about it,” said Gill. “Eddie has always been Eddie and … anybody that knows Eddie, Eddie lives Eddie's life and he looks at you straight up and tell you, 'Ah keep messing with me and I'll hit you with my wallet and knock you out.'"
Gill also talked about being on tour with his New Edition band mate Bobby Brown just over one year ago when the news broke about the death of his ex-wife, Whitney Houston.
"You were with Bobby the day Whitney passed away … what was that like?" Frazier asked.
"When it hit, it hit like a ton of bricks for everybody and we were trying to figure it out," Gill said. "Do we go forward with this? What do we do? How do we deal with this?" (New Edition was criticized by some in the media for performing on the night they learned of her death.)
"And Bobby came in, and I remember him telling all of us, 'I know Nippy and she would want us to go forward.' It was one of the most painful things I think I ever witnessed. And to go out on stage and to go, 'Are we gonna be able to go through this?' That was a challenge that showed me what everybody was made of."
Gill also spoke about Whitney's daughter, Bobbi Kristina. "Bobbi Kristina is in a place … I believe that she is on a path, on a road. I honestly believe that she's gonna … it's a tough thing for her to do but she's gonna have to figure it out. I have great faith that she's gonna be fine."
Gill, whose career started at the age of 14, said that he feels sorry for today's teen stars.
"Justin [Bieber's] in trouble," Gill told Frazier. "Justin is just a kid and he's growing up in front of our eyes. People have him under a microscope and he's not being allowed room for error. People beginning to criticize him and he doesn't know how to deal with it."
"Hey, I tripped too – I went crazy,” he continued. “There's no blueprint when you become a star, someone to tell you how you're supposed to act, how you're supposed to deal with the money. You got to learn it as you go."
Finally, Gill talked about the financial problems that have plagued him in adulthood, although his story has a happy ending.
"I was devastated, to work hard and to find out you got to get rid of things you worked hard for," he said. "It got so bad that I, I didn't lose my house. I wound up selling it in order not to lose it. I sold my cars, not cause they took them but I had to sell them in order make sure and get my debts paid and do what needs to be done. … So, it was hard, it was the hardest thing to do … And I never had a drug problem, I was never a big partier, I was none of that. All I did was spend money on having fun, flying around, and enjoying my family and doing things, and buying things I enjoyed doing. I didn't have any vices."
"So, what happened?" Frazier asked.
"I think not being on top of my business, the way I should have been. It's the way I am today … I have to credit Barry [Bonds] for doing that. Barry told me in 1992, something like that, '93, he brought over a computer and said, 'Dude, you need to be on top of your finances. You can see all your stuff, your financial records, they can't move anything out of your bank account, even your accountants without your approval and you can go online and see all this. I was like, 'Man, those are for nerds. Are you kidding me?' They were intimidating – it was just intimidating. You look at a computer if you don't know anything about it, you're thinking, 'Shoot, I'm not messing with that! Are you crazy? You have to be some kind of wizard, some kind of genius to mess with that stuff.'"
Thankfully, although he lost everything, he earned it all back. Nowadays Gill is in strong financial shape with an estimated net worth of $10 million.
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