American Idol Spotlight Brings Awareness To Steven Tyler’s Aborted Baby Amid Rock-n-Roll Fame

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   6/8/2011

Only one item survived the fire: a picture of Jesus. Rock-n-roll icon Steven Tyler returned it to Julia Holcomb after she arrived home from the hospital. At that time she had recovered from the fire, but not from the abortion of their child.

Now, she has a story to tell. "Marriage and the family are the building blocks of all virtuous societies," Holcomb wrote. "I learned this lesson in a trial by fire that taught me to trust God’s plan no matter what occurs. I pray that our nation may also find its way back to God by respecting the life of unborn children and strengthening the sanctity of marriage."

Holcomb recently wrote of the relationship and abortion she had shared with Steven Tyler, who was once the lead singer for Aerosmith and has more recently appeared as judge on American Idol. She reflected back 38 years when they met.

She was 16 years old and had used her body "as a hook to try to catch a rock star." She attended an Aerosmith concert and afterward met Tyler. "I thought he was the best thing in my life," she wrote.

Shortly after that, Holcomb's parents handed over her guardianship to Tyler, who said it was so she could "travel across state lines" with him while he was on tour. Feeling abandoned by her parents, she rode the waves of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, with Tyler in charge.

"I didn't know it yet, but I would barely make it out alive," Holcomb wrote.

After a few months of living together, Tyler began talking about having children, and Holcomb thought then that he must love her.

"He wanted a family," she wrote. When she agreed, he "threw my birth control pills off the balcony of the hotel where we were staying."

She became pregnant within a year and they traveled to New Hampshire to tell Tyler's parents about their pregnancy and desire to marry. Tyler asked his grandmother if he could give Holcomb her wedding ring. She declined, and that's when Tyler's heart seemed to turn.

"(Tyler's grandmother) loved Steven but expressed concerns that if we divorced, the ring would leave the family," Holcomb wrote. Tyler's father wasn't enthusiastic about the marriage, either. "Looking back, I do not fault (Tyler) for a change of heart after his parents expressed concerns. Marriage is a serious step that should not be jumped into, even when a baby is on the way," Holcomb wrote.

The unwed couple had a heated argument. Holcomb thought Tyler should buy a ring from a jeweler. He disagreed. Their relationship began spiraling downward, with Holcomb still under Tyler's guardianship.

In the fall of 1975, two years after the couple had met, Tyler began touring with his band, leaving his pregnant girlfriend in their Boston apartment alone. She had no money, education, prenatal care, driver's license, nor food.

Tyler called her daily. One time she asked him for money to buy food. He promised to send her one of his childhood friends to take her shopping.

"I remember waiting by the window for Ray to arrive," Holcomb wrote. She let him in. "The next thing I remember was waking up in a cloud of dense smoke, fighting for air to breath."

Ray was gone and Holcomb fell from the couch to the floor. She recalled commercials she had seen on how to respond in a smoke-filled room. She crawled low to the front door. All three locks were secured. She tried to unlock them but couldn't release the security bar. She headed for the back stairway. The railing was too hot to touch. She remembered that an empty fireplace was the safest location when trapped in a fire. She crawled to a fireplace with an open flue and found a small pocket of air on the floor where she was lying.

"As I began to fall unconscious, I knew I was about to die," Holcomb wrote. "I was frightened and felt so alone. I believed I deserved to go to hell because of my many sins and I did not feel prepared to die."

Holcomb fixed her mind on Jesus' final words on the cross: "Into your hands I commend my spirit, thow hast redeemed me Oh Lord God of truth."

"I did not expect to live and yet I felt great peace as I closed my eyes," she wrote.

She awoke in the hospital. Her doctor explained that Tyler had mentioned an abortion. Holcomb was five months pregnant. When she questioned the health of the baby, the doctor assured her that the baby seemed fine. Holcomb stated that she would not have an abortion. The doctor was supportive.

Tyler was more insistent, however, listing the "smoke damage to my lungs and oxygen deprivation I had suffered." Holcomb repeatedly stated "No," and that she should not be pressured into an abortion while still in the hospital. Tyler explained that it would be illegal for her to get an abortion after another week. He finally said that she could return to her mother and step-father and have the baby there if she desired. Holcomb didn't think she had their support nor financial resources. That's when she caved in.

"My baby had one defender in life: me," Holcomb wrote, "and I caved in to pressure because of fear of rejection and the unknown future. I wish I could go back and be given that chance again, to say no to the abortion one last time. I wish with all my heart I could have watched that baby live his life and grow to be a man."

Holcomb described the abortion as a "horrible nightmare." She was injected with a large needle and then taken to a room to undergo contractions. Tyler remained through it all.

"Steven (Tyler) watched the baby come out and he told me later, when we were in New Hampshire, that it had been born alive and allowed to die," Holcomb wrote. "(He) told me later that it had been a boy and that he now felt terrible guilt and a sense of dread over what he had done."

"I did not know such a thing could be legal," Holcomb wrote. "I could not imagine a world where a tiny baby could be born alive and tossed aside as worthless without ever seeing his mother's face."

Holcomb described how she became withdrawn after the abortion. "I had just lived through a horrific fire that nearly claimed my life, but the abortion made me feel like part of me died with my baby," Holcomb wrote. Living with Tyler served as a reminder of what he had done. She eventually left. "I came to him with nothing and I left him with nothing, except regrets," she wrote.

She returned to her mother and step-father. She began attending church with them and attended a retreat. It was there she became convicted of God and how "He loved me in spite of my sins," she wrote. She was soon baptized.

Holcomb obtained her GED and began working. She enrolled in college and met her husband, with whom she will celebrate 30 years of marriage this year.

Holcomb and her husband have seven children and additional grandchildren. One of her children is not biologically theirs, but came from a mother who "made the choice for life in a difficult pregnancy."

"Someone may say that my abortion was justified because of my age, the drugs, and the fire," Holcomb wrote. "I do not believe anything can justify taking a baby's life."

As for Tyler, Holcomb believes he was impacted by their abortion. Holcomb described how Tyler was "high on cocaine" and "emotionally detached" during the abortion.

"But I know now that on an unconscious level, he must have been traumatized witnessing the death of his first-born son in such a horrific and direct way," Holcomb wrote.

Since Tyler's relationship with Holcomb, Tyler has fathered at least four more children by three other women. One acted in his music video. Another became a model. Later, Tyler received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music and the University of Massachuesettes Boston. He's undergone treatment for drug abuse and in 2003 was diagnosed with Hepatitus C. His fame continues even though he is not performing with the band Aerosmith.

God has demonstrated His redemption in Holcomb's life and is certainly able to do the same for Tyler. After the fire, Holcomb had cleaned up that sooted picture of Jesus which Tyler had returned to her. It now hangs in the entry of her home. In a similar way, God has forgiven Holcomb and washed off the soot of her past, leaving behind the testimony of life which you have just read. May Steven Tyler, and our nation, experience the same redemption.

Editor's Note: Julia Holcomb sent her story to a pastoral associate of Priests for Life. It was then published by and can be found at

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