The world has lost one of its brightest stars and most iconic entertainers. Throughout an activity-filled life, George faced numerous challenges – some he beat, some have beaten him. As he left us on December 25th, here is a gallery of his life.
A cute Greek boy – 1963
George Michael was born in East Finchley, London on June 25th, 1963. Many people do not know he is of Greek-Cypriot origin as his real, full name was Georgios Kyriacos Panagiotou (ΓιόργοςΚυριακόςΠαναγιότου). His mom was English, a dancer, and his dad was Greek and a restaurateur.
George in a family picture with Jimmie, Yioda and Andros.
George with mom Lesley
George was always very close to his mother. The two shared a special bond.
A friendship on the rise – 1978
He discovered his passion for music at a young age. During the time he attended Bushey Meads School, he met future bandmate Andrew Ridgley with whom he shared a love for pop music. Character-wise they were polar opposites but mashed well together.
It begins – 1981
With two hit singles in 1981 – Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” and “Young Guns (Go For It)” and an appearance on “Top of the Pops”, Wham! generated quite a large fanbase, mostly with teenage girls, because of their knack for performing and undeniable charisma.
Partners in crime – 1982
George and Andrew were basking in their superstardom and very much saw the world as one big stage ready to welcome such charismatic and creative artists like the world has never had a chance to see before. They were close and really good friends.
On the rise – 1983
None of the bad press was available then as the two were seen only as the true stand up guys, always interacting with fans, being a delight to cooperate and record music with. Everybody wanted to be a part of the Wham! movement!
Wake me up before you go-go 1984
In 1984, Wham! released their ”wake me up before you go-go” which became a hit for decades to come. George also released his solo debut single “Careless Whisper” which never stopped being popular. They were making it big (which was the name of their 1984 album, too).
China tour and Elton John 1985
1985 was amazing for the two young guys. They were the first pop band from the West to visit China, they collaborated with Elton John on the song “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” at Live Aid in London. The year after that, they filled Wembley Stadium with 72,000 people. Not bad, huh?
Massive fan following
People flocked the concert arenas and it was just building up on the popularity of George. He was loved and he was the idol of every music lover.
George and Brooke Shields – 1985
It’s a pretty unknown fact that George used to actually date actress Brooke Shields, way back in 1985 as they enjoyed a short fling together. Brooke later stated that she thought George was really in love with her but was proved wrong subsequently.
Recognition and split-up – 1987
After their single won the award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group in 1987, George realized that his artistic vision is going in another direction and that leaving Wham! would be the best decision in order to develop his new funky sound.
Sexuality issues 1987
When he was 19 years of age, he told Andrew and some other friends that he is in fact bisexual. He later stated it almost pushed him into a state of depression because he knew he couldn’t love a woman and hiding it was making him feel bad. After some time, he realized he was gay- not bisexual.
Controversy and awards – 1988
The religious majority in the US refused to play his song “I Want Your Sex”, in 1988. Other radio stations decided to play the track non-stop during night hours. The scandal made the record sell and earned him the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, in 1989.
Freedom 90 – 1990
As his music evolved, he implemented jazz and soul elements, which can be heard in “Listen Without Prejudice, Vol.1”, which he released in 1990. He also opted not to appear in the video for the song “Freedom 90”, which featured models like Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell.
Listen Without Prejudice
The album was a huge success and it meant a lot for him who was surrounded by controversies at that time. People gave their verdict!
Sony lawsuit – 1991
George subsequently in 1991 sued Sony for not promoting the album good enough, as it was sold only 1 million copies, which was a bad number for the time. During the conflict, he only managed to record a few singles. The process was resolved in Sony’s favor in 1994.
Charity man – 1991
The single “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was a smash hit and chart topper after its release in 1991 on Christmas day. Every cent from the proceeds went to charity, most notably an AIDS Charity London Lighthouse and the children’s charity Rainbow Trust. Both men were knighted later. Here he is seen kissing Elton John at a AIDS charity foundation event in Paris, France.
Tragic love story – 1993
George met Brazillian dress designer, AnselmoFeleppa at a Rock in Rio concert in 1991. Six months into their relationship, Anselmo’s HIV test came back positive and that terrified George that he was infected too. Feleppa died in 1993, after an AIDS-induced brain hemorrhage.
Tribute to Anselmo – 1994
During an MTV EMA performance in 1994, George unveiled a beautiful tribute to the deceased Anselmo with a wonderful and touching song named “Jesus To A Child”. Ever since then he always mentioned Anselmo before performing the song. During that period, George also lost his mother and it was very hard for him to maintain.
