HIS ONLY INTERVIEW Mum hid gay uncle from me Aids fears stopped
my sex with women
Louise Gannon 08/06/2007
George Michael is in the dock at Brent Magistrates Court -
tomorrow he will be playing to thousands of screaming fans at
the new Wembley Stadium. But then his life has always been
marked by incredible highs and terrible lows...
lows include him being arrested in public toilets, falling
asleep at the wheel of his car and smoking marijuana on telly.
And the latest downpoint sees him in court facing a sentence for
driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
the last few weeks, the former Wham! heart-throb, who is worth
an estimated ú60million, has been forced to come to terms with
the fact that his private life has been spinning out of control.
it's this realisation that has prompted 43-year-old George's
frankest interview to date.
it, he reveals he only had three girlfriends before coming out,
why it took a tragedy for him to tell his mum and dad he was gay,
that the spectre of Aids stopped him sleeping with women, and
why he never fancied his straight Wham! bandmate, Andrew
was 29 when he came out to his parents. Yet his mother Lesley's
fears that her only son might have inherited a "gay gene"
overshadowed his childhood in North London.
brother Colin - who was suspected of being homosexual - had
mother had this fear of me being gay," explains George.
"She had this definite fear that I was going to be like her
brother - she thought that it meant I wouldn't cope with life.
almost felt like she had brought this gene. So there were very
pointed areas where she let my dad be - supposedly protectively
was this gay waiter who lived above our family restaurant and I
wasn't allowed to go to the top flat when he was in the
restaurant. You know, in case I caught something. In case I
my father, he couldn't even consider he had a gay son because he
is of his generation, a Greek Cypriot man. But my mother was
afraid of my father's judgment of me. I also now realise she was
afraid that if the 'gene' was in me it would turn out the same
way for me as it had for Colin."
pays tribute to his dead uncle in the track My Mother Had A
Brother, on his latest album.
adds: "My mother didn't talk about her brother until I was
16. I don't know if that was a decision on her part or whether
she just plucked up the courage.
changed my opinion of her entirely because it wasn't just that -
she's also seen her own father die the same way. They'd both put
their heads in the gas oven. And, lucky old Mum, she found both
spent years being so remorseful that it's impossible to hold
that time against her. And in the last 20 years of her life, I
don't think we had a cross word actually."
his interview with Gay Times magazine, George explains that he
only came out of the closet to his parents after the death of
his first love, Brazilian dress designer Anselmo Feleppa.
met at the Rock In Rio festival in 1991 - six months later
Anselmo had an HIV test which proved positive. He died of an
Aids-related brain haemorrhage in 1993.
has said of that time: "I sat at the table not knowing if
this man I was in love with was terminally ill and not knowing
whether I was terminally ill. It was possibly the loneliest time
of my life."
was so traumatised by his loss that he no longer feared his
parents' reaction to his homosexuality and finally admitted all
in a letter.
wrote them a four-page letter which was the easiest thing I've
ever written considering it was the only unresolved issue - to
come out to my parents," says George.
mum said it was the most beautiful letter she had ever read,
that it explained completely how I felt and why she didn't have
to worry about me. It was the easiest thing that should have
been the most difficult.
should ask my dad to show it to me again."
the early years in Wham! George had girlfriends. He dated
actress Brooke Shields, model Pat Fernandes and makeup artist
Kathy Jeung. But he also took male lovers.
at the height of his fame, he became so terrified of Aids that
his love life became, in his words, "rubbish".
I had three girlfriends and all through that time I cruised as
well," he admits. "It only really used to happen when
I was beating myself up about something else.
played around with the idea that I was bisexual - mostly by
getting drunk. But then the HIV thing happened and I couldn't
sleep with a woman without telling her that I'd slept with a
my attraction to women was not strong enough to make that
conversation worth having. So I started not sleeping with them
had an absolute rubbish level of sex through that whole terror,
between 1985 and 1994 - with the exception of the sex I had when
I was faithful to my first real partner, Anselmo."
at school everyone had suspected Andrew Ridgeley of being gay,
recalls: "Andrew loved camp clothes. He'd go to school in
cherry silk trousers and have three little Adam Ant braids.
spent their time going: 'Is he gay?' And I'd go: 'He's really
was beautiful but not in a way that was going to attract me. He
was too pretty, too feminine, too elegant. I can understand
everyone thinking we were sleeping together - but he loves women."
when the two schoolpals found fame in Wham! pop pin-up George
felt it would be disastrous for their career to admit his true
lost my nerve," he says. "I wanted to come out but I
didn't realise how successful we were going to be. I think
that's understandable. I was nearly 20 and we were the biggest
band in Europe, and within two years the biggest pop band in
your goal is to become the biggest-selling artist in America
you're not going to make life difficult for yourself, are you?"
that is exactly what he did. In April 1998 he was arrested and
later convicted of trying to initiate sex in a public toilet
with an undercover policeman.
was the most shocking public outing imaginable - made worse by
the fact that George had found the new love of his life, Kenny
Goss. Sadly, the start of their relationship coincided with his
mother's battle with cancer - she died the following year.
met Kenny three years after Anselmo passed away," says
George. "I called my mother to tell her and she told me she
had cancer and she'd had some of it taken out. She convinced me
they'd got it all really early, which was bull**** as it turned
out. I was on my knees again. Just a horrible thing."
life has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster and this week
has been no different. But as he becomes the first artist to
play at the new Wembley tomorrow - before taking his 25 Live
tour around the UK - it is with the intention of beginning a new,
calmer chapter in his life.
plans to "work out who I am and where I am going". And
he and Kenny want to make their relationship official, although
he denies the rumours of an imminent ceremony.
going to be our wedding," insists George. "It's not
going to be Sonny and Cher.
long as I don't get myself into any more trouble - which,
believe me, I'm not going to."
revelations from George are in this month's Gay Times, out on