Belfast Telegraph

George Michael’s sister hits back at Sir Elton John claim

Melanie Panayiotou spoke to The Big Issue magazine.

George Michael during his Symphonica, The Orchestral Tour (Ryan Phillips/PA)
George Michael during his Symphonica, The Orchestral Tour (Ryan Phillips/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

George Michael’s sister has hit back at Sir Elton John’s claims that the late star was uncomfortable with his sexuality.

The singer died at the age of 53 on Christmas Day 2016.

Sir Elton, 72, recently said the ex Wham! star “was so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay even though he said he wasn’t”.

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Sir Elton John (Ian West/PA)

The Rocket Man singer also told US show The Talk that Michael “didn’t want to be here”, as he claimed he had tried to help him overcome his addictions.

But Melanie Panayiotou told The Big Issue magazine that the Careless Whisper singer was “my ‘very proud to be gay’ brother, contrary to what you may have read recently”.

Sir Elton and Michael both sang on the hit Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Michael suffered health scares and fought drug addiction for years before his death from heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver, which can be linked to drug and alcohol abuse.

He came out as gay following his arrest in 1998 for engaging in “a lewd act” in front of an undercover police officer in Beverly Hills.

Some of his most famous solo work referenced his sexuality and he later 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.”

Following his death, Michael was praised for his work as a prominent gay rights campaigner.

The Big Issue, sold by vendors to lift themselves out of poverty, is available for £2.50.

PA

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