George Michael had a profound and special relationship with his mom Lesley Angold Panayiotou, who died in February 1997 from cancer.
In his own words, here are some interview snippets from George that help shed light on his love and relationship with his mother.
On His Philosophy in Life
My general philosophy I got from my mother which is to get through life hopefully happy and fulfilled without harming anyone or anything. If we all knew that much surely life would be so much simpler.
On His Earliest Memory
Being at home with my mother when my sisters had gone to school.
Influence in Setting His Goals
I always saw it through my mother’s eyes in terms of what I should be after, and it wasn’t money.
On What He Owes His Parents
I owe my mother who I am, and my father my drive.
On His Music Genes
My mother loves music and used to be a singer when she was a girl. It never came to anything though, so I don’t know how talented she was.
On Attitude towards Money
I get my attitude to money from her, which is always, you know, her attitude to money was that it was something to be afraid of, and that took a long time for me to get rid of that idea, you know.
On His Connection with His Mother
Very close. It was – my connection with my mother, and I spent a lot more time around my mother, so from that point of view, my mother being English and, in a strange way, very, kind of, classless, because she came from a very
On Staying Home for Christmas
My parents would be rather offended if I didn’t stay home for Christmas. My mum’s upset enough because she read in a paper that I was supposed to be leaving home altogether. I don’t stay in all day though.
On His Ripped Jeans in ‘Faith’ Video
They were my own jeans. The rips were
On the Cross Hanging in His Ear
No, George Michael hasn’t got religion. That’s why my mum hates it. She thinks it’s blasphemous.
The imagery of Christianity is very powerful. Anything which gives people that much hope is a good thing. When I was a child I was an atheist; when I was a teenager I was an agnostic; now I know there’s got to be a force far greater than we can imagine
On Coming Out to His Parents
I didn’t come out with my mother and father until immediately after my first boyfriend,
On Hiding His Sexuality to Shield His Mother
As a man who stayed in the closet to keep his poor mother from worrying about HIV
I didn’t come out until after my mother died, as I was sure the papers would attack me and that would hurt her.
I’m sure, once there was a public understanding, which I still don’t think there is, of how treatable HIV is now … maybe then, maybe a little later, I would have come out because I would have been able to explain to my mum ‘you don’t have to worry about this happening
I come from
SOURCE: Red Line Interview (Part 1)
Although it obviously wasn’t planned that way, I just didn’t happen to come out openly until after my mother died. In a way, though, it was for the best because I’m pretty sure the papers would have attacked me, and I think that would have hurt her.
On the Song “My Mother Had a Brother”
Not that he was definitely gay, but I think he must have been for my mum to have this fear of me being gay. She had a definite fear that I was going to be like her brother – she thought that would mean I couldn’t cope with life. She almost felt like she’d brought this gene… So there were very pointed areas where she let my dad be – supposedly protectively – homophobic.
On Her Family History
She didn’t talk about her brother until I was 16. And I don’t know if that was a decision or whether she plucked up the courage. It changed my opinion of her
On the MTV Unplugged Performance
I suppose I wasn’t used to playing small venues, and the fact that I could hear everything I was doing,’ he recalled. ‘I just lost myself in singing that night. …. I am so glad my mum was there,’ he said years later, ‘and I’m so glad for the first time ever, the only time ever on film, I actually said hello to my mum in the audience. It was the last time she saw me play.’
On Losing His Mother
Three years after Anselmo died, I met Kenny. I called my mother the day after I met Kenny to tell her I met this wonderful man. Unfortunately, it was the same call she had to tell me she had cancer.
Everything that went on this year was a complete breeze compared to losing my mother, so it gave me a fantastic perspective. It made me realize that it’s only a scandal: embarrassing for a couple of days, but nobody got hurt, nobody died.
On Grieving Her Loss
She kept it from me. Of course she was lying to me, telling me it was all fine now. Everything is fine. They got rid of it. So I could go on with me being happy. 7 or 8 months later, she died. That period after she died, was the blackest period of my life really. The time in my personal life and it took me to write again after I lost her, is really the reason what I haven’t been around.
I was so convinced that I was going to lose her, that in my own way I was grieving well before she died,
When my mum died, it was the one time when going through my internet sites made me feel good, people genuinely wishing you well is a blessing.
After my mum died, I thought I was dealing with it, but I worked my arse off, so I had no time to reach the depths. Finally, I fell apart.”
- George Michael on Anselmo Feleppa
- Desert Island Discs: George Michael Interview (2007)
- George Michael’s Interview with the Gay Magazine ‘The Advocate’ (1999)
- An Audience with George Michael: Interview with Chris Evans (1996)
- George Michael Interview with Capital FM Radio with Dr. Fox (Dec 1998)