George Michael disclosed details of his close relationship with Princess Diana and said it was ‘very clear’ that she was ‘very attracted’ to him, a new biography reveals.
The late pop singer, who met the Princess of Wales backstage at a World AIDS Day Concert in Wembley Arena, became one of Diana’s closest confidantes, sharing private meetings, phone calls, and wines-fueled tête-à-têtes.
She even confessed the details of her impending ‘grim’ divorce from Charles in 1996 on a recording made at the singer’s house in Hampstead, London, and told him she had to escape the ‘not-very-loving royals’ at any cost.
‘She was like a lot of women who have been attracted to me in my life. They see something non-threatening,’ he dished during a 2009 interview.
‘There were certain things that happened that made it very clear that she was very attracted to me. There was no question.’
Details of Michael’s relationship with Lady Di, his struggle to publicly come out and his brushes with the law, are laid bare in David Nolan’s new biography George Michael, Freedom, The Ultimate Tribute 1963-2016, DailyMailTV reveals.
The British pop singer who first met the Princess of Wales backstage at a World AIDS Day Concert in Wembley Arena, became one of Diana’s closest confidantes. Above they are pictured shaking hands at Concert of Hope in 1993
Michael had said in an interview that the somewhat unlikely pair had ‘clicked in way that was a little bit intangible, and it probably had more to do with our up bringing than anything else.’
And while the pair’s close bond was no secret, he had hinted over the years that their relationship may have gone beyond a friendship.
When asked if he ever considered sleeping with Diana, he coyly told the Huffington Post: ‘I knew it would have been a disastrous thing to do.’
He also admitted he tended to ‘shy away’ from calling her because he worried it would come off as ‘intrusive.’
However, the pals gossiped during a late-night phone call in 1996 after he rang the princess to wish her happy birthday while he was high on marijuana.
Diana told him of the strains of her divorce while taking a swipe at the Royals saying: ‘Not a very loving, compassionate family, this one I’m leaving.’
The Careless Whisper singer attended her funeral in 1997 and donated the song, You Have Been Loved to a Diana tribute album and released it as a single only to be edged out of the number one slot by Elton John’s tribute song to the princess, Candle in the Wind in 1997.
That year marked a difficult time for Michael, whose mother had died of skin cancer earlier in February and he was feeling harassed by the British press to publicly come out.
George was romantically involved with American businessman Kenny Goss at the time. They appeared publicly together – no hiding, no lies about their sexuality.
‘Everyone knew,’ Goss said. ‘We would go to restaurants and hold hands. It’s just that he hadn’t gone on a television show and said, “I am gay,”‘ he said – something George refused to do.
Before Goss, Michael dated fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa, who he described as the first person he ever loved.
‘It was like, wow, I’ve met someone that I actually think I’m going to fall in love with rather than just want their body for a while,’ Michael said.
‘Anselmo was the first time I loved someone unselfishly, where it really was about them.’
Feleppa died of complications with AIDS in Brazil in 1993. He had been diagnosed six months into their relationship.
‘I was sat at the Christmas table not knowing whether this man that I was in love with was terminally ill…and not knowing, therefore, if I was potentially terminally ill. It was possibly the loneliest time in my life,’ George confessed.
David Nolan’s George Michael, Freedom, The Ultimate Tribute 1963-2016 was released on Tuesday – a year after the pop star’s death
As successful as he grew to be, Michael’s private life had its ups and downs, including moments when he resented his career, Nolan reveals.
In the beginning, he had lacked confidence since his own father, Kyriacos ‘Jack’ Panayiotou, a fish and chip shop owner, told his son he ‘couldn’t sing to save his life.’
George’s Greek Cypriot father had arrived in Britain in 1953, married an English girl, Lesley Angold, and settled in East Finchley, London, where they raised two daughters and one son.
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‘I came from a very oppressive household where it was all keep your voice down, your father’s tired,’ he said.
Michael refused to go to private school and it was in public school where he met Andrew Ridgeley – the other half of the pop duo Wham! which brought him to prominence.
Ridgeley was the one with the ambition to be a pop star and took Michael to dive discos in London where they worked on their moves together.
‘George needed Andrew. He was the outgoing one, the funny one, the charming one,’ Nolan writes. Together the two worked out bedroom routines.
They originally made their band debut as The Executive in 1979, but had little success. But they worked at it and eventually jumped out on tour as Wham! in 1983 and a record deal soon followed.
In four short years, the pair morphed from teenage hopefuls into the biggest band in the world.
‘Two kids at the top of a dream,’ George remembered, confessing those were the happiest years of his life.
He quit the duo in 1986 and was drinking heavily, very depressed, and confessed he had to negotiate a new relationship with celebrity that wasn’t going to destroy him.
He ‘didn’t want to be visible’ or even promote himself anymore, after sinking into a depression, Nolan writes.
His management team had devised a ‘terrific money-making scam’ who wanted to continue to make money from Wham! Even though the duo no longer existed.
Michael ditched the schemers and was managed by his booking agent who paired him with Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin who gave him the ‘stamp of credibility.’
Their song, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) was the first hit for Aretha in 20 years and launched George’s career in the US.
He replaced his teeny bop image with mirror shades, ripped and bleached jeans, a leather jacket and face stubble. Now he could crossover into a bigger audience but he found he really didn’t like all the new fame and success.
What followed was a series of arrests and public blunders.
During his engagement with Goss, Michael finally – and inadvertently – outed himself in 1998 in the public bathrooms at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills.
‘Something in me said, “You shouldn’t go in there, there’s something really dodgy going on,” he said.
But in he went only to have a lewd encounter with an undercover police officer.
The pop star was arrested for public sex, fined $810 and ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service.
Under public scrutiny, Michael responded with the single Outside which made a joke of the incident and released a music video ‘showing George in full police uniform and gyrating in a futuristic disco toilet.’
The arresting officer unsuccessfully tried to sue George for $10 million for emotional distress.
Michael made headlines once gain in February 2006, after he was found slumped at the wheel of his car in London and arrested on suspicion of drug possession.
Two months later, he was charged with a hit and run of three parked cars in an area in north London known as a gay cruising area.
At this point, Michael still had not publicly confirmed his sexuality and he became irate that headlines demanded answers and canceled his planned wedding to Goss.
The next few year saw him rack up DUIs and charges of drug possession.
He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison in 2010 when crashed his car into a photo developing shop on Hampstead High Street and found guilty of driving while on drugs.
The first part of the sentence he served out at the ‘notoriously tough’ HM Prison Pentonville.
‘Pentonville was really quite horrific and I was put in with the pedophiles and the bullies’, George revealed. ‘I didn’t leave my cell very much. It shook me out of my denial in a way that others hadn’t’.
The remainder of his sentence was served at the HM Prison Highpoint South in Suffolk.
Life behind bars was a wake up call and when he was released, he started in drug counseling. By 2011, he was back on top with a Number 1 hit album in the UK.
The star’s final romantic relationship was with London-based Australian hairdresser Fadi Fawaz that began in 2009.
By late summer of 2014, press reports had him in a Swiss rehab clinic addicted to crack cocaine.
With the announcement of a documentary film and new music from the star due out in 2017, fans had hope that George Michael had made it through his turbulent days.
But on Christmas Day morning in 2016, his lover, Fadi found him dead in his bed at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
At age 53, his triumphs and tragedies came to an end.
Fawaz, who still lives at George’s Regent Park home, vowed never to find love again.
The coroner confirmed the pop legend died of heart failure after a build-up of fat in his liver – linked to drug and alcohol abuse.