George Michael’s decision to delay his public coming out

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Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley recalls George Michael’s struggles after delaying decision to come out.

Andrew Ridgeley has recalled how George Michael’s decision to delay his public coming out took a heavy toll on his Wham! singing partner’s mental health.

Michael’s career, arrest, coming out and death have been covered extensively but now, with the release of Netflix’s highly anticipated new documentary WHAM!, which charts the rise and success of the ground-breaking pop duo, even more information is coming to light.

During a 35-year career, Michael won more than 50 music accolades, including two Grammys and five Brit Awards. He scored seven UK number-one singles and sold more than 100 million records globally – but beyond his stratospheric success in the public eye, the artist hid a multitude of issues in his personal life.

Although he’s posthumously hailed as an out and proud gay icon, that wasn’t always the case. Michael only came out to the world in 1998, following his highly publicised arrest for “engaging in a lewd act” in a Beverly Hills public toilet.

While Michael lived the rest of his career as unapologetically queer trailblazer, Ridgeley has told People that his decision to delay revealing his sexuality to the public came at a serious cost.

When the “Careless Whisper” singer revealed his sexuality to Ridgeley at the age of 19, in 1982, the news wasn’t exactly a shock.

Ridgeley said: “When he told me it was like, ‘Oh, well, yeah. That explains a few things’, but it was unremarkable, unsensational.”

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