Eminem has revealed that Elton John came to his aid during his addiction to painkillers.

According to the rapper, Sir Elton offered him advice on how to rid himself of the addiction which developed during his break from the limelight in 2005, when he temporarily quit the rap scene.

Speaking to the Detroit Metro Times, Eminem, 36, said of the singer: “Me and him have had similar lives and stuff. We became friends and I talk to him about things, career-wise. When I first wanted to get sober, I called him and spoke to him about it. He’s somebody who’s in the business and can identify and relate to the lifestyle and how hectic things can be.”

Sir Elton, 62, has also recovered from his own drug problems, having checked into rehab in 1990 to recover from his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Eminem continued: “He understands.the pressure and any other reasons that you want to come up with for doing drugs.”

The rapper’s friendship with the openly gay music legend may surprise those familiar with his seemingly homophobic lyrics.

In a song entitled Criminal on his second studio album. The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem’s lyrics include: “My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That’ll stab you in the head, whether you’re a fag or lez/ Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest/Pants or dress? Hate fags? The answer’s yes”.

Despite this, Sir Elton has performed with Eminem on stage, and defended his decision to do so. “I honestly don’t think people will go out and start beating and killing people because of this album,” he said. “It appeals to my English black sense of humour.”

However, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said in 2001 that Eminem’s website was full of emails from fans railing against “sluts” and “faggots”, including Sir Elton.

On his new album The Relapse, Eminem shows no sign of changing his lyrical style with lyrics such as these aimed at Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson: “He does not mean to lesbian offend/ But Lindsay please come back to seeing men/ Samantha’s a 2, You’re practically a 10.”

Homophobic or not, Eminem may partly owe the success of his recent comeback to Sir Elton, one of showbusiness’ the most vociferous supporters of gay rights.