Elton John Talks About Being “Consumed” By Drugs During Onset Of AIDS Epidemic

This week gay icon Elton John talks to Today‘s Matt Lauer about his new memoir and discusses his career, his sexuality and his regret that he was “consumed” by drugs during the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

“I wasted such a big part of my life, when this epidemic was beginning to happen in the early 1980s. And I was a drug addict and self-absorbed,” he told Lauer from his home outside London. “You know, I was having people die right, left and center around me, friends.  And yet, I didn’t stop the life that I had, which is the terrible thing about addiction.  It’s that — you know, it’s that bad of a disease.

I was consumed by cocaine, booze, and who knows what else. I apparently never got the memo that the Me Generation had ended.

John told Lauer he feels guilty about that time, but “I’m making up for it. There is so much more to be done.”

Promoting his new memoir, Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS, the bewigged star also admitted his addictions led him to act recklessly:

“When you take a drug and you take a drink and you mix those two together, you think you’re invincible,” John  said. “I came out of this HIV-negative. I was the luckiest man in the world.”

Proceeds of Love is the Cure benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Elton John’s interview with Matt Lauer airs on NBC’s Today on Tuesday, July 17, and Wednesday, July 18. Photo: NBC

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  • Matt

    It’s not a secret that Elton paid for a lot of male prostitutes during this time and had A LOT of bareback sex as a bottom.

  • the other Greg

    @Matt: Damn, he really WAS lucky. Life is so unfair – we lost Freddie Mercury, but Elton is HIV-neg and playing piano for Rush Limbaugh.

  • Mike

    Freddie Mercury was bisexual and didn’t stay closeted, unlike Elton who never was bisexual and pretended to be bisexual when he never was. Apparently Freddie Mercury became poz from sharing needles for injecting drugs.

  • kofisekyere

    hi elt i wont bit around de bush i want to have sex wit u.i vex always imagine dat day i was vven jealous when u showed up wit ur guy.nhm by de er u still gay if not im sorry to bring back old wonds if u er please let have sex.do not mind the distance.u er soo cut e n

  • ScaryRussianHeather


    Freddie was not bisexual in the traditional sense, and absolutely stayed “closeted”. It doesn’t really count if some of your inner circle “know”. Or if you use a term “daffodil”.

    He was with Mary Austin six years but unable to be without men because of the constraint of his fame and the dismal prospects of his future. He was closeted until the day he died, even then unable to make other than a clinical statement about his disease instead of a plea for funds for research.

    Or you never heard of Jim Hutton, his “gardener” the last six years of his life? Read his book.

    You can see Mary interviewed on uTube wherein she says he told her he was “a gay”. And how relieved she was for him to at least know what was wrong with their relationship that he was cheating on her and that he’d at least be freed of the secret even though their relationship had to go to the platonic stage.

    Life partners in a sad situation because he could never pursue what he really needed except on the downlow so he clung to her for his whole life at that level.

    Like many younger men of his day, he “tried” to live the lie and even though he loved her in a “way” but living that lie is no replacement for an open and public relationship that he would have been able to have if he were born in this generation.Let’s not make up fake history. Just because he made some dumb comment about a daffodil or something does not mean he was “OUT”.

  • Tom

    @the other Greg: What the hell is wrong with you? I hear this sentiment a lot, from Poz and Neg alike. Elton got very, very, unbelievably lucky. I can’t understand why people have so much resentment for him. WTF? Regardless of what we think about the epidemic, all neg people who don’t live in monastaries are, to some extent or other, lucky. How lucky they are is just a matter of degrees. Elton has more than proven himself to be an amazing activist in all respects. There are plenty of people who I truly wish hadn’t escaped the earliest years of the HIV epidemic. Elton has shown humility about his survival and an ongoing commitment to a cause greater than himself. This is so much better than the endless string of queers who now ignore HIV entirely or recylcling scare stories from the 80s to make themselves sound like heroes.

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