gives a studio interview at CNN in Los Angeles
sixteen years George Michael has been an international star, but
for the last week the international tabloids, specifically the
British tabloids, have been focusing a great deal on his
personal life following an arrest here in Beverly Hills on
Tuesday. And you're here to talk about this:
most certainly am. I'd like to put to rest some misconceptions
full stop, really, or period as you say here. The greatest
misconception of this week is that I've had the most hellish
well I'm not saying it's been a good time, but it has not been
the worst time in my life by any means. It's been humiliating,
embarrassing funny to some degree but I'm reading reports coming
back from London that I laid awake crying and was devastated and
this and that. And the truth was I laid awake quite angry at the
situation. And believe me, if this one gets over here: I did not
try to convince the arresting officer that I was looking for my
lottery ticket when he arrested me. Par for the fact that I
think they were trying to make me look greedy as well as
being the British press?
Yeah. But it's had its lighter moments. I've been living in a
circus, you know, in the middle of helicopters flying around my
house. Literally hundreds of people outside the house waiting
day and night for something I don't know what exactly. But I
just want to tell my fans, who I feel, apart from embarrassing
myself, I've embarrassed them to some degree. I just want to let
them know that I'm okay; that I know a lot of them realise I've
had a very tough time over the last 5 or 6 years. And I want to
let them know this is not going to finish me off. This is really
nothing compared to the bereavements I've had to deal with. Even
compared to the legal situations I've had to deal with, this is
kind of I was going to say a walk in the park, but I don't think
that would work here.
were actually taken into custody at a park in Beverly Hills?
I was alone.
you've chosen not to comment on the specifics because you were
arrested, but there have been no charges filed
not at liberty to talk about it, but not because I'm afraid to
talk about it, but simply because it's a legal situation that's
still up in the air and I don't know whether or not I'm going to
be charged with anything. I've been advised that I am not really
allowed talk about the detail of it.
you've been very open about the fact that it's something you're
not exactly thrilled with yourself for; you're angry with
yourself for putting yourself in this position
course. I put myself in a position where I risked all kinds of
things. I risked prosecution. I risked all of the things that
happened to me and I'm not proud of that at all. But the actual
the moral question at the centre of it - which ultimately would
not be a huge deal if it was a heterosexual moral question - the
moral question at the centre of it, I'm not ashamed of it at
sexuality has been a focus of tremendous attention
I think everywhere, to some degree. With pop stars or film stars,
we become the object of people's self-definition, as well as the
object of sexual definition. I think people like to think they
can spot a gay person as opposed to a straight person because it
makes them feel, in some way, a little more defined in
themselves. And if someone is on the borderline, which I've
always considered myself in terms of the way I appear to people
yeah. I think while it works very successfully in pop culture -
especially if you are trying to communicate something emotional
or sexual, that you're communicating with both men and women -
my sexuality was not cut and dried. I spent the first half of my
career being accused of being gay when I hadn't had anything
like a gay relationship. In fact, I was 27 before that happened
to me. So I spent years growing up being told what my sexuality
was, really, which is kind of confusing. And then by the time
I'd kind of worked out what it was and I'd stopped having
relationships with women, I was just so indignant about the way
I had been treated until then, I just thought, well, I'll just
hold on to this. They [the media] don't need to know. I don't
think I should have to tell them. But, you know, this is as good
a time as any
in unambiguous terms, what is it that you want to say?
want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm
in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a
relationship with a woman for almost ten years. I do want people
to know the songs that I wrote when I was with women were really
about women, and the songs I have written since have been fairly
obviously about men. So, I think in terms of my work, I've never
been reticent in terms of defining my sexuality. I write about
my life and I want people to know, especially people who loved
the earlier stuff, especially if they were young girls at the
time, there was no bullshit there.
why do you feel compelled to open up a very private part of your
life and make it so public?
I've kind of done that, haven't I? I've done that in a way that
I didn't really intend to. And, I think having done something as
stupid as that - I'm a very proud man - I want people to know
that I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having
allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don't feel
any shame whatsoever.
you feel that, in some fashion, you put yourself in this
subconsciously so you could address this issue that has
apparently been disturbing you?
I don't think so. I don't think I ever really wanted to address
it and certainly not quite this way. I think it was the danger
of the situation that must have compelled me to do it because it
was absolutely compulsive. I have no problem in saying that I am
a human being and I think for most of us our biggest frailties
you have been, as we've said, in the limelight. You've been
considered a superstar for so long, was there a time you felt
you wanted to step back from such a public life?
made some pretty important decisions at the end of the whole
Faith period. I don't think that they were entirely divorced
from my feeling my sexuality was changing, or that I was
defining myself in a different way, but it was far more to do
with the fact I was feeling very unhappy. I was very miserable
at the centre of that kind of fame at 23-24. I just couldn't
cope with that. I don't think that is all together that
surprising considering that I left school at 17 and was a star
by the time I was 18 - a star in certain parts of the world
do you make of the tremendous attention, perhaps over zealous --
at least certainly by your accounts -- of the British tabloids
into your personal life and the incessant interest?
I think its just something you have to accept and I think if I
wasn't prepared to accept that I wouldn't have put myself out
there again. I really did at one point believe that I never
wanted that sort of success. My success over the last seven
years really has gone from strength to strength in the rest of
the world. So I achieved what I wanted, which was to hold on to
my ability to do something that was going to please people and
write something that meant something to me and to them. I also
gave myself the chance to quite slow my life down and grow up a
bit, even though this week has not been the most grown up of my
you angry with yourself, or are you angry at the position the
British press has put you in your own country?
I think I'm angry at media generally about a lot of things, but
not just for myself. I mean for all of us, whether we're famous
or not famous, or just happen to get caught in the glare of
publicity over one issue or another, I think the media is a real
demon. But from my own point and what's happened, I can't be
angry with anyone but myself. I mean, the only people I've
really hurt are myself, the people who love me and my partner
who has been absolutely amazing and understands me, thank God. I
owe those people apologies, as again, I said I probably owe an
apology to fans that have been supportive and have not wanted to
believe that any of this was true. I know it really takes a
little bit of the sheen off of the mystique, to put it mildly,
but other than that I really don't have apologies to make.
it a difficult decision for you to come out publicly about being
I knew I was going to do this from the moment I was arrested.
Absolutely, I knew that this was the only way to go. I've seen
too many people run away from situations like this and I'm
thinking "just go on TV; you're a human being, just go on
TV and get it sorted out as quickly as possible."
out this incident and telling the world "I'm gay" are
two very different things.
define my sexuality in terms of the people that I love and my
life right now is very happy living in a gay relationship. I'm
very happy with that; I don't look to the future and think I
might change my sexuality because I'm hoping that my
relationship is the one that is going to last me for the rest of
my life. I mean I could've tried to put any number of angles on
this tonight, but ultimately at the end of the day I'm not
ashamed, I'm just pissed with myself for having been so stupid.
And I'm perfectly prepared to believe that as long as I am
truthful to myself and truthful to the people who are out there
with my music then I have nothing to fear.
appreciate your candour and thank you for coming here.