George Michael Opens Up About Drug Use
Simon Hattenstone of the Guardian says that compared to four years ago, British pop singer George Michael looks better, bigger, and stronger. “I was probably more stoned in those days,” the singer told Hattenstone during a recent interview. “I was existing on a balance of Starbucks and weed.” In the bad old days, Michael estimates he was smoking around 25 joints a day, and was worried he’d permanently damage his voice.
When asked about losing his driver’s license in 2007 after he was found slumped at the steering wheel, he said: "For all the doctored pictures, every single breathalyzer test I’ve taken in my life has read 0.0, and I’ve never failed a sobriety test. I always preface this with, ‘I deserved to lose my license, I needed to lose my license.’" He admits that he had taken drugs that night, but insists he was capable of driving.
“I had a problem with sleeping pills for about a year and a half, and I (messed) up really badly. I got in the car twice when I’d forgotten I’d already downed something to try to get me to sleep. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t deliberate—ultimately, I did it a second time, and I could have killed somebody. But the fact remains I was never accused of driving under the influence. I got done for exhaustion and sleeping pills,” he said.
Michael used to tell people that the worst thing about the stories in the papers was that 90 percent of them were true. Now, he says, hardly any are, and that the media takes advantage of him because they know he can’t afford to sue.
The most worrying report was that when he was arrested for engaging in anonymous sex with a man in a public restroom (referred to as “cottaging”), he was charged with possession of crack cocaine. When asked if he ever smoked crack, he defiantly said no and then admitted that he was smoking the drug on that occasion when pressed by Hattenstone.
"I mean, I’ve done different things at different times that I shouldn’t have done, once or twice, you know,” he admitted, adding, “I’m feeling more parental by the second.”
A few months ago Michael was involved in a serious accident with a truck. "He came into my lane, and I had nowhere to go and ended up being battered between him and the central reservation, and I have to say it’s amazing that I’m alive."
The accident made him reassess things. "If that juggernaut had killed me, I think I’d be perfectly happy with the amount of quality music I have left in the world. My ego is sated."
Hattenstone told Michael that the common perception is that Michael sleeps late, gets high, and goes cruising. "The handful of times a year it’s bloody warm enough, I’ll do it,” the singer admits. “I’ll do it on a nice summer evening. Quite often there are campfires up there. It’s a much nicer place to get some quick and honest sex than standing in a bar, (high on Ecstasy), shouting at somebody and hoping they want the same thing as you do in bed.”
Returning to his typical day, he said, "I normally get up about 10 am, my PA will bring me a Starbucks, I’ll have a look at my emails. At the moment I’ve got nothing that pressurized other than keeping an eye on the video they’re making for the Christmas single. Then, if I’m in the mood, I’ll come up to the office in Highgate, do some work, writing, backing tracks or whatever. Come home. Kenny (his boyfriend) will be here, the dogs are here. Maybe eat locally, hang out, and then probably go off and have a shag or have someone come here and have a shag." Laughing, he added, “It’s not typical—that’s probably a couple times a week."
Over the past few years, a number of stars have said they fear for Michael—notably Elton John, who is one of Michael’s heroes. "Elton lives on that. He will not be happy until I bang on his door in the middle of the night saying, ‘Please, please, help me, Elton. Take me to rehab.’ It’s not going to happen,” Michael responded, adding, “Look, if people choose to believe that I’m sitting here in my ivory tower, Howard Hughes-ing myself with long fingernails and loads of drugs, then I can’t do anything about that, can I?"
Michael recently received an advance from HarperCollins for his autobiography, but he is going to give it back, as he said the timing isn’t right and that he needs to make more progress before he can write well about himself. "There are things I need to resolve. And I think I’ll be a much better writer when I’ve got through those things. But it’s great to know that at 46 I’m still very much a changing person."
When asked if he likes the way he’s changed, he responded, “Well, yeah, thank Christ. Most visible traces of self-loathing have gone…I’m surprised that I’ve survived my own dysfunction, really."