When did George Michael come out? Here's what the singer said about his sexuality

The singer revealed his sexuality to the world in an exclusive interview with CNN

George Michael wearing sunglasses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fans of Netflix's new Wham! documentary have been wondering when George Michael came out. 

Netflix's latest hit documentary tells the story of pop duo Wham!'s rise to fame and their eventual split. It's left viewers keen to know more about why Wham! broke up and what happened to the stars after they went their separate ways - from how George Michael died to why he was arrested back in 1998. 

And one of the focuses of the documentary is George Michael's decision to keep his sexuality secret during his time in the band. Nowadays, it's common knowledge that the pop icon was gay - but after the new documentary shed light on the years he kept it a secret, many want to know when George Michael come out as gay and what happened. 

When did George Michael come out?

George Michael publicly came out in 1998, after an undercover policeman arrested him for performing a lewd act in a public toilet in Los Angeles. He later said, "I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed this way, but I don’t feel any shame whatsoever."

After the incident, he appeared on CNN for an exclusive interview, in which he revealed he was gay for the first time publicly. In the interview with Jim Moret he discusses the speculation around his sexuality, before saying, "I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I’m in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years."

However, George Michael had come out more privately in 1983, when he revealed his sexuality to his Wham! bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley. In the new Netflix documentary, it was revealed that this happened just after the pair had filmed the music video for 'Club Tropicana' in Ibiza.

In the documentary, a voice over from George Michael explains, "About six months before … I’d actually had something go on that made my attraction to men fairly clear. Once I realized that this was a part of my sexuality that I couldn’t ignore, I went to come out to Andrew."

However, Andrew shared that he and backing singer Shirlie Holliman discouraged George from coming out to his family at the time.

George Michael said, "I said I was going to talk to my mom and dad and was persuaded in no uncertain terms that it really wasn’t the best idea. I don’t think they were trying to protect my career or their careers. I think they were literally just thinking 'My God, your dad will hit the roof!'"

He went on to say that he "lost his nerve completely".

What did George Michael say when he came out?

In the CNN interview, George Michael said he knew he was going to come out from the moment he was arrested. He added, "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.'"

He also said, "I define my sexuality in terms of the people that I love and my life right now is very happy living in a gay relationship.

"I'm very happy with that; I don’t look to the future and think I might change my sexuality because I’m hoping that my relationship is the one that is going to last me for the rest of my life."

In a later interview on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in 2007, George Michael reflected on his coming out. "I’d been out to a lot of people since 19," he said. "I wish to God it had happened then. I don’t think I would have the same career – my ego might not have been satisfied in some areas – but I think I would have been a happier man … Then AIDS changed everything. I was too immature to know I was sacrificing as much as I was."

Was George Michael married?

George Michael never got married, but he had several long term partners. He was with art dealer and businessman Kenny Goss for 13 years, and at the time of his death in 2016, George Michael was in a relationship with celebrity hairdresser Fadi Fawaz.

George Michael was in a relationship with Goss at the time of the arrest that led to him being outed. The couple met in LA in 1988 and were together until 2009. Though it was reported in 2005 that they were planning on formalising their relationship with a civil partnership, it never happened. 

Kenny Goss (left) and George Michael (right)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, George Michael reportedly started dating Fadi Fawaz in 2009 - though his split from Goss wasn't made public until 2011. The pair were first pictured as a couple in Switzerland in 2015, when Michael was reported to have checked in to a nearby rehab clinic.

Since Michael's death, Fawaz has been in the headlines a number of times. In 2020 he was arrested for allegedly hitting cars with a hammer, and a year before he was arrested on charges of aggravated criminal damage after being spotted on George Michael's property.

George Michael walking towards a car with George Michael behind him

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who did George Michael leave his money to?

George Michael's will left his property and personal belongings to be divided equally between his sisters, Yioda and Melanie.

The MailOnline previously reported that George Michael left £97,645,179 in his will, but none of it went to his partner Fadi Fawaz.

Meanwhile, George Michael's father was handed the use of his horse stud farm in Hertfordshire "for so long as he wishes", while paintings and art including his John Lennon piano were left to the trustees of the Mill Charitable Trust – a charity Michael set up in 2009 to give money to other charities.

In other TV news, we've revealed what Andrew Ridgeley did after Wham! and uncovered the lives of others in front of the lens, from where Heather Mills is now and how Paula Yates died to if Fred Sirieix is married and how many children Pamela Anderson has

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.