The title of Simon Napier-Bell’s warm, incisive “George Michael: Portrait of an Artist” documentary is somewhat limiting. The film captures the rise of a pop icon and taps into his creative process and place within pop culture. But it also explores Michael’s activism, romances, his tortured public life and decades of secret and often extravagant philanthropy.

The title of Simon Napier-Bell’s warm, incisive “George Michael: Portrait of an Artist” documentary is somewhat limiting. The film captures the rise of a pop icon and taps into his creative process and place within pop culture. But it also explores Michael’s activism, romances, his tortured public life and decades of secret and often extravagant philanthropy.

It’s damned good, a brisk overview and a celebration of the man, his music and the world he lived in and, as many of those interviewed here maintain, changed, and a lamentation of his addictions and premature death.

We hear from collaborators and peers, biographers and broadcasters, journalists, friends and a lover — but also psychotherapists — all of them with an opinion of how he lived, what he endured and the things that made him the person he was and the pop artist he became.

Napier-Bell, who’s made music videos as well as docs on Sinatra and “The 27 Club” (“27: Gone Too Soon”), dashes confidently through quick-cuts of this life and material, giving us a taste of the breathless rise to fame of the former Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, the heady highs and the grim, often self-destructive lows.

Sometimes, those could happen the same day. “The love of his life,” Anselmo Feleppa, was dying of AIDS and watching as Michael paid tribute to the late Freddie Mercury by covering “Somebody to Love” in the concert celebration of the Queen singer’s life.

Michael’s arrest for propositioning an undercover cop in an LA public restroom was “liberating,” more than a few who knew him say. Michael not only complained of the 1950s style entrapment still being practiced by the LAPD. He made a righteous spectacle of his “community service,” working at the Project Angel Food kitchen and dragging the media along to highlight a charity he’d been giving to for years, and continued to support for years afterward.

British actor, wit and activist Stephen Fry talks about the “secret” philanthropy that suggested Michael wanted to give as much away as possible without getting credit. Fry remembers breaking down in tears when Michael declined to write another check to an AIDS charity Fry was fundraising for, instead offering the group all British royalties from a greatest hits album.

Michael’s self-destructive side wasn’t just limited to his shifting sexual image and later drug addictions. He took on Rupert Murdoch’s venal right wing media empire. “He knew he was going to get eaten alive, and he did,” one observer notes.

He even wanted to make a pornographic film, expanding the music video for one of his most eye-opening and sexually raw tunes, “Freeek,” and got pretty far into production before thinking better of it.

The “telling anecdotes” from friends, the TV interviews Michael did himself, the armchair analysis of the things that drove Michael and shaped his later life make “Portrait of an Artist” a terrific snapshot of the Wham! star who became a legendary figure not just in music, but the gay community and world pop culture as well.

The George Michael I loved and lost: Kenny Goss was the superstar’s partner for 13 years but was branded a gold-digger when he sued his estate. Now he says it’s time to set the record straight with some painful home truths

  • After George Michael died, Kenny Goss went to pay his respects to his father

  • Former Wham! frontman had died unexpectedly at age of 53 on Christmas Day 

  • George had had a complicated relationship with his father, Kyriacos Panayiotou

The George Michael I loved and lost: Kenny Goss was the superstar’s partner for 13 years but was branded a gold-digger when he sued his estate. Now he says it’s time to set the record straight with some painful home truths

  • After George Michael died, Kenny Goss went to pay his respects to his father

  • Former Wham! frontman had died unexpectedly at age of 53 on Christmas Day 

  • George had had a complicated relationship with his father, Kyriacos Panayiotou


Several weeks after George Michael died, plunging millions of his fans around the world into shock and mourning, his former lover and close friend Kenny Goss went to pay his respects to George’s grieving father at his home in Hertfordshire.

The former Wham! frontman and global superstar, with the notoriously turbulent private life, had died unexpectedly at the age of 53 on Christmas Day 2016, and his body was still in the custody of the coroner.

Kenny, whose romantic relationship with the star lasted for 13 years, might have reasonably wondered what reception he would get when he arrived on the doorstep.

After all, by many accounts, George had had a complicated relationship with his father, Greek Cypriot restaurateur Kyriacos Panayiotou, known as Jack, who, it was claimed, had never accepted his son’s homosexuality.

But what Kenny encountered that day warmed him to his heart. ‘When he opened the door, Jack was bawling. He was very, very emotional and kept saying over and over that he’d lost his son. He said: “He’d be alive if he was still with you,” ’ remembers Kenny.

‘He pulled me into his arms and, at one point, George’s sister Melanie tried to lighten the atmosphere, saying, “OK, you can let go now, you guys”. Families are complicated but there’s no doubt in my mind that George’s father loved him deeply and came to accept George for who he was.’

Interest in the much-loved singer-songwriter, who sold 130 million records globally, has been rekindled recently following the release of a new book and two films about his extraordinary life and career.

There’s the biography George Michael: A Life by music writer James Gavin and the documentary George Michael: Portrait of an Artist by former Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell, plus the authorised film Freedom Uncut, which was released at the end of June, compiled by his childhood friend David Austin, and contains hours of unseen home footage and interviews with famous friends such as Elton John and Kate Moss.

But Kenny, now 63, was with the superstar longer than anyone else and arguably knew him better than anyone.

In his first wide-ranging interview, he gives new insight into the star’s life and shares photographs of him that have never been seen before — showing George at his happiest and most relaxed.

We meet at Kenny’s 3,000 sq ft penthouse apartment on the 18th floor of a high-rise tower in the upmarket neighbourhood of Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, which is testament to the other great love of his life — contemporary art.

Many fans were shocked when Kenny launched a legal action to secure a settlement from George’s estimated £97 million estate, according to documents released last year at the High Court in London.

Kenny had sued the estate, it was claimed, under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, which allows those who were previously financially dependent on someone to claim from their estate if they are left out of the will.

Claims of bitter in-fighting with George’s family and that Kenny was demanding $15,000 a month are untrue, he says.

‘I went from being long-suffering Kenny who put up with George’s infidelities to being called a money-hungry gigolo who was trying to take money from George’s family,’ he says. ‘It was hurtful and false.

‘I haven’t done anything wrong. I gave up my career at George’s request and, at 63, I’m not likely to get a full-time job again. George wanted me to be settled financially.’

One of Kenny’s legal team said: ‘Any issues Mr Goss had with respect to the estate were resolved amicably and satisfactorily.’

The luxurious flat in Dallas would suggest Kenny emerged from the case financially secure.

The apartment is full of art. In the gleaming white kitchen, there are three limited- edition Tracey Emin ‘foundlings and fledglings’ teapots sitting on the marble counter, alongside a picture of a tree signed by Paul McCartney’s photographer daughter Mary.

There’s also a copy of Nigella Lawson’s 2007 book Nigella Express, which she had signed for George even though neither of them cooked, points out Kenny.

At the same time, the love the two once shared, is still very much in evidence within these walls, in the few, poignant reminders of George — a stylish black-and-white photograph of the singer playing guitar taken by Chris Cuffaro and a large-scale and endearing picture of the singer aged six or seven in a cowboy costume.

In Kenny’s walk-in wardrobe, there are photographs of George kissing Meg, a Labrador puppy that he bought Kenny as a gift for his birthday in 2001 — along with a Range Rover.

‘I keep these pictures in here where its private, because I don’t want the house to be a George Michael brag-a-thon,’ says Kenny.

The pair met in LA in May 1996 but the story that George spread — that that’d started a conversation as they waited in line for seats at a restaurant — was made up, according to Kenny. They’d actually met at a day spa called the Beverly Hot Springs, and the story about the restaurant queue ‘was George’s idea because he was worried that people would think he was cruising,’ says Kenny.

George, at that point, was 33 but still hadn’t come out publicly. The pair were soon madly — and secretly — in love and, within two weeks, George had presented Kenny with matching rings, with Love Conquers All inscribed in Latin.

One of the reasons Kenny thinks the singer chose him is because George knew that his mother Lesley, whom he adored and who died of cancer the following year, would think him suitable.

‘I had good manners, I had a job and George wanted his mother to see him in a stable relationship so that she didn’t have to worry about Aids,’ says Kenny. ‘I met his mother only three or four times before she died but she was lovely to me. I called her “Ma’am” and I called his dad “Sir”, which George said he loved.

As the partner of one of the world’s biggest pop stars, Kenny had a front-row seat to George’s rollercoaster showbiz life. There were trips around the world and to George’s homes including Chez Nobby, the house he bought in St Tropez.

For the first seven years of their 13-year relationship, Kenny juggled his position as George’s partner with his job in the U.S. as head of a team of 200 sales reps for a cheerleading supplies company.

One day, he says, George had had enough of him shuttling between time zones. ‘He said: “Look, you don’t need to work, we have plenty of money.” He wanted me to be around all the time, to be at home when he came back late from the studio, and to look after the dogs. So, I quit.

‘Looking back, it was the wrong thing to do. I ate a lot of nice meals, drank a lot of martinis at Claridge’s and became a bit of a party boy.

‘George was always in the studio, so I’d pass the time going to the gym, tidying the house and walking the dogs. But I didn’t want to be Mrs George Michael — it wasn’t my personality.’ Six months later, on a break at the luxurious Aman hotel in Morocco, George finally lost his temper with Kenny.

‘It was a real dressing down,’ he recalls. ‘In that very direct and brutally honest way of his, he asked me what I was doing with my life. He said: “You have to do something and give back.”

‘It brought me to my senses and motivated me to show him what I could do.’

After successfully raising funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust, Kenny had the idea of blending his love of art with philanthropy. Within six months, the Goss-Michael Foundation was established in Dallas, Kenny’s hometown, which the couple launched with a splashy party. ‘George was proud of what I’d done and bragged about it all the time,’ says Kenny. ‘He loved coming to Dallas because he could be relatively anonymous here. He even started saying “y’all”.’

Both men had addiction problems — Kenny with alcohol and George with drugs. Towards the end of the pop star’s life, it was claimed the singer was using crack cocaine, ecstasy and smoking as many as 25 joints a day. Kenny says he flushed George’s drugs down the toilet when he found them.

George’s promiscuity was a constant source of worry, too. It was no secret the pair had an open relationship, ‘but it was also no secret that he was much more open than me,’ says Kenny.

In fact, George was forced to finally go public with his sexuality in 1998 when he was arrested for lewd behaviour after propositioning an undercover policeman in a Beverly Hills public toilet.

‘He came out so late, and he was proud of being gay, so he jumped into it with full force,’ says Kenny. ‘I worried to death about him and I know he hated hurting me.

‘A group of us tried to stage an intervention but he told us to f*** off, saying: “I’m living my life”. It was a scary time, but I didn’t judge him. I just wanted him to be OK.

‘When he got arrested in Beverly Hills, he said to me: “Thank God my mother’s not here to see this.”’

There were good moments, too, which Kenny treasures. Although he was adored for his good looks by both men and women, the singer was self-conscious about his appearance, according to Kenny.

‘He felt he could never get his hair right because it was so luxuriant. I can’t tell you how many hairdryers were thrown across rooms around the world,’ Kenny laughs.

By 2009, their relationship had petered out. ‘There was no big falling out — we never shouted at each other or anything like that — but he’d met Fadi Fawaz (the Australian former hairdresser who discovered George’s body) and I guess he decided it was time to say that it was over.

‘Our romantic life was over, but the love was still there. He gave me full title to our houses in Dallas and LA — he took care of me. George never quibbled about money.’

There were rumours that George might have taken his own life the day before Christmas, on the anniversary of his beloved mother Lesley’s birthday, but Kenny discounts this. ‘I think his body was just worn out,’ he comments.

George’s funeral, which eventually took place three months after a coroner ruled that the singer died of heart and liver disease, was a small and private affair, as requested by his family.

‘It was a Greek Orthodox ceremony with a priest and incense and chanting . . . it was very beautiful,’ says Kenny. ‘George’s eldest sister Yioda brought me up to the front at the cemetery, which was a lovely and thoughtful thing to do.

Fadi, he remembers, almost didn’t make the ceremony. ‘I know he was late enough that they were about to lock the church doors and he didn’t come to the wake afterwards,’ he shrugs.

There were only about 40 people at the funeral, meaning many friends of George’s such as Elton John could not say their goodbyes.

‘It was low key and private, which was what the family wanted. I remember thinking that George was at peace now,’ adds Kenny.

And now he is devoting his time to that side of his life that had made George proud.

The non-profit Goss-Michael Foundation — which provides a forum for British and American contemporary art and has partnered with organisations such as MTV to raise millions of dollars for causes such as domestic violence, food poverty and LGBTQ issues — has been in hibernation during Covid. Now Kenny is ready to get back to business.

‘Covid’s given us a chance to step back and re-boot, so we can continue the work George wanted us to do by doing more projects online and partnering with other galleries to educate, raise money and inspire people.’

Kenny says he still thinks about George every day and it’s mostly happy memories. His last conversation with George was on the phone about a month before he died.

‘He had just got his driving licence back and he was on good form. I had no sense that this would be the last time I talked to him.

‘I always closed our conversations with words to the effect that he should remember that many people, including me, loved him and he said: “I know, darling”.’

They are words he will treasure for ever.

The truth about George Michael — by the friends who knew him best.

Simon Napier-Bell managed Wham! from 1983 to 1985. Now he’s made a film, George Michael: Portrait of an Artist, about the star — and no one had a bad word to say about him, he says.

The truth about George Michael — by the friends who knew him best.

Simon Napier-Bell managed Wham! from 1983 to 1985. Now he’s made a film, George Michael: Portrait of an Artist, about the star — and no one had a bad word to say about him, he says.


During fifty years as a music manager, I’ve often wondered whether it’s been a worthwhile way to spend my life. It’s a strange job; you subjugate your own creative ambitions to be an appendage to someone else’s. Sometimes it seems worthwhile, sometimes it doesn’t. A couple of times, just when I’ve been in maximum doubt, something has come along to validate it, which is what happened in 1983 when I first started working with George Michael. He was the type of artist who made being a manager feel like a worthwhile job.


It wasn’t just his songwriting and performance abilities, it was his awareness of image and confidence in himself. He was the most creatively complete person I ever managed, the only solo artist who could produce his own records better alone than with anyone else. There is virtually no other singer who can do that, not Paul McCartney, not Madonna, not Jay-Z, not Drake.


I only worked with him while he was in Wham!, just three years. When he went solo I stopped. Yet it was impossible thereafter not to follow his career in the same close way you might follow the career of a relative or a great friend.


During the time I worked with him one of the most striking things about him was his ability to think ahead about how each thing he did or planned might affect his career thereafter. One time he said to me, “I’ve never done anything I could regret later.”


Because George always worked with such a careful plan for where he was going — the correct flow of songs to build his audience, the correct order to release them in, the correct imagery to go with each one — I took what he said as just one more aspect of his nature. He thought first and acted accordingly.


But as I continued to manage him, I sometimes saw him take surprisingly clumsy steps, do things that really might not be in the best interest of his future career, come to decisions that were not as logical as he liked to think they were. After I stopped managing him, I saw him do this more frequently and I began to wonder if it was deliberate. Obviously, the most famous of these was his arrest in a public toilet in Los Angeles. Maybe what he’d meant about never doing things he could regret later was that he liked to challenge himself — to do silly or unplanned things and then solve the problems they caused, bringing himself to a new and refreshed point that he would never have been able to arrive at any other way. Coming through unscathed and thus nullifying any possible regret. In other words, he seemed to be playing a permanent game of “dare” with himself.


I had originally planned to call my new documentary, George Michael: Portrait of an Artist,“The Artist versus the Music Business versus Himself”. It didn’t really have to be about George, it could have been about any of the big pop artists in Britain; it could have been Lennon, or Bowie, or Elton. The industry is the biggest challenge to their fulfilment as artists — its uncompromising need for commerciality clashing endlessly with their need to experiment and find new artistic ground. And their other enemy is themselves, all those aspects of their characters that come between common sense and a smooth-running career. Once I saw it in that light, I realised the film could be a template for looking at the life of almost any great artist: Van Gogh, Rachmaninov, Rudyard Kipling, Orson Welles or Francis Bacon. I hoped that in the process of following George’s life from Wham! days to the end we’d come to understand more about him.


When I started doing interviews for the film I found that everyone who had worked with him, whatever they had gone on to do afterwards, considered their time working with George to have been some of the most rewarding in their professional lives. It was the same for me too; those three years with Wham! came to seem like the best thing I’d done as a manager.


During that time my management partner, Jazz Summers, and I managed to get them invited to play in China, the first western pop group ever to do so. Then, just 18 months after we started working with them, we got them a stadium tour in America, the fastest any British group had ever broken to that level in the US. That put the sales of their second album on a par with top American artists such as Madonna and Prince. And then under our management they each made their first million.


One thing I never discussed directly with George was his homosexuality. He knew I was gay, so if he had wanted to discuss it he could have. If he didn’t wish to, then it was no business of mine to bring it up. He would have been aware that I knew he was gay because he was shrewd enough to know that the gay network, which he was already a part of, was unable to keep any secrets from its members. There were a few occasions, though, when we did talk about it in a roundabout way.

Once was on an early morning shuttle from LA to San Francisco during Wham!’s first tour of America. It was in February 1985 and they had a gig that night in Oakland. I was reading the Los Angeles Times, talking to George about the things I was reading, and I remember him being unusually chatty. On an inside page I came across an article about Aids, which at that time was still in its early stages. The article said scientists had come to the conclusion that anyone gay who had had sex outside a monogamous relationship during the past 12 months would almost certainly get it and die.

It was a shocking thing to read and I remember dropping the newspaper, shutting my eyes and fainting. George noticed and asked what was wrong. What had I read? So I handed him the newspaper.

After he’d read it he didn’t say another word to me, not just for the rest of the flight but for the rest of the time we were in San Francisco. In fact, everyone in the crew was commenting — George seemed not to be talking to anyone.

Like all great artists, George was prepared to put his most painful experiences into his work. He perhaps did it more directly than any other music artist aside from Leonard Cohen, and like Cohen he had no fear of throwing his pain right in your face.

The first time he did this was when he was still with Wham!. A Different Corner was obviously about some deep emotional confusion. In interviews he talked about it obliquely but few people who knew him had any doubt that it was about his own sexual conflict. Yet for George, I felt that releasing that single wasn’t just an emotional release; it was almost certainly a considered part of his master plan for stardom that he should drip-feed the public with his inner complexities while simultaneously carrying them along on a wave of more traditional pop. He did the same with Faith, an album that clocked up four No 1s in America.

However, by the end of the 18-month world tour that accompanied Faith’s release, the pressure of maintaining the false façade that supported its image was too much for him. He snapped and said he would no longer do promotion for singles. He then disappeared into the studio to make Listen Without Prejudice, a covert coming-out.

That he still didn’t come out in a general way wasn’t surprising. Aids was now at its height. We were in a period when to say you were gay was, to the general public, to say you were the carrier of a deadly disease. The music business tradition was for pop fans to want more than anything else to get close to their idols and touch them. To have announced he was gay would have seemed to have been an instant end to success.

Eventually, his coming out was made easier by meeting Anselmo Feleppa, his first overwhelming passion. Anselmo travelled with him when he was gigging and they were unable to conceal their affection for each other from the people around them. Coming out is usually not a single big moment, it’s more often a dribble, or a leak. The first group of people to know were the musicians he worked with, his road crew and the other people who travelled with him. Then a broader group, eventually including his parents. By the time he was caught in the toilet in LA, the truth was, the press already knew he was gay. The arrest simply gave them the green light to start talking about it. For George, too, it was a green light. He could now make up for all those years when he’d concealed it.

The British public didn’t care much either. As Dylan Jones says in the film: “There were several moments when the British public wanted to put their collective arms around him and say, ‘It’s all right. We don’t mind.’ ”

What was so admirable about George from then on was the degree to which he pushed being gay to the forefront of everything he did and said. After Anselmo died, he got into a successful long-term relationship with Kenny Goss. It was the normalcy of their appearances in public that made the biggest impression. George would be doing an interview; Kenny would be in the background. “I’ve got to go home now,” Kenny would call out to him. “OK,” George would say. “See you later, darling.” Nothing camp, nothing hidden, nothing over-demonstrative, maybe just a peck on the cheek — just like normal people.

George did his utmost to make this the image he would project: being gay was normal, nothing more, nothing less. For someone in that position, with that much attention being paid to him, to project homosexuality in that everyday way gave young gay people more confidence in themselves than any amount of proselytising could do. It was impressive.

Admittedly, it went a bit wrong when he was arrested in the toilet for importuning, and later again on Hampstead Heath for cruising. But from then on he always owned his mistakes and in most cases turned them to his benefit. He’d become the world’s most public figure playing the “dare” game.

Several people who have seen the film have asked me, “Why did you interview that person and not this one?”

My simple rule was: “Do we learn something about George, or his music, or the environment of celebrity in which he had to exist?”

It was also quite selfish. I was learning about George for myself, as much as anyone else. Here was someone who for three years had been a huge part of my life and I wanted to discover more about what was behind his story, which like everyone else I’d mostly only followed in the media and through his songs.

Interestingly, although George frequently said he disliked interviews, he often told journalists more than he was prepared to tell many of his best friends. After he’d done an interview with Adam Mattera for Attitude magazine, George said he’d told him more than he’d told his analyst in twenty years of consultations.

Another journalist, Simon Hattenstone, found himself lecturing George on his drug habits, something George would accept from almost no one. Yet George then drove him home and had afternoon tea with Hattenstone’s family.

All together I interviewed 42 people — critics, friends, fans, writers, other artists, people who worked with George and people who advised him. From this came 50 hours of insight and anecdote, and from that came our documentary, 90 minutes culled from the 3,000 minutes we filmed.

Fellow artists Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright, Tom Robinson and Sananda Maitreya (formerly Terence Trent D’Arby) highlighted some of the difficulties of being a performing artist and commented on the unique way George dealt with it. Record producers Chris Porter and Johnny Douglas talked about the way he worked in the studio and his extraordinary method of composing lyrics straight from his mind into the microphone. Stephen Fry told of his extraordinary generosity, and music critics Pete Paphides and Paul Flynn were hugely insightful on the impact his music had had on them and on the general public.

From not a single person did I hear anything but admiration for George as a person and an artist. It’s true there were stories of dark moments, angry moods, stubbornness and self-destructiveness, but for an artist those are not necessarily bad qualities. And George knew that all too well.

Perhaps, though, my favourite remark came from Kenny Goss. It rang so true of the George I managed and knew when he was in Wham!.

“When George was talking to you, if you disagreed with him he’d tell you, ‘It’s because you’re not listening.’ ”


Who Really Was George Michael? New DOC Answers Just That!

The new documentary GEORGE MICHAEL: PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST (Amazon Prime Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play), details just that, told candidly from the people who really knew him best – his music manager Simon Napier-Bell, his longtime lover and partner Kenny Goss, fellow luminaries Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright, Stephen Fry, and many more.

Who Really Was George Michael? New DOC Answers Just That!

The new documentary GEORGE MICHAEL: PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST (Amazon Prime Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play), details just that, told candidly from the people who really knew him best – his music manager Simon Napier-Bell, his longtime lover and partner Kenny Goss, fellow luminaries Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright, Stephen Fry, and many more.


By far the most definitive feature documentary on George’s amazing life, the film explores the many ups and downs of the illustrious Grammy Award winner, considered one of the best-selling musicians of all time with sales of over 120 million records worldwide.

Born in North London, George Michael rose to fame as member of the pop duo Wham! with their first two albums reaching #1 on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, with hit singles including “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas”. Simon Napier-Bell managed their career, helping establish them as a global act and the driving force behind their groundbreaking Beijing concert, the first visit to China by a Western popular music act, which generated worldwide media coverage. George’s first solo single, “Careless Whisper”, reached number one in over 20 countries including the UK and the US, with his debut album Faith topping the UK charts and staying at number one for 12 straight weeks on the Billboard 200. Globally it sold 25 million copies, and four singles from the album—”Faith“, “Father Figure“, “One More Try“, and “Monkey“—reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Michael became the best-selling music artist of 1988, and Faith was awarded Album of the Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards.

But with all of his success, George fought a continuous internal battle with his identity and public persona. Outside music, he was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. His personal life, drug use, and legal troubles made headlines during the late 1990s and 2000s, as he was arrested for public lewdness in 1998 and was arrested for multiple drug-related offences after that time. In 1996 George began a decade long romantic relationship with artist Kenny Goss, and in 1998 he came out as gay publicly for the first time. George suffered from substance abuse for many years, but in 2008 had a major comeback tour with the release of Twenty Five in celebration of his 25 years in music. George died at the age of 53 on Christmas in 2016 due to natural causes related to heart and liver disease. 

Following his death, many charities and individuals posted on social media about George’s generous philanthropic acts and how he often donated his time and much of his wealth anonymously. The pop star avoided making headlines for his many acts of kindness, which included volunteering at a homeless shelter, paying for a woman’s fertility treatments and tipping a waitress thousands of dollars to help her pay for her nursing school debts. The documentary GEORGE MICHAEL: PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST dives deeper into who George really was – a kind and generous person who ultimately fought many demons while being front and center as one of the most famous musicians of his time – through never before heard anecdotal stories of his closest friends and allies.