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George Michael officially came out in 1998, with some of his past relationships influencing his original music. That includes his “true love” encounter with Anselmo Feleppa, which inspired the album Older. Here’s what we know about the “Jesus to a Child” singer. 

George Michael came out as gay in 1998

Singer George Michael poses at the 'George Michael: A Different Story' Photocall during the 55th annual Berlinale International Film Festival
Singer George Michael poses at the ‘George Michael: A Different Story’ Photocall during the 55th annual Berlinale International Film Festival | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Michael is the artist behind “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” “Careless Whisper,” and “Last Christmas.” He earned a handful of Grammy nominations and continues to earn Spotify streams on original music. Michael was also considered a pioneer for the LGBTQ community in music.

“Everybody knew about Boy George, and at that point, everybody knew about Elton, but Elton and Boy George had this clown-like image, and that was ok,” James Gavin recalled in an interview with Pink News. “However, if you were a handsome, sexual figure like George was, that made you threatening because suddenly you were a sexual creature. You were not a funny guy.”

Michael officially came out as gay in 1998. He said he didn’t start dating men until he was 27 years old, even if people had already labeled him as gay before that. At that point, he wasn’t ashamed for people to know he was in a relationship with a man — he wanted to be the one to share the news.

“I knew that this was the only way to go,” Michael said during an interview with CNN. “I’ve seen too many people run away from situations like this, and I’m thinking, ‘just go on TV; you’re a human being, just go on TV and get it sorted out as quickly as possible.’” 

“I define my sexuality in terms of the people that I love,” he added, “and my life right now is very happy living in a gay relationship.”

Was George Michael ever married? One album was about his ‘true love’ Anselmo Feleppa

The album Older, released by George Michael in 1996, was inspired by his partner Anselmo Feleppa. Although Michael never married Feleppa, the two began their romance after meeting in 1991 at a rock concert. 

The Brazilian dress designer discovered he was HIV positive just six months after starting the relationship. Feleppa died from an AIDs-related brain hemorrhage less than two years after meeting Michael. 

“George had this very narrow six-month window of time in which he felt that he had found true love – something he thought would elude him forever,” Gavin said during the same interview.

Michael had a few other significant relationships in his life, including one with Kathy Jeung, who starred in the music video for “I Want Your Sex.”


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How did George Michael die?

At the time of his death, Michael was dating the hairstylist Fadi Fawaz. It was Fawaz who discovered Michael died in 2016 of natural causes attributed to heart disease. The artist’s music is still available on most major streaming platforms.