George Michael’s sister says he ‘was proud to be gay’ despite Elton John claims
Sir Elton John’s claim that George Michael was uncomfortable with his sexuality has been shot down by the Wham! singer’s sister.
Sir Elton spoke about his rocky relationship with Michael in a recent interview with Sharon Osbourne on her US chat show, The Talk.
The ‘Rocket Man’ singer said that Michael “resented” his hints that he “change his life a little bit,” and suggested that the he “didn’t want” to live any longer when he died of a heart attack on Christmas Day 2016.
“He couldn’t get it, George,” he said, referring to Michael’s struggles with addiction, and claimed that the singer was “so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay even though he said he wasn’t.”
Michael’s sister, Melanie Panayiotou, hit back at John’s comments in an interview with The Big Issue.
She described the late singer as “my ‘very proud to be gay’ brother, contrary to what you may have read recently.”
George Michael ‘never had a moral problem’ with being gay
Michael came out as gay in April 1998 after he was arrested by an undercover police officer for engaging in a sexual act in a Beverly Hills public toilet.
Boldly, he resumed his career six months later with ‘Outside’, a satirical, self-deprecating disco stomper which included the lyrics: “I’d service the community, but I already have, you see.”
For the song’s video, Michael dressed up in a police officer’s uniform and danced in a public bathroom transformed into a nightclub.
He later said that he had “never had a moral problem with being gay.”
I don’t have any shame about my sexuality.
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“I’m glad that it [the arrest] happened,” he told The Advocate.
“Which at the same time makes me wonder whether I subconsciously allowed it to happen.
“People are still telling me to be careful, but at the end of the day, all I can be is honest. I’ve reached a very good point of self-acceptance. I don’t have any shame about my sexuality.”
In his later life, Michael became known for his LGBT+ rights activism and his support for people living with HIV/AIDS.
He teamed up with Sir Elton in 1991 for a duet version of ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, the proceeds of which were donated to charities for HIV/AIDS, children and education.
However the pair’s relationship soured in later years after Sir Elton panned Michael’s 2004 album Patience, despite proceeds from the record being donated to the Elton John AIDS foundation.
The pair later put their differences aside to perform at the 2011 Elton John AIDS Foundation Ball.