Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler—who once adopted, dated, and impregnated a then 16-year-old named Julia Holcomb—has, at the age of 70, opened a facility in Memphis for girls who have been neglected or abused.
The safe haven, Janie’s House, is named after an Aerosmith song, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” about a girl who suffers familial abuse. Tyler’s foundation, Janie’s Fund, donated $500,000 to the center. The Hill reported that this is the second location to be established, the first opened in Atlanta in 2017.
To celebrate the grand opening on Monday, Tyler reportedly cut a scarf, which worked just as well as a ribbon. At the event, Tyler added some words: “This does my heart and my soul good. This is real.” He attributed the inspiration for the center to spending time at a treatment facility himself. “While I was there,” said Tyler “all the girls I met had been abused either physically, mentally, or verbally, or at least 90 percent of them all.”
The news reports are all similar, and none that I came across mentioned Tyler’s relationship with Holcomb, which she wrote about extensively in 2011 for LifesiteNews. Jezebel covered the account in detail when it was first published, but the lineaments are these: Holcomb says she met Tyler in 1973, when she had just turned 16, having enduring a litany of tough circumstances in her family life. Shortly after, Holcomb’s mother signed over guardianship of her to Tyler. “He had mentioned that he wanted guardianship papers so I could travel across state lines when he was on tour,” she wrote. And later, in the lead-up to discussing her pregnancy and subsequent abortion, “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.” Later, Holcomb said she landed in the hospital after their apartment caught fire when she was five months pregnant, at which point Tyler coerced her into getting an abortion.
NME reported on the Atlanta facility when it opened a little over a year ago, and it included details of Holcomb’s account. CNN did not, although it did mention that Tyler has three daughters and tried his hand at interior design. Then, as now, Tyler emphasized the influence rehab had on his decision to open these facilities. In doing so, Tyler identifies himself with those who endure and observe trauma, not those who inflict it.