For the first time,
after 10 years out of the American spotlight, singer
George Michael goes public on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
George talks about why he disappeared from center stage,
from the details of his shocking arrest to his
devastating bout with depression, and the double life he
hid from his family and fans.
He admits to Oprah, "I
didn't have the emotional energy to face what would have
been an uphill struggle." Later in the show,
Michael and his partner of eight years, Kenny Goss,
invite the cameras into their beautiful,
never-before-seen, 16th century home outside London.
George also takes the stage to
perform his new hit single "Amazing" from his
new album, Patience.
George Michael: The Oprah
George Michael Hi.
Oprah How you doing?
George Michael I'm good. I'm good. It's great to meet
Oprah: Great to meet you
George Michael: I've been an admirer for years.
Oprah: Really? How you
feeling about doing this interview? This is a coming out
George Michael: It's a strange thing because I haven't
been on American television for so long. It's weird
being back here to promote because I spend a lot of time
here. Because my current partner of 8 years is American.
I spend quite a lot of time in America. But none of it
Oprah: Will you walk us
back to the day of the arrest? Will you? What was going
George Michael: Let me see the day of the arrest..
Kenny Goss We went out to eat.
George Michael We went to eat. Look Kenny is telling you.
We went out for a meal.
Oprah: Cause you and
Kenny were together at the time?
George Michael: Yeah, we were together at this time for
about 2 and Ĺ years. It's a strange thing really. When
I looked back at it afterwards its was so obvious it was
deliberate on my part. Strange at it may seem.
Oprah: I do the Oprah
show so it's not strange enough.
George Michael: And when I look back on it I was just
kind of bursting to come out I think.
Oprah: Explain what
George Michael: What happened was that there was a
couple of undercover police in that particular park.
Which is opposite of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Oprah: So you are in a
George Michael: Very classy.
Oprah: So you are in a
park opposite of the Beverly Hills Hotel.
George Michael: It's a well know cruising area. And I
was in my car on the other side of the road. And there
was 2 police officers were impersonating people who were
George Michael: I went into the bathroom with no one in
it. The policeman came in after me.
Oprah: But you didn't
know he was a policeman.
George Michael: Of course not.
Oprah: Of course not.
George Michael: They don't send Columbo in there. They
send someone nice looking.
<Audience laugher and applause>
Actually, absolutely, nothing went on.
Oprah You got to tell us
what happened. And telling in a way you can tell it on
television because we hear a repost like that "arrested
for lewd acts".
George Michael: Yeah, you imagine something very lewd.
Oprah Yes and in
everybody's mind its what "lewd" is to them.
And these are some people who can go all the way.
<Audience laugher and applause>
George Michael So I went into the bathroom. Being
cautious went over and was washing my hands. And the
person whose job it was to be there attracting my
attention was doing exactly that. As far as I was
concerned, unless he could do something clever with his
thumb, then there was a man there who was interested in
Oprah: Am I following you?
Are you all following? Ok.
George Michael This is difficult for women to imagine
Oprah: I'm still at
washing your hands.
George Michael Yes, I'm washing my hands (shows us) and
drying my hands (shows us) And there is a man in the
cubicle staring at me.
Oprah: Staring at you
washing your hands?
George Michael: Yes, starring at me.
Oprah: Wait a minute. Is
that a code?
George Michael: Staring is a kind of code. Washing your
hands, you are being careful, right? And he was staring
Oprah: Watching you like
interested in you or something?
George Michael: Well no. He was doing rather more than
that. This is the point. What I called entrapment is
when someone, even if they are not, If they are
pretending to be pleasuring themselves, you respond.
Oprah: Oh, he is
George Michael This is the thing unless he can do
something clever with his thumb. I thought I was
watching someone pleasuring himself and watching me. And
basically what happened ..
Oprah: Oh! I'm with you
George Michael: OK!
<Audience laughter and applause>
Oprah: I'm there!!
<Audience laughter and applause>
George Michael So I kind of responded in kind. Very
briefly. The guy walked out of the bathroom. So I just
gathered he wasn't impressed.
And I left and went back down to the street. And as I
reached the street, the cops swooped on my basically.
