Denise Amerson: To me, there is one conversation to sum up who he was, in a nutshell. John had always been -- as well as my dad -- there for us. I was raised in a crazy, crazy world and they tried to keep some normalcy. John was always behind me, no matter what I wanted to do, what I did, or how much trouble I got myself into. He was right there and he never asked for anything in return. Except there was one time, when he did say that he needed to talk to me about something serious and I guess it was when he started to get really sick. He knew that he was really sick and I didn't know that he was, but he sat me down and told me that he needed something from me and that it was really, really important that I had to promise him.
I said, "Anything that you need."
He said, no matter what happens in life -- no matter how old I am, of if I'm married or not married, or if he's dead or alive -- he asked me to promise that I would never ever watch a movie with him in it. That was the only thing that he's ever asked of me and it was so extremely important to him.
I said, "Of course." I've kept that promise. I've never seen anything with him in it an I realized after he died why. When I really thought about John and about all the times he shared with our family, everything started to fit together about who he really was inside. I knew it was important to him because he was ashamed of that part of who he was.
If I had a date or something, he would feel that it was necessary for him to tell me that it's not good for girls to be promiscuous. He had nothing to worry about and I just thought that it was odd, and would come back with comments like, "Oh yeah, look who's talking. You slept with probably the entire nation and listen to your own advice."
He would always say, "That's my body, that's not my soul. That's the difference."
I'm not saying that he didn't reap the benefits. [He] milked it for everything he could and could have gotten out of the business at any time before he got involved as he did, but it was great for him in a lot of ways. But I think that inside, he just didn't want to be John Holmes anymore.