Slap Fight

George Michael’s sister slams Elton John’s claim that George was uncomfortable being gay

The sister of singer George Michael has spoken out against Michael’s longtime friend and fellow out gay singer Elton John after remarks John made suggesting George Michael was never comfortable with his sexuality.

Appearing on the TV show The Talk, John spoke out about his late friend, noting he was “so uncomfortable in his skin about being gay even though he said he wasn’t.” Michael had come out to friends as bisexual at age 19 and came out publicly in 1999.

Related: LISTEN: New George Michael song released – his first since 2012

Now George Michael’s sister Melanie Panayiotou, 55, tells The Big Issue that George Michael had no problem with his sexuality, referring to him as “my ‘very-proud-to-be-gay’ brother, contrary to what you may have read recently.”

In interviews following his coming out, George Michael admitted that he dated both men and women and struggled with his sexuality while part of the pop group Wham! in the 1980s. He also feared that with AIDS rampant at the time, and with his mother still living, that he would bring disgrace to his career if he ever came out. Following his 1998 arrest for propositioning a man in a public bathroom, and his subsequent coming out a year later, George Michael confessed to suffering from depression after leaving Wham! over fears that he may be outed. That said, in the years that followed, Michael never shied away from discussing his love life or sexuality in interviews.