Mommie dearest

Elton John reveals details of why he didn’t talk to mom for seven years

Husbands David Furnish and Elton John (@eltonjohn | Instagram)

Elton John has revealed the details as to why he fell out with his mom and didn’t speak to her for seven years.

A big part of the fallout was due to her lack of interest in his kids, her temper, and belittling remarks about his husband, David Furnish.

Elton is to publish his first official memoir next week, simply entitled Me. In the run-up to publication, UK newspaper the Daily Mail is running serialized extracts each day.

Today it ran revelations concerning his relationship with his mom, Sheila.

As anyone who saw this year’s movie biopic, Rocketman, will know, Elton has long had a difficult relationship with his mother.

Sheila did not initially respond well to him coming out as gay to her and was not always the most encouraging or supportive of parents (although his father is depicted as even worse in the movie).

The two infamously didn’t speak for over half a dozen years but were reunited just a few months before her death in December 2017.

In the book, Elton reveals that after his son, Zachary, was born on Christmas Day 2010, his mom did not want to see the child. Her lack of interest continued after the birth of his second son, Elijah, in January 2013.

Related: David Furnish will “strongly resist any sanitization” of Elton John’s amazing life story 

In fact, he says he can trace a sharp change in her attitude to the time he entered a civil partnership with his husband, David Furnish, in 2005.

The UK introduced civil partnerships that year and Elton and David were among the first to take advantage of the new legislation. They then got married when the UK adapted its laws to allow for same-sex marriage in 2014.

“Since our civil partnership ceremony, something about her had definitely changed, or at least been amplified. She seemed to go out of her way to tell me how much she hated whatever I was doing,” explains Elton.

“If I made a new album, it was a load of rubbish: why didn’t I try to be more like Robbie Williams? If I bought a new painting, it was bleedin’ ugly and she could have painted something better herself.”

He says she would sometimes explode with real anger, and that having her around was like “inviting an unexploded bomb to lunch or on holiday.”

Their relationship deteriorated until he actively would avoid having to see her. By the time Zachary was born, they weren’t speaking.

“A tabloid journalist — looking for a scoop about the callously abandoned grandmother — asked her how she felt about not seeing her first grandchild. She told him she wasn’t bothered and that she’d never liked children.

Related: Dexter Fletcher on the sex scene in ‘Rocketman’ and the Madonna biopic

The final nail in the coffin was over his longtime PA, Bob Halley.

Halley had worked with Elton since the 1970s. His mom liked him and the two got along. However, when Elton started working with a new management team who wanted to help him cut back his touring costs, he says Halley disagreed with their methods.

“We had a big argument about it. He said he’d been undermined; I said we were just trying to save money. He told me he was quitting his job, and I lost my temper and said that was fine with me.”

“Mum was absolutely livid when she heard Bob had left — they’d always got on well. She didn’t want to hear my version of events, and told me that Bob had been more of a son to her than I’d ever been.

“And that’s when she said it: ‘You care more about that f***ing thing you married than your own mother.’

“We didn’t speak again for seven years after that phone call. There comes a point when you realize you’re just banging your head against a brick wall.”

Despite continuing to financially support his mother, Elton later heard that she’s auctioned off many of the gifts he had given her, including commissioned jewelry.

“She told the papers she was downsizing, but it was just another way of telling me to f*** off — like hiring an Elton John tribute act for her 90th birthday party.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on

The two began talking again in early 2017. She visited him at his home but still did not wish to see his kids. He says she would change the subject when he mentioned them on the phone.

Despite this, her death came as a blow for the singer.

“I was incredibly upset by Mum’s death. I’d gone down to Worthing to see her the week before — I knew she was terminally ill, but she hadn’t seemed at death’s door that afternoon.

Related: Inside Elton John’s cancer fight: ‘I was 24 hours away from death’ 

“She never was one of life’s tactile, nurturing mothers, and there was a mean streak to her that went beyond just being prone to bad moods.”

Elton’s book is one of the most eagerly-awaited rock biographies of the year. Extracts published over the weekend revealed more about the health problems that nearly ended his life in 2017.

He revealed he’d had his entire prostate gland removed after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

While still recovering from that procedure, he was struck down by a deadly infection while touring South America. He needed intensive treatment and doctors told him that if he’d delayed getting appropriate treatment for another 24 hours, he would have died.

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated