Like music, golf has played an important role in Justin Timberlake’s life. Stepfather Paul Harless “introduced me to the game” at a young age, the singer, 37, has said. “If I’m playing against him, it’s no holds barred. There’s no letup. We’re both grown men. I can accept losing, and I know that he can take an ass-whupping.”
But after Paul’s 2016 dementia diagnosis, the ’NSYNC alum felt as if he was losing his partner. As Paul’s memory and communication skills worsened, Timberlake “would have to keep really close tabs on him,” JT’s mom, Lynn Harless, exclusively reveals in the new issue of Us. “It was so difficult for Justin to watch. It’s been heartbreaking.”
But they’ve recently found new hope. Though Paul’s cognitive abilities began to decline rapidly in 2016, the family believes the 60-year-old is on the mend, thanks to the work of energy healer Charlie Goldsmith.
In fact, according to Paul’s physician, the technique Goldsmith relies on (unique magnetic forces in his hands) has caused improvements in Paul’s recent brain scans. “I have never seen a response as dramatic as I have with Paul,” Dr. Rishi Sood, a neuropsychiatrist at NYC’s Amen Clinic, tells Us. “It’s really rare.” Declares a grateful and optimistic Lynn: “It’s a miracle.”
Even before the diagnosis, they were prepared for the worst. Aware that brain disease ran in Paul’s family, Lynn, 57, recalls “noticing little things here and there.” Those slip-ups became cause for major concern during an August 2016 cruise. Disoriented aboard the ship, “Paul said, ‘Do you know what time we’re supposed to get back on the boat?’ ” Lynn notes. “It was the middle of the night.”
Immediately, the duo of more than 30 years began meeting with doctors. “It seemed like every other week he was taking another test,” Lynn reveals. “We did cryotherapy, changed his diet, did liquid crystal amethyst therapy.” But nothing seemed to work for Paul, a master chess player who was now unable to remember a four-item grocery list. “He started hermiting in his office,”she admits. “I’m a perky person, but I was in the darkest place.”
A potential new path soon presented itself. Flipping through the TV channels one night, Lynn found Goldsmith’s TLC show, The Healer. Intrigued, she went to daughter-in-law Jessica Biel for a second opinion. “I said, ‘Jessie, have you seen this guy?’” Lynn notes. “She said, ‘No, I haven’t.’ ” But Biel, 36, revealed that her own mother had. “ She asked me the same question this morning,” Lynn recalls Biel saying. “ She thinks he might be able to help Paul.”
That was all Lynn needed. After she direct-messaged the Australia-based healer on Instagram, he began to work on Paul, who resides in Nashville, Tenn. (“I close my eyes and focus on the part of the body that needs assistance,” he explains to Us of his method.)
According to the family, the results were instant. The next morning, “Paul was back,” gushes Lynn. “He walked in the kitchen and said, ‘Good morning, baby.’ He kissed me, let the dog out and sang to the bird. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.”
Indeed, science seems to back up his surprising progress. Since Goldsmith has begun treating Paul, his physician says he’s seen improvement in his patient’s memory and communication: “It’s been quite inspiring.” (Dr. Samuel Gandy, who hasn’t treated Paul, is more skeptical. With dementia, “stabilization is all we can hope for,” the neurologist at NYC’s Mount Sinai tells Us. “There are some rare moments of flashes of function that are poorly understood, but they occur regardless of medication.”)
Moving forward, the family remains cautiously optimistic. Though Goldsmith continues his work — he’s treated Paul remotely and in person in NYC — Timberlake’s stepdad still has off moments. “When he’s in a bad place, he doesn’t know,” says Lynn. “But if he’s in a good place, he realizes it.”
For now, they’re embracing breakthroughs, big and small. Once too confused to pay at a restaurant, Paul recently “reached over and grabbed the bill,” says Lynn. “He hasn’t done that in months.” In her eyes, it was all simply about timing. As she tells Us, “The stars just had to line up.”
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