George Michael’s last years were marked by a disturbing addiction to illegal substances, especially the so-called date rape drug GHB.
George Michael’s final years were marked by an agonizing addiction to illegal substances, especially the so-called “date rape” drug GHB.
After Careless Whisper the singer completed his 25 Live Tour in 2008, according to a new book, he “lived in a fog”.
“He slept until noon, and then remained on the grass almost every waking minute,” writes James Gavin in the biography. George Michael: Lifereleased June 28th. “He sat at his computer, played video games, binge watched TV, had GHB dates, and went to midnight joints to [Hampstead] Heath is one of the most famous gay places in Europe.
In September 2008 Wham! the frontman was discovered by the police in the underground men’s restroom in Heath. After searching Michael, they found marijuana and crack and arrested him.
A few months later he was arrested again after a car accident and police found him “drenched in sweat” with “open eyes and dilated pupils”.
It was the singer’s seventh arrest in 12 years. His license was suspended for five years and he was sentenced to four weeks in prison.
“To Michael, the GHB felt like it was heaven-sent,” Gavin writes. “In addition to fueling his sexual compulsiveness, it made the depressed and self-loathing man feel attractive; it brought joy where there was little of it. GHB gave him confidence on Hampstead Heath and with the most intimidatingly sexy escorts. But it also took him to a frightening new level of self-destruction. GHB is more addictive than methamphetamine and more dangerous in all its forms.”
The drug also fueled Michael’s nine-year relationship with British adult film actor and escort Paul Stag.
“Michael paid him both for sex and for acquiring his new favorite drug, GHB,” Gavin writes. “In text messages, it was called “champagne”.
Stag delivered the medicine in travel shampoo bottles, and Michael mixed it into a glass of Coca-Cola.
“Suddenly,” Stag recalls in the book, “Michael would announce, ‘Now I’m ready. Let’s go and have sex.”
“George was crazy about Gee,” Stag told the Sun many years later, the book notes. “He was incredibly sexually active, and in his mind, drugs were equated with sex, and sex was equated with drugs.”
In February 2006, the singer was found lifeless in his Mercedes, which was stuck across the road less than two miles from his home in Regent’s Park. When the police knocked on the window, Michael opened the door, “half-conscious and mumbling.”
During a search, marijuana and GHB were found on him. A source told the Daily Mirror that officers also found sex toys, including “a black leather fetish mask with studs, headlight eyes and a zippered mouth.”
By 2014 I want your sex the singer suffered from panic attacks and bloated from overeating. On May 30, an unknown person found him unconscious in a bathroom in Highgate. It was an overdose of GHB—and not the first.
Friends begged the performer to go to rehab; “Eventually the psychiatrist talked him into it,” the book says.
The site chosen was the Küsnacht Practice in Zurich, writes Gavin, “which, for drug addicts, was the equivalent of a five-star continental resort…starting at $130,000 a week.”
Michael ended up staying in Switzerland for most of the year, costing him “approximately £1.5 million”.
He returned home in mid-2016 and “old habits have returned.”
GHB made him crave fatty foods and resulting weight gain caused liver disease. Michael was found dead at the age of 53 on Christmas Day 2016 at his home northwest of London. The cause was heart disease – dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis – and fatty liver.
This story originally appeared on Page six and is published here with permission.