Who is Julia Holcomb? Aerosmith's Steven Tyler once adopted 16-year-old groupie, dated her and got her pregnant

REELZ is out with a new episode of 'Breaking the Band' featuring rock titans Aerosmith on January 31. But did you know about Steven Tyler's relationship with an underage girl?


                            Who is Julia Holcomb? Aerosmith's Steven Tyler once adopted 16-year-old groupie, dated her and got her pregnant
Steven Tyler (Getty Images)

In one of the more bizarre stories of 'rock and roll culture', Aerosmith's rockstar Steven Tyler once adopted a 16-year-old "groupie" Julia Holcomb and then dated her for three years while he was her guardian.

It was November 1973. Holcomb had just turned 16. At the time, Tyler was 25 years old. They met backstage at a concert in Portland, Oregon and Holcomb and the troubled teenager caught Tyler's interest. In an article she wrote in 2011 for LifesiteNews, she said that when she was 15, she had become friends with an older groupie who was 24.

She groomed Holcomb, teaching her to dress provocatively so she could "catch a rockstar". "I went to the concert hoping to meet Steven and after the concert, we met for the first time. At that time, I thought he was the best thing in my life. My sad, vulnerable story, as well as my youth and personal attractiveness, captured his interest," she wrote about meeting Tyler for the first time. She went to Boston with him soon after the concert.



 

 

Tyler then contacted Holcomb's mother and got her to sign over guardianship to him. Holcomb did not believe that her mother would sign over guardianship to him and remembered feeling vulnerable knowing she was his ward. "I asked him how he had got her to do it. He said, 'I told her I needed them for you to enroll in school'."  

From that point onward, Holcomb belonged to Tyler. She described him as her "only hope" at that point and became "lost in a rock and roll culture" of sex and drugs. Within a few months of being in a live-in relationship, Tyler spoke of his desire to have a child. Holcomb was still underage at this point and was taking birth control pills to avoid pregnancy while she was sleeping with Tyler.

"I wanted children and began to believe he must truly love me since he had made himself my guardian and was asking to have children with me. He threw my birth control pills off the balcony of the hotel where we were staying, into the street far below," she wrote about the events that led to her planned pregnancy.

"Within a year, I became pregnant.  I had never been pregnant before, contrary to what Steven has written," she wrote. By fall 1975, Tyler's ardor had cooled. He had backtracked out a marriage commitment after his father expressed concern about him marrying someone as young and immature as Holcomb. Tyler's grandmother was also skeptical about the marriage between the two.

Holcomb says she had no power at all in the unequal relationship at this point. "For the first time, I realized that I should not have been foolish enough to conceive a child outside of marriage with a man who might not be interested in a life-long relationship. His guardianship of me complicated things further. I was subordinate to him as in a parent relationship and felt I had little control over my life," she wrote about feeling betrayed after Tyler said he would not marry her despite impregnating her. But things were about to get even worse. 

It was the fall of 1975, three years after they first met. The fighting couple returned to their Boston apartment after a trip to meet the parents failed miserably. Tyler left within a few weeks to tour with the band.

"I was alone and pregnant in the apartment with no money, no education, no prenatal care, no driver’s license, and little food. Steven would call me every day to check in with me and I asked him for money to get groceries," she wrote of her situation. Tyler said he would send his friend Ray Tabano over the next day to take her shopping.

This is where Holcomb's account gets a little vague on the details. "I remember waiting by the window for Ray to arrive.  He came to the apartment and I let him in through the front door. The next thing I remember was waking up in a cloud of dense smoke fighting for air to breathe. Ray was gone," she wrote. Ray, reportedly, was also the one who convinced Tyler that abortion was the only solution when Holcomb was recovering in the hospital after being rescued. 

Tyler, on his advice, would then pressure Holcomb, who had just survived a fire, to undergo an abortion. "He spent over an hour pressing me to go ahead and have the abortion.  He said that I was too young to have a baby and it would have brain damage because I had been in the fire and taken drugs.  I became very quiet and repeated the answer “No” more than once. I said I should not be asked to make that decision while still in the hospital. He said I had to have the abortion now.  He said I was too far along to wait because it would be illegal for me to get an abortion in another week." she wrote. But her decision was still no. This is when Tyler threatened to abandon her and send her back to her mother's place to have the baby there. 

Holcomb crumbled. "I believed he was abandoning me as my father and my mother had. I began to cry and agreed to have the abortion," she said. By that time, Tyler was already cheating on her with Bebe Buell, who became pregnant with Liv Tyler.

Steven Tyler and Liv Tyler attend the premiere of 20th Century Fox's 'Ad Astra' at The Cinerama Dome on September 18, 2019, in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

 

Recalling how the relationship ended, Holcomb wrote: "Steven was already involved with other women at that time. The fact that he was my guardian complicated things for him because he was legally responsible for me. I was young, had dropped out of high school, and did not understand my legal rights at the time. I felt completely powerless. I left Steven in February 1977 and returned to live with my mother and stepfather. Steven called a few times after I returned home and then I never heard from him again."

The experience of the forced abortion traumatized her so much that she is now a pro-life advocate with the 'Silent No More' awareness campaign, an anti-abortion campaign. Holcomb, at the age of 70, opened a facility in Memphis for girls who have been neglected or abused.

Tyler, making 'amends' for his behavior to her, donated $500,000 through his foundation called Janie’s Fund. The safe haven, Janie’s House, is named after the Aerosmith song 'Janie’s Got a Gun', a song about a young girl facing abuse.  

Tyler reflected on his abortion experience in his autobiography. “It was a big crisis. It’s a major thing when you’re growing something with a woman, but they convinced us that it would never work out and would ruin our lives… You go to the doctor and they put the needle in her bell and they squeeze the stuff in and you watch. And it comes out dead. I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I’m going: ‘Jesus, what have I done?'”

However, Tyler has faced zero consequences for sleeping with an underage girl who was his ward, impregnating her, and abandoning her, which technically puts him in the same club as Woody Allen — except Allen actually married his ward.

Over the years, Holcomb's tragedy that Tyler forced on her has become his go-to story about how seeing his unborn son's fetus messed him up. In contrast, he has never spoken much about how he messed up Holcomb.

Holcomb, however, has been angered by how Tyler has talked about their time together including them having sex in public spaces — something Holcomb disputes. She said in an interview: "He has talked of me as a sex object without any human dignity. I have made a point over these long years never to speak of him, yet he has repeatedly humiliated me in print with distortions of our time together. I do not understand why he has done this. It has been very painful."

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