tale to tell

Darren Hayes recalls time he dated Madonna’s brother, Christopher Ciccone


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Australian singer Darren Hayes, formerly of Savage Garden, has been recalling some of his previous romantic liaisons. It turns out that he dated two people previously in Madonna‘s inner circle, including one of her brothers, Christopher Ciccone.

Christopher, who is gay, used to be very close to his big sister. He designed some of her record sleeves in the 1980s, worked on her tours, and even did some backup dancing. However, they famously fell out after he wrote a memoir about her, Life with My Sister Madonna, in 2008.

Hayes, who came out in 2006, was a guest on the Australian radio show Fitzy & Wippa today.

Hayes, 50, said he’d always been a huge Madonna fan.

“I guess I can say this now because I’ve been married for 17 years, but I went on a few dates with her brother,” he revealed.

“I was set up on a date with him through one of Madonna’s friends. And also I knew Alek Keshishian, who did that film, In Bed with Madonna.”

Hayes confirms he also dated Keshishian for a while, but it wasn’t because he wanted to get close to Madonna.

“The thing was, I wasn’t like a Madonna stalker,” he laughed.

“They could have introduced me to her the whole time. And it was really important for me to let them know, like, ‘No, I’m into you. I’m not into her,’ even though I was totally gagging to meet her.”

Related: Gay pop singer Darren Hayes opens up about his marriage to high-school girlfriend

Hayes married his husband, Richard Cullen, in 2005.

“Years later, when I met my husband, and I had sort of … well, not Christopher. Christopher and I just didn’t gel. Alek and I had a really special connection… but it just wasn’t love for me. And it was a bit awkward, so we didn’t speak for a few years.”

Hayes says he did eventually meet Madonna, and run into Alek again.

“One day I end up invited to a party by a mutual friend of Madonna’s and mine, and I had no idea she was going to be there.”

He says Alek answered the door, which threw him. Hayes says he was with his husband and was also “in a fat period, and you don’t want to meet an ex when you’re fat,” prompting laughs from his radio hosts.

Hayes says the event turned into an impromptu birthday party for Madonna. There were only around 16 people present, including fellow celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow.

‘I walk into the room, I scan the room, and there’s this huge, golden light from God on Madonna!’ he said.

It turned out Madonna had been a Savage Garden fan and been to one of their concerts in 1998, so they engaged in conversation, with Hayes calling her “amazing” and Madonna telling him she “loved” him.

However, he says he later saw Alek whispering into Madonna’s ear, and Madonna kept glancing over at Hayes across the dinner table, saying, ‘Uh-huh.”

“And then they took a break from the dinner table to go to the bathroom, like girlfriends do to talk about stuff!”

Hayes was paranoid they were talking about him. Or that Keshishian was filling Madonna in on the fact he’d dated her brother and the documentary-maker. He says he and his husband were happy to leave a short while later as he felt uncomfortable.

“I don’t know if she loves me now, because she obviously would have found out all that stuff,” he joked. “I love Alek but I haven’t spoken to him in years.”

You can listen to the whole interview below. The Madonna comments start after 1.30.

Savage Garden shot to fame with their debut album in 1996, which included big hit singles such as ‘Truly Madly Deeply.’ The band disbanded in 2001.

Hayes released a handful of solo albums after Savage Garden split. He returned to the music scene earlier this year with his first new single in ten years, ‘Let’s Try Being In Love’, which was promoted with his most out-queer video yet. In interviews at the time, he reflected on how he’d not felt able to be his real self at the peak of his fame.

“I wanted to show I love the feminine in me, be proud of the gay me. There’s a dance scene that is so passionate, everything’s alive and thriving and blooming. That’s how I feel in general about music. And that’s a hugely sharp contrast to how I felt 10 years ago.”

Related: Darren Hayes has the perfect response to hater who says he’s “too old” and “too gay”

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