George Michael’s sister has hit back at claims by Sir Elton John that the late singer was uncomfortable with being gay, insisting that he was proud of his sexuality.
In a recent interview on a US talk show, Sir Elton said Michael had been “uncomfortable in his skin about being gay”, but Melanie Panayiotou has rubbished his comments.
She told The Big Issue that Michael “was my ‘very proud to be gay’ brother, contrary to what you may have read recently”.
In his recent appearance on CBS’s The Talk, Sir Elton chatted about trying to help Michael out before his death on Christmas Day 2016.
He said: “He couldn’t get it, George. And he resented the fact that I had hinted that maybe he change his life a little bit and he’d be happier if he tried something else.
“The person has actually got to want it. It’s like me in the end; I really wanted it. I had two alternatives: one, to die, and one to live, and I wanted to live. But that’s the difference if you want it, and poor George didn’t want it.”
Sir Elton added: “He was so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay, even though he said he wasn’t.”
Michael kept his sexuality a secret until 1998, when he was caught by undercover Beverly Hills police engaging in a “lewd act” in a public toilet.
After he was publicly outed, Michael said in an interview: “I never had a moral problem with being gay.
“I thought I had fallen in love with a woman a couple of times. Then I fell in love with a man, and realised that none of those things had been love.”
At the time of his death, Michael was in a relationship with the Australian hairstylist and photographer Fadi Fawaz, who found the singer’s body on Christmas morning 2016.