See George Michael’s 1998 coming out interview
George Michael died as someone who had spent the last 18-plus years of his life out of the closet.
Although he had been a highly-visible music superstar for more than a decade, it wasn’t until 1998 that Michael spoke publicly about his sexuality.
‘I spent the first half of my career being accused of being gay when I hadn’t had anything like a gay relationship,’ he said in an interview with CNN three days after his highly-publicized arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover officer in a public restroom in Beverly Hills.
‘I spent my years growing up being told what my sexuality was really … which was kind of confusing.’
He shared that he did not have his first real relationship with another man until the age of 27 but decided to keep things to himself because he was ‘indignant’ about the assumptions and about how he’d been treated up until then.
‘I thought, “Well I’ll just hold on to this, I don’t have to tell them,” but this is as good a time as any,’ he said in the interview.
Once he sorted out his sexuality, he stopped having relationships with women and writing songs about them.
‘I do want people to know that the songs that I wrote when I was with women were really about women and the songs I’ve written since are 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.’
At the time of the interview, he had not been involve with a woman for 10 years.
‘I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I’m in a relationship with a man right now,’ he said.
As for the Beverly Hills restroom incident that resulted in his going public, Michael pleaded guilty to engaging in a lewd act in public but contended he was a victim of entrapment.
‘I don’t feel any shame,’ he said of his sexuality.
‘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 and neither do I think I should.’
The singer was found dead on Christmas Day at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53.
His death is not being treated as suspicious although it is unexplained.