Love towards his parents – 1994
George was incredibly close to his parents, even throughout his big break in the show business and was completely devastated when he lost his mother in 1994, marking a very tough period for the ambitious singer.
Older – 1996
In 1996, George released the product of his meticulous work ethic – the album “Older, also dedicated to Anselmo. It climbed to the top on every chart possible and was served as a beacon of light in hard times, as he himself has claimed that music and work helped him pull away from depression and negativity. Kenny was the new love for George.
Dinner dates with Diana – 1996
A lesser known fact is that George was good friends with the late Diana, Princess of Wales and the two hung out often in private environments, as they both appreciated each other’s carefree behavior and sense of humor.
Yet another loss -1997
With that being said, George was absolutely devastated when he heard of Diana’s tragic death and was in the first row at her funeral, shedding tears as he mourned a dear friend.
Legal problems ensue – 1998
In 1998, George was arrested for “engaging in a lewd act” in a public restroom in the Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills. He was tricked into being indecent by an undercover cop, Marcelo Rodriguez which lead to a subsequent court trial.
He is seen here coming out of the court. This was probably the beginning of his downfall. A meteoric rise and a great fall indeed.
Coming out officially – 1998
George appeared on The Late Night Show With David Letterman, in 1998 and that was the moment where he publicly acknowledged his homosexual orientation. This move meant a lot to young men all around the world, as the singer encouraged equality and equal rights for all.
Love of his life
No controversy was strong enough to make George and Kenny Goss move apart. The two remained in love despite all the difficulties and were reportedly engaged.
R&B collaborations – 2002
Hit single after hit single, George showed no intention to stop. In 2002, he put out two mega-hits – “If I told you what” featuring Whitney Houston and “As” with Mary J. Blige. These wonderful songs were followed by his fourth studio album in 2004 – named “Patience”.
Smokin’ that kush – 2005
Oh, Georgie! In 2005 he faced more legal problems as he was arrested for marijuana possession. He later stated that the arrest was a result of his own stupidity and recklessness and was let go only with a warning.
More problems with the law – 2007
Here we go again! After a little bit more than a year after his marijuana incident, George was apprehended for driving while stoned and was banned from driving for two years, with additional community service obligations. He said it was hard to quit smoking.
December Song – 2008
Just in time for the holidays, George released another hit – “December Song (I Dreamed Of Christmas)” in 2008. The subsequent year, he performed a lovely duet with that year’s winner of X-Factor.
Drug possession – 2008
What’s with this man and public restrooms? In 2008, George was arrested again in such a facility, this time for Class A and Class C drug possession and only got away with a caution for controlled substance possession.
Toning down on weed – 2009
In December 2009, Michael stated in an interview he smoked weed far less than before and that he only smokes seven or eight fat ones per day, compared to the 25 he used to smoke before.
Jail time – 2010
Oh man! Georges was apprehended in 2010 for driving under the influence of multiple drugs and subsequently banned from driving for 5 years and given an eight-week prison sentence, from which he got out only four weeks later. True bad boy, indeed.
Addiction – 2009-10
This was sort of his relived heyday – the golden boy of pop was the main subject of every tabloid as his coked-up party binges were becoming a thing of legend already in 2009-10. It was turning out to be a major struggle between Michael and his many vices.
New fling – 2010
While on tour in Australia in 2010, George was spotted in a pool with a mystery man who wasn’t his partner Kenny! That was no biggie at the time, as the two were always in an open relationship, but we can bet Kenny didn’t have a good time watching that.
Health problems – 2011
George was admitted to a Vienna hospital for chest pains and a serious infection in 2011, but it wasn’t a simple infection. The doctors came to the conclusion that George was suffering from pneumonia and has stayed in a hospital for several weeks, being forced to cancel the rest of his tour dates.
Car accident and recovery – 2013
Poor guy just couldn’t catch a break. George was involved in a serious car accident on the M1 motorway in England in 2013 and subsequently admitted to a trauma center. Because of this, he was forced to spend two weeks in a hospital to properly recover from the injuries.
Encounter with Fazi and addiction yet again – 2015
In 2015, he was seen with his new lover, the handsome FadiFawaz and the two looked quite content while together. This could’ve been a fresh start for George, only if it weren’t for his crack, marijuana, cocaine and whiskey binges.
Close encounter of other kind
George is pictured here with Fadi Fawaz. The two were known to be very close to each other.
Passing away – 2016
On Christmas day, 2016, the poor man passed away in his sleep as a result of apparent heart failure. The music world was devastated because of the loss of a noble, humble and positive man. We wish condolences to his friends, family, fans and hope he finds his peace. True legend!