Elton John has spoken for the first time about supporting Eminem in his battle to quit drugs.

Eminem revealed last May that the veteran singer offered him advice on how to rid himself of the painkiller addiction which developed during his break from the limelight in 2005.

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

Speaking to Danny Baker on his Radio 5 Live show at the weekend, John said: “I’ve been helping Eminem in the last 18 months and he is doing brilliantly.

“When you give it up, you tend to think everybody else has given it up, but of course it is just as prevalent as it ever was. And nowadays pills, such as downers, are even more damaging.”

John and his civil partner David Furnish recently said they were concerned about George Michael, saying his friends had approached them to ask for help with his alleged drug problems.

Michael later retaliated that the pair should keep their noses out of his business.

John said: “I’m there if people want my help. If people ask for help you can tell them where they should go, but there is no point advising someone if they don’t want to do it.”

“People used to tell me to clean my act up and I didn’t want to know,” he said.

“And I know that George has been very vocal in the papers saying that Elton should shut his mouth and how he is sure I would love him to come and bang on my door and ask for help.”

Of his own 16-year drug addiction, John said: “I didn’t want anybody’s help. I used to get very annoyed. In fact, I didn’t speak to some close friends for a year because they dared to tell me I was being an idiot.”