In order for 14-year-old groupie Julia Holcomb (Holcolm) to move in with him in Boston in 1975, Steven Tyler persuaded her parents to grant him guardianship.
Tyler, who was 27 at the time, dated and engaged in drug use with Holcolm for three years until their relationship came to an end as a result of an unintended pregnancy that led to an abortion. At the age of 17, Tyler gave Julia back to her parents. To protect her identity, Julia is referred to as Diane Hall in the novel “Walk This Way.”
In a May 2011 interview, Tyler discussed how the abortion still haunts him and how it sent him on a downward spiral. After the abortion, Tyler started dating Julia while continuing his romance with a famed groupie and Playboy model Bebe Buell. Bebe stated of Julia at the moment,
Poor Diana (Julia) made a lot of suicide calls when they were splitting up. Actually, it was a fairly depressing moment.
In the memoirs, Tyler also discusses his abortion experience.
A serious situation occurred. Growing anything with a woman is important, but they persuaded us that it wouldn’t work out and would ruin our lives. … When you visit the doctor, they insert the needle into her tummy and squeeze the medication in while you watch. And it exits lifeless. I was really in shock. Jesus, what have I done? I ask myself in my head.
I first met Steven Tyler at a performance in Portland, Oregon, in November 1973, just a few months after turning 16. You need to know some crucial background information to comprehend what causes a 16-year-old girl to wind herself backstage at an Aerosmith Rock Concert and in a three-year live-in relationship with Steven Tyler.
When my mother and I were little children, my biological father abandoned her. He was a lovely rogue gambler who came and went from our lives, leaving behind debt and unfaithfulness in his wake. When she learned she was pregnant, my mother had received encouragement to get an abortion (illegally) from a number of family members (the middle child). Thankfully, she was a loving mother who gave birth to both my brother and me. She filed for divorce after her little teaching paycheck was withheld due to Daddy’s gambling troubles. She had been a good mother to us even after the first divorce, taking us to church, reading the Bible to us each morning before school, singing to us at bedtime, and praying with us for our absentee father. She was kind and encouraging, and I always felt comfortable asking her for assistance. Things got complicated when my mother remarried my alcoholic first stepfather.
In the summer of 1971, when I was 13 years old, a terrible tragedy befell our family. On our way home from a camping trip with our grandparents, my younger brother was murdered in a vehicle accident. Ten years old was he. My sister and I were hurt, my grandma lost a limb, and my grandfather also died. My mother and my first stepfather were divorced as a result of a series of circumstances that were set off by the automobile accident and family turmoil.
After the divorce, when we went back to live with my mother, things changed. My mother appeared injured and pessimistic about life. We all found it difficult to cope with my brother’s passing without the support of the family or the church. Although they weren’t yet married, she was still a teacher and shared a home with my second stepfather. He is a man I have come to love and respect over the years, but back in the 1970s, when he lived with my mother, we didn’t get along because he was a different person than he is now.
Most of the time, my sister and I were left alone. I had previously been raised attending church, but after the tragedy, we simply stopped visiting. My sister and I started acting out and becoming irritated. When she was approximately 16, my sister left home and travelled the country on a backpacking trip with her boyfriend. With my sister gone, I was there at the age of 15 and felt unnecessary. I had the impression that I was getting in the way of my mother’s friendship with this new man.
My buddies shifted from youngsters we knew from church to kids who frequented the neighbourhood Teen Center. Some of them consumed alcohol and drugs.
Encountering Steven Tyler
I made friends with a girl who had access to backstage parties at concerts a few months before I met Steven while I was still 15 years old. She was 24 years old, and despite the short time I knew her, she had a significant impact on how my life turned out. Our friendship was among the most perilous I’ve ever had.
She swiftly showed me how to dress provocatively to attract attention and how to use sex as a hook to attempt to snag a rock star. I still recall getting ready for the Aerosmith event with the goal of meeting her backstage. I’d heard the song Dream On and recognised Steven’s image from the CD cover. Steven and I initially met after the performance, which is why I went to the show in the first place. I considered him to be the finest thing in my life at the moment. He was intrigued by my young age, my personal appeal, and my sad, sensitive narrative.
