Elton John accepted a $1 million concert at the wedding of a gay marriage opponent because he wanted to “build bridges”, his civil partner says.

He received some criticism for playing at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding earlier this month.

The conservative commentator is against gay marriage and has been accused of homophobia and racism in the past.

John’s civil partner David Furnish told People magazine: “To put it in Elton’s exact words, when he got the invitation, he was ‘a little surprised’.

“And then, when it turned out to be a genuinely sincere invitation… Elton said, ‘Life is about building bridges, not walls’.”

Furnish said the performance went well and the two couples could become friends.

He said: “I wasn’t there, but from everything Elton told me, he said Rush and his bride were incredibly charming and welcoming. And they have said they want to come and have dinner with us in England, if they pass through in their travels.”

John was accused by one American gay news website of being a “whore” for accepting Limbaugh’s invitation.