George Michael has said that his “gay life didn’t get easier” after coming out.
The singer was famously outed in 1998 when he was arrested for “engaging in a lewd act” at a public restroom in Los Angeles. He then confirmed his sexuality in an interview with CNN.
Discussing what happened next in a new interview with the BBC, the 50-year-old star says: “For some strange reason, my gay life didn’t get easier when I came out. Quite the opposite happened, really.”
He goes on to explain: “The press seemed to take some delight that I previously had a ‘straight audience’, and set about trying to destroy that. And I think some men were frustrated that their girlfriends wouldn’t let go of the idea that George Michael just hadn’t found the ‘right girl’ [yet]. Which is still what a lot of my extended family still think!”
Continuing, Michael insists he has no regrets about waiting until the age of 35 to be open about his sexuality, saying: “In the years when HIV was a killer, any parent of an openly gay person was terrified. I knew my mother well enough that she would spend every day praying that I didn’t come across that virus. She’d have worried like that.”
During the interview, Michael also expresses a desire to reach out to his gay fans with his music in the future, saying he would “like to do something for the gay community. Possibly a dance album”.
Michael discusses his sexuality candidly in a two-part BBC Radio 2 documentary, titled Up Close with George Michael, whose first part airs tonight (March 18) at 10pm. The concluding part follows a week later on March 25.
The singer released his new album Symphonica, which mainly contains live versions of songs from his 2011-12 concert tour of the same name, on Monday (March 17).