George Michael: Its pretty heave stuff really I think.
Oprah: What do you think
George Michael: Well I stood on the pavement and said,
" I'm sorry, that was entrapment."
Oprah: I said that.
Absolutely. There was a nice crowd gathering. And I have
my hands behind on the pavement. I just said to them
this is outrageous and this was entrapment.
Oprah: Were you scared?
George Michael: Part of me was very scared.
George Michael: Yeah.
Oprah: Were you thinking
about your career?
George Michael: To be honest with you, I remember
thinking, immediately, I just have to tell the truth
George Michael: I suppose part of me, part of my
subconscious, must have been saying, "Well, this is
kind of what I was looking for and now I have to deal
Oprah: Well you could of
thought of a better way.
George Michael: Oh, Absolutely.
Oprah: You say the arrest
was your outing?
George Michael: Yeah. There's something about the fact
it was opposite of the Beverly Hills Hotel, indicated I
was doing it in a show-bizz manner.
I think part of me was almost ready to deal with it, in
what ever way it was going to happen.
Oprah: This is
fascinating to me. Because I cant imagine being a
certain sexuality and hiding that. And that..and had to
hide that. So your whole life you are hiding?
George Michael No. Not really. In reality as soon as I
met Anselmo, my first partner, which was when I was 27.
Oprah: But we the public
George Michael: Oh no.
Oprah: So you are hiding
it from us?
George Michael: Hiding it from the public, absolutely.
Oprah: Weren't you dating
George Michael: There were only a couple of girlfriends
that people knew about.
Oprah: Were they real
George Michael: Yeah, Absolutely. That was the stage I
was at in my life. I was 24, coming up to 25, where I
was starting to think, I'm not really bisexual. You are
not going to have a choice here.
Oprah: And when people
would write about write about you and say what are you,
did you at one point say everyone is discussing my
George Michael:Yeah, every time I have dealt with
interviews it would be "come on we want to know."
And I would leave some kind of comment that was humorous
and leave it up in the air.
In reality I was angry with the media. My first partner
was HIV positive for about 2 years before he died. We
knew he was HIV positive. I knew he could get the best
treatment in LA or Britain. He insisted on going back to
Brazil every time he wanted to see a Dr. And it was
unspoken; I knew he was trying to protect his family.
George Michael: His family being a Catholic/Brazilian
family. I really truly believe that if he had treatment
in Britain or American, he would have survived.
George Michael: So my feeling toward the press.. But I
think, my God, why I didn't sit with a journalist and
say "I am gay".
George Michael It was so beyond me to-do that.
Oprah: Do you think you
might be rejected?
George Michael To be honest I think America would have
more of a problem with it than Europe. Cause it is more
of a religious based question here. And I respect that.
George Michael: And I truly felt I was dealing with it.
Obviously I wasn't. I found that compromise massive. But
it was a big problem to me in some way and I think the
point it happened, a year after my mother died.
At that point in time I was still angry about her death.
Very kind of down on myself. I think I choose to
distract myself from the grief of loosing her by doing
something I would of have to fight for my life almost.
Oprah: Where were you
doing over there anyway?
George Michael: Well it has its upside.
Oprah You had Kenny at
George Michael: Believe me I know.
Oprah: How do you make
that phone call.. "Uh, hello?"
George Michael: That is what kind of exactly what it
was. There were very kind to me. They let me have 2 or 3
attempts for a phone call.
Oprah: Did they know who
George Michael: Oh yes. This is the best bit.
Oprah: Did they say,
"Can I have a CD, will you sign it?"
George Michael: Oh I'm sure I signed a few autographs. I
have to spend 3 hours in the Beverly Hills police
station. I was lucky. Very quiet afternoon. It is the
most spotless police station.
Top class police station. They put you in a room,
nothing sharp in there in case you want to take your
life. There is a big slab of stone with a blanket in
there in case you felt tired at 3 in the afternoon. And
a copy of the National Enquirer!!!
George Michael: So you can imagine , I'm thinking this
is a joke. I'm going to be on the front cover of this
next week!! Someone is having a laugh.
