George Michael struggled a lot with his fame before he realised he could use his position to help other people, his former love has revealed.
Kenny Goss, who was in a relationship with George for 13 years until they split in 2009, has written a very personal blog for HuffPostUK, describing how George had huge difficulties with a public profile, until he realised it was an opportunity to do good.
“He definitely struggled with his fame, but he realised he could use it as a force for good. He decided that even though being in the public eye might not make him happy, he had the privilege of being able to help others, and that’s exactly what he did - in spades.”
The couple lived together in George’s homes in England, and Kenny’s in Dallas, and created a Foundation in 2007, channelling money into causes close to both their hearts, including hunger relief and HIV prevention.
“When we set up the Foundation in 2007, we knew we wanted to make a difference, and fight for causes we really believed in,” remembers Kenny. “George always described himself as a “lucky bastard”, and he saw this as his way to give back. He easily gave away more than £10million and that’s only the stuff I know about. and it was almost always anonymously.”
The pair both suffered with separate addictions - George with drugs, Kenny with alcohol - and Kenny has decided to focus the Foundation’s resources onto mental health issues and addiction.
He writes: “I think now is a better time than ever to turn the focus onto mental health and addiction.
“When you have first hand experience living with an addict, and when you have struggled with addiction personally, it only seems right to share your story in the hope of helping others. I can now do this in George’s memory. I take solace in knowing that speaking openly might serve as a source of strength for others, and I am confident that George would feel the same way.”
George died on Christmas Day 2016, and his funeral was held last month in Highgate Cemetery, close to his London home. Kenny had been in close contact with George in the final months of the singer’s life, and continues to call him one of his closest friends. He says now: “I don’t like to speculate about what would have happened if we had stayed together. Perhaps we’d have helped one another. Or maybe we’d just have made things worse.”