George Michael is an icon whose songs have lived on and touched thousands past his death. As a youngster who grew up listening to Michael’s music on family road trips and holidays, I am one of many who still listen to Michael’s music nearly 30 years on. James Gavin’s biography ‘George Michael: A Life’, set to be released on June 28th this year, explores Michael’s fame and his troubles with drugs, prostitution, and his sexuality.

Credit: Goodreads

The final years of Michael’s life, Gavin explains, were consumed by his use of illegal drugs such as GHB, cocaine and marijuana. Gavin writes,

“He slept until midafternoon then stayed high on pot for almost every waking moment. He sat at his computer playing video games, binge-watched TV, arranged GHB-fuelled trysts and took midnight joints to Heath.”

Between the years 1996 – 2008, Michael was arrested seven times. His seventh arrest in 2008 landed him in prison for four weeks with a license suspension of five years. Michael had been in a car accident and was assumed to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Inner Turmoil and Sexuality

Credit: Billboard

Gavin further claims that much of Michael’s inner turmoil and his subsequent destructive patterns of behaviour stemmed from his sexuality as a gay man. The biography reveals that Michael went to great lengths to prevent the public from finding out about his sexuality. Unfortunately, in 1998, George was arrested in Los Angeles “after seeking gay sex in a public toilet”. This resulted in George Michael being outed to the world.

The death of Michael’s mother, Lesley Angold, in 1997 and the death of his partner from AIDS four years before left him emotionally distraught. Being outed in 1998 following the deaths of loved ones is speculated by Gavin as the fatal catalyst that led to Michael spiralling out of control for the last two decades of his life.

“He Wanted to Die so Badly”

Although Michael as a man and as a talented musician was and is much loved by fans all over the world, he is reported to have been quite lonely. Fadi Fawaz, who was Michael’s partner at the time of his death in 2016, says,

“He wanted to die so badly. […] I think life stopped for him a long time ago.”

It is heart-breaking and cruel that a man as talented as George Michael felt alone and unloved. His struggles with addiction and his sexuality serve as a reminder that the beliefs and behaviours a society normalises impacts the people who live in it. You can pre-order James Gavin biography of George Michael from Amazon, Booktopia and QBD Books.

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