<Audience laughter and applause>
Oprah: to Kenny Goss-- So
you guys have been together 8 years now?
Kenny Goss: Yes.
Oprah: He called you?
Kenny Goss: He called me and said, "You are not
going to believe what I done." Got a DUI? He goes,
"If only." They didn't tell me what I picked
you up (to George) what you done remember?
George Michael: I know. The let me do that, didn't they?
Kenny Goss: Yeah.
George Michael: Very nice of them. He picked me up at
the police station. We went to dinner.
Oprah: The Beverly HILLS
George Michael: We got to the restaurant; he said "
You never know, it might not get into the press."
I said, Kenny darling, they will either be there when he
get home or when we wake up in the morning. It was in
between. The helicopters started about 2 in the morning.
At 2 o'clock in the morning we could hear helicopters
get phone calls from London going, "what, what,
what" It was all chaos.
Oprah: Did you ever feel
bad about it?
George Michael: I felt more badly for myself that I was
that screwed up. What happened out of that, I plummeted
into a deep deep depression, which was about my mother.
Everything that happened in the year before that was my
way of avoiding that, Making my life about me and not
Oprah: Cause you have not
allowed yourself to grieve
George Michael: I haven't allowed myself to grieve
properly. I told myself I had.
Oprah: Were you worried
about or are you worried about American fans, now with a
new album, accepting you are a gay artist?
George Michael: I'm not worried about it. To be straight
forward..Im not interested in selling record to people
who are homophobic.
<Kenny Gives George a thumbs UP>
I'm very lucky. I'm 40, live with a man I love dearly. I
have more love, success, and security in my life that I
could ever dream of. I didn't need approval of people
who don't approve of me.
Oprah: The long awaited
album, Patience, is getting rave reviews from critics.
People magazine gave it a 4 out of 4 stars!!
4 out of 4. The critics saying you posses one of the
best voices in the business. And that makes you feel
George Michael: I just wanted to tell people that I know
I've been away a long time. The honest truth I needed to
sort out my personal life. Then I felt I sorted out my
personal life. Then I found out my partner was ill. I
knew I was not going to be able to work. I knew I wasn't
going to be able to write or singe while I was as
terrified as I was of losing my partner. He died. I
spent 2 years grieving over that. 3 years after Anselmo
died, I met Kenny. I called my mother the day after I
met Kenny to tell her I met this wonderful man.
Unfortunately, it was the same call she had to tell me
she had cancer.
Oprah: On the same call?
George Michael: She kept it from me. Of course she was
lying to me, telling me it was all fine now. Everything
is fine. They got rid of it. So I could go on with me
being happy. 7 or 8 months later, she died.
That period after she died, was the blackest period of
my life really. The time in my personal life and it took
me to write again after I lost her, is really the reason
what I haven't been around.
I just wanted to explain to the people who have been
absolutely loyal and why I haven't been here. And to let
them know. It wasn't because I didn't care. I just
didn't have the emotional energy to fight the uphill
struggle here at the time. And now that I feel great and
my writing ability had come back and touch base with
them again and say, "I'm still here. I'm fighting
fit now. And if you're interested, I'm here again."
George Michael: Patience.
Oprah: Patience my Friend.
George and Kenny share a charming country estate outside
London. And for the first time the ultra-private Mr.
George Michael: Ultra-private. (Audience Laughter) You
have NO idea how UNconfortable I was doing this.
Actually you probably will have when you see it.
Oprah: Yeah! He allowed our cameras inside. Thank you
Actually your home..I might stop by for some crumpets.
George Michael: Absolutely. Crumpets? Scones
Oprah: It looks like that you enjoy being there.
You didnít look uncomfortable doing that.
George Michel: Iím a great actor.
Oprah: So you are back and forth between there
George Michael: We spend a lot of time in London.
We recently bought a place in Dallas, because beforehand
we were staying at Kennyís brothers. And Iím not
good at sleeping in Childrenís Bedrooms.
Oprah: How do the people in Dallas handle your
George Michael: I donít know. Its me handling
their accent isnít it?
I think of the 3 places I know: NY, LA, and Dallas:
Dallas is the warmest of the 3.