After I relocated to Boston, my mother granted Steven custody of me. Steven telling me she had signed the documents caught me off guard, and I recall struggling to process this. Knowing that I was his ward yet we were not married made me feel vulnerable. He had not made clear that he wanted to be my partner for a very long time. In order for me to traverse state borders while he was on tour, he had said that he required guardianship paperwork. My mother would not sign me over to him, I had informed him. I questioned him on how he managed to convince her.
I became lost in the rock and roll scene. Steven lived in a world of rock and roll, sex, and drugs, but it didn’t seem any less chaotic than the one I left behind. I would hardly survive, although I didn’t know that yet.
I used birth control pills when we initially moved in together. The claim that my pregnancy with Steven was unintended is untrue. After spending a few months together, Steven confided in me his wish to start a family. He had grown up in a rural area of New Hampshire and occasionally acted as a simple farm boy. He asked me whether I would be open to having a kid with him since he wanted to start a family.
His genuineness moved me, so I agreed. Since he had appointed himself as my guardian and was requesting to have children with me, I grew to want kids and started to think he must really love me. He threw my birth control pills down the street far below the hotel balcony where we were staying.
I became pregnant within a year. Contrary to what Steven has claimed, I had never previously been pregnant. Steven and I first welcomed the child with joy. I recall telling him, “I’m pregnant,” and judging by his response, I thought he was genuinely thrilled. A few months later, he proposed to me, and I accepted. To notify his parents about the baby and the marriage, he drove me to New Hampshire.
We were refused the ring by his grandma. She cared deeply about Steven but voiced worry that the ring might be lost to the family in the event of a divorce. From then, for the two of us, things swiftly became worse. Steven and I got into a fight after we left that night because I thought we should be married nonetheless and that he should get me a ring from a jeweller. Not at all.
Looking back, I don’t blame him for changing his mind once his parents voiced their worries. Even when a baby is on the way, marriage is a significant decision that shouldn’t be rushed into. I was still in a poor spot. The wedding was called off, and I was furious with him for not sticking up for me. I had believed I loved him, wanted to wed him, and he had even begged me to do so. After asking me to have a child with him and actively trying to make me pregnant, it looked like a shameful change of heart. For the first time, I understood that I had been foolish to have an unmarried kid with a man who might not have desired a committed commitment. Further complicating matters was his guardianship of me. I felt that I had no control over my life and that I was in a parent-child relationship with him. The test had arrived because I had put my confidence in him.
Fall 1975 was in full swing. We went back to our Boston apartment, and a few weeks later he was on tour with his band. I was living alone in the flat, eight months pregnant, with little food, little money, no education, no prenatal care, and no driver’s licence.
Every day, Steven would phone to check on me, and I would ask him for money to buy groceries. He assured me that Ray Tabano would be over the next day to take me shopping. Ray, who played guitar in the original band, was Steven’s boyhood pal. I can still picture myself waiting at the window for Ray. I opened the front door for him when he arrived at the flat.
The next thing I can recall is struggling to breathe when I awoke in a thick cloud of smoke. Ray had left. I stumbled from the couch in the living room and hit the ground. The room was being filled with dense black smoke, but the couch wasn’t on fire and I wasn’t getting burned. Even though the smoke was less dense on the floor, I could hardly see.
Though terrified, I managed to remain composed enough to recall Bill Cosby’s Learn Not To Burn advertisements. One piece of advice was to lie down on the floor in a smoke-filled room since the air is cleaner there. I was aware that the time I had to leave that place was limited. I rolled off the couch and crept to the front door, which was right there. On the entrance door of the flat, there were at least three locks.
The door’s handle had a keyed lock, a deadbolt, and a security bar that angled downward to the floor. Because Steven often kept narcotics in the house and had experienced a break-in at our previous flat on Beacon Street, he insisted on keeping these secured at all times. I was unable to move the security bar since all of the locks were locked. The rear staircase that down to the kitchen and an exterior escape was where I needed to go since I was choked up.
Smoke, heat, and flames were shooting up the steps as I arrived there. The top of the rails was searing hot. Before I understood it was impossible to descend those steps through that fire, I burned one of my hands while holding the railing. No way out existed.
