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George Michael's highs and lows

21 September 08 08:48 GMT

After more than 25 years of success, scandal and tragedy, George Michael is back in the headlines after he was arrested in a public toilet and cautioned for possession of drugs.

A STAR IS BORN

Their manager Simon Napier-Bell previously managed The Yardbirds and Marc Bolan, and co-wrote Dusty Springfield hit You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.

  • Napier-Bell later wrote of the band's appeal: "They looked like siblings, dressed as if they were on a holiday of a lifetime, and had a beguiling homoerotic intimacy."
  • In 1983, Pepsi De Macque replaced backing dancer DC Lee to form a partnership with existing dancer Shirlie Holliman.
  • Debut album Fantastic hit number one in the UK, while global success was achieved with aptly-titled second album Make It Big, which reached number one in the US.
  • In April 1985, in front of 15,000 teenagers at the People's Gymnasium in Beijing, Wham! became the first Western pop group to perform in communist China.
  • After a string of hits, the band split up in 1986 when Michael was 23. They reportedly sold 20 million albums and between 10 and 15 million singles.
  • "The fact that he didn't contribute anything must have been a terrible blow to his ego," he said about Ridgley after the split.
  • SOLO SUCCESS

    PRIVATE TURMOIL

    In 1991, