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George Michael revealed Princess Diana was the only person who made him feel 'ordinary'

Mirror logo Mirror 27/12/2016 Emily Retter

<span style="color:#2c2c2c;font-family:'Open Sans', sans-serif;font-size:14px;font-weight:bold;background-color:#f1f1f1;">HRH Princess Diana and George Michael</span> © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc HRH Princess Diana and George Michael While Elton John famously sang his emotional tribute Candle In The Wind at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales , the man he’d arrived with was crying in the congregation.

“I bawled my eyes out at the service,” said George .

“I had forgotten my hanky and I was really streaming. I was one of the few people in that part of Westminster Abbey that was really blubbering and I remember thinking: ‘God, this is going to be really embarrassing.’”

Only two years age difference separated George and the princess, and they became famous at the same time, creating a bond of friendship.

Yet after she died in 1997, George regretted not getting to know her better.


<span class="caption" itemprop="description" style="background:transparent;border:0px;font-size:14px;margin:0px;outline:0px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;font-family:'Open Sans', sans-serif;font-weight:700;color:#2c2c2c;">George Michael and (R) Geri Halliwell</span><span style="color:#141414;font-family:'Open Sans', sans-serif;font-size:16px;background-color:#f1f1f1;">&nbsp;</span>

George Michael and (R) Geri Halliwell 
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc

“Diana was the only person that I knew who made me feel like an ordinary person. That’s what I thought was so amazing about her,” he said.

“I could have kept in a lot more contact with her because we really got on well.

"But I was always reluctant to call her up. It was almost like a mate of mine who doesn’t want to call me up too much in case it looks strange – because he thinks that everybody else is calling me up.

"It was the same equation with Diana and I. She meant so much to so many people, including me.”

George later revealed he realised he was not just crying for Diana – hers was the third loss to wound him terribly.

Earlier the same year, he lost his beloved mother Lesley to cancer.

“It was almost like I was reliving my mum’s funeral,” he said.

“It wasn’t as if I didn’t get upset at her funeral but it was just too soon after her death, maybe it hadn’t sunk in.

“In terms of coming close to saying: ‘I don’t want to live’, that would have been after my mum died.

"I had this overwhelming feeling that the best was behind me. I so loved my mum, and respected her.

“My mum was a great mum. She wasn’t the perfect mother when I was younger.

"She was a woman with her own problems. But I can honestly say that over the last 15 years of her life, she was absolutely the perfect mother.

“There was never a bad word between us. There was never a moment that I didn’t feel she supported me.

"Because that kind of love is unconditional. I’m very lucky to have had that with my mum.”

The third death hurting his heart was that of a man who had changed George’s life.

Credits: Rex Features © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Rex Features

When he walked on stage at 1991’s Rock in Rio festival, George was the hottest singer on Earth.

He’d cracked America, racked up two hit solo albums and was greeted by an ocean of frenzied fans screaming his name.

But as he stared out into the vast crowd he only saw one handsome face staring back – that of Anselmo Feleppa.

After a backstage introduction, the Brazilian dressmaker would become George’s partner.

It was a lightning bolt which would force the star out of the closet and alter the direction of his career forever.

George said: “Anyone who knew me before I met Anselmo would tell you that he opened me up completely.”

<span class="caption" itemprop="description" style="background:transparent;border:0px;font-size:14px;margin:0px;outline:0px;padding:0px;vertical-align:baseline;font-family:'Open Sans', sans-serif;font-weight:700;color:#2c2c2c;">George Michael and Paul McCartney</span><span style="color:#141414;font-family:'Open Sans', sans-serif;font-size:16px;background-color:#f1f1f1;">&nbsp;</span> © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc George Michael and Paul McCartney 

By 1991, aged 28, he’d been struggling with the realisation that he was gay for years but falling for Anselmo allowed him to relax to the reality of the man he really was.

So when Anselmo died of an AIDS-related illness in 1993, George was totally bereft.

He unintentionally revealed that devastation to Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates during an interview.

“I can’t remember how it came up but it did,” said Simon, “and he had a bit of a weep, and asked: ‘Can you not broadcast that?’ and we didn’t ­obviously.”

George channelled much of the frustration and anger he felt at the time towards his record label, Sony.

He’d already refused to make personal appearances to promote his second album, which is why he hired a string of supermodels, including pals Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista, to appear in the video for Freedom ’90.

Despite the low profile, his popularity never wavered. In 1991, during the same Cover to Cover tour that took him to Rock in Rio, he recorded a live version of Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me with its original creator, Elton John, at Wembley Arena. It went straight to No1.

George also received rapturous applause at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, alongside members of Queen in 1992 at Wembley Stadium.

He performed a version of the band’s track, Somebody to Love, which appeared on the Five Live EP, which went to No1 the following year.

His life seemed to be turning a corner in 1996 when he started a relationship with American, Kenny Goss, but then came the death of Diana and his mother.

And in 1998 he faced another crisis when he was arrested for “lewd conduct” in a Los Angeles toilet by an undercover cop.

Though hugely embarrassing, it was final, public confirmation he was gay.

And he admitted that he probably did it, subconsciously, to out himself – something he would have struggled to do while his mother was still alive.

His response to criticism was to release a jibing single called Outside. In the UK George gained support, not just from the public but

celebrity friends, among them Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, who he’d supported during her departure from the band.

And musically, he could always comand respect from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Boy George and Sting.

It meant he retained national treasure status.

George Michael: Life in Pictures

And when Comic Relief needed a star to play the sidekick of James Corden’s Smithy in a Carpool Karaoke sketch in 2011, George turned up, put on a tracksuit and played along with the gag, to hilarious effect.

For as Simon Bates also said – despite all the troubles – there were two wonderful sides to George Michael: “He will be remembered as one of the greatest singers we have ever seen, unquestionably. Anyone lucky enough to see him live would know that.

“But also, he was the type who would go into the newsagents to buy a paper and stand in line.

“It was so hilarious because everyone knew who he was and they were all desperate for him to get to the front of the queue, but he just stood rock solid.

“He was a very troubled man, undoubtedly – but he was a lovely guy.”

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