My thoughts returned to Bill Cosby. He had stated in one of those advertisements that an empty fireplace is an excellent spot to seek refuge if you find yourself caught in a fire. I scurried over to our bedroom fireplace and collapsed inside. The flue was open, and it was both clean and empty. Although there was a little pocket of air where I was lying on the floor, the room was filled with black smoke that was rising up the chimney. I realised I was about to pass away as I started to lose consciousness. I was terrified and totally alone. Because of my numerous misdeeds, I thought I deserved to go to hell, and I didn’t feel ready to pass away.
I received the photo from my mother after I told her I was expecting, and I put it above the fireplace at Steven’s apartment. I was now laying beneath it and was almost dead. I prayed as I recalled one of the Bible verses my grandma had taught me and thought of her.
“I commit my heart into thy hands, O Lord God of truth; thou hast rescued me.”
I was thinking about the last words said by Jesus as he was dying on the cross. Even though I didn’t expect to live, when I closed my eyes, I felt a profound sense of calm.
The nightmare intensifies
In the hospital, I came to. My arm was attached to an IV, and the doctor began speaking to me in a childlike manner. Do you know your name, he questioned. I said, “Julia Holcomb is my name. He continued to interview me, and he was happy to discover that I had not had brain damage despite inhaling a lot of smoke. I also made it through the flames while carrying the baby.
In my hospital room, Steven was present. He was really disturbed and expressed his happiness at seeing me still alive. Steven informed me that a wrist artery had been used to measure my blood oxygen level. The final time the nurse took it, she sobbed bitterly and exclaimed, “She’s so young,” as she worried that I wouldn’t survive. Steven informed me that the doctor did not anticipate my survival and believed that brain damage from the lack of oxygen would result even if I survived. I clutched to the teddy bear he gave me. He informed me that I had received several cards and flowers from well-wishers. I slept asleep once more since I was too exhausted to speak.
Why Women Abort
Steven entered the room after the doctor had left. He advised me to undergo an abortion due to the smoke damage to my lungs and the lack of oxygen I had experienced. I said, “No. I want the baby.” In my fifth month of pregnancy. I found it hard to comprehend that at this point, he was even asking me to get an abortion. He persuaded me to undergo the abortion for more than an hour.
He said that because I had used drugs and been in the fire, I was too young to have a child and that it would be born with brain damage. I grew really quiet and said, “No,” several times. I argued that while I was still in the hospital, I shouldn’t be expected to make that choice. He insisted that I get the abortion right away. He said that I was too far along to wait since getting an abortion in another week would be against the law.
I was transferred to a separate area of the hospital, and a new physician carried out the abortion. I’ll never forget that horrific nightmare. The event left me traumatized. I was the only one who could protect my kid from harm, so I gave in to pressure out of worry about being rejected and the future. I wished I could go back in time and had another chance to decline the abortion. I sincerely wish I could have witnessed the infant’s development into a man.
What to expect from the operation was not described by the doctor. Steven observed the doctor insert a big needle into my uterus. I was then led into a room where I could observe the contractions. Until it was over, Steven sat next to me in the hospital. He was sniffing cocaine on the table next to my bed when the nurse would leave the room. He even gave me some, but I just walked away, feeling ill. Steven, who was under the influence of cocaine, was emotionally cut off while he observed the surgery and didn’t respond with the usual terror you might anticipate. At the moment I was astonished and upset by his actions.
But I now see that on some unconscious level, he must have been traumatized by seeing the brutal and up-close death of his first-born son. When we were in New Hampshire, Steven told me that he had seen the baby emerge and that it had been delivered alive and left to die. (I was not permitted to witness the birth of the child.) Later, Steven revealed to me that the victim had been a boy and that he was now overcome with fear and profound guilt for what he had done. I had no idea that such a thing was permissible. I had trouble picturing a society in which a helpless infant might be born alive and abandoned without ever seeing his mother’s face.
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Even though I didn’t go back home for more than a year, nothing was ever the same between us after that day. After the abortion, I become quite reclusive and silent. I could never look at Steven again without thinking of what he had done to our kid and me when I was mourning the loss of my baby. I had recently survived a terrifying fire that almost killed me, but the abortion made me feel like a part of me had died along with my child. I was upset with myself for accepting something that I knew was wrong and felt deceived and betrayed. My feelings against the doctor who conducted the abortion were intense resentment and nearly hatred.