George Michael: Death of Wham! was because I was closeted and miserable

George Michael said the demise of Wham! — the band he formed with childhood friend Andrew Ridgeley — was tied to him being secretly gay.

“In reality, the turning point of Wham! was nothing to do with Wham!,” the late singer shared in an unaired interview in the upcoming Netflix documentary “Wham!”

“The turning point of Wham! was me as I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m a massive star and I’m gay,’ and the depression was about that,” he continued, “about the way I’d boxed myself in.”

George Michael portrait.
Michael had wanted to come out early in his career but lost his nerve.
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The documentary tells the story of Michael and Ridgeley meeting in school and bonding over their shared love of music. The two decided to form a musical duo and by the age of 20 had already found success.

The duo became the first Western pop act to play in China, had a slew of No. 1 hits and achieved global success. They played their last gig at Wembley Stadium in June 1986.

The “Careless Whisper” singer realized he was gay or at the very least bisexual at the age of 19.

Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael on the beach.
Michael and Andrew Ridgeley met in school and formed Wham! while still teenagers.
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WHAM! performing.
Wham! sold more than 30 million records in the ’80s.

“I had stayed over at this guy’s house,” he revealed in an interview played in the documentary. “He’d tried to have sex with me but I’d been too scared, but I realized I wanted to stay in the bed for the night. I realized I wanted to be close to this guy, which had never happened before.”

Michael went to tell his best friend, Ridgeley, who only “wanted him to be happy” but advised Michael not to come out to his family, especially his father, a tough Greek Cypriot immigrant.

“That is a pivotal moment,” Michael said. “At that point in time, I really did want to come out, and then I lost my nerve completely.”

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of WHAM!
Michael admitted he didn’t realize how much he would sacrifice by staying in the closet.
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George Michael
Michael went on to have a hugely successful solo career.
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As Wham!’s success continued, the singer felt more and more trapped.

“I had this little voice inside going, ‘What am I going to do?'” he recalled. “I was intelligent enough to know that this was the wrong road if I was looking for happiness. I should not be trying to catch up with Michael Jackson or Madonna, which is what I was absolutely intent on doing. I wanted to be able to develop as a human being but I felt trapped.”

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The “Freedom!” singer admitted that he “was too young and too immature to know that I was sacrificing as much as I was.”

Michael went on to have a hugely successful solo career and finally came out to his parents after his true love, Brazilian dress designer and stylist Anselmo Feleppa, died of AIDS in 1993. He penned an emotional four-page letter, which did not surprise his always-supportive mother. Unfortunately, his father did not take the news so well.

george michael
Michael (pictured here in 2011) died at age 53 in 2016.

In his later years, the Grammy winner repeatedly fell for porn stars and developed a serious drug problem.

He died on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53 from liver disease and heart failure.

“Wham!” begins streaming on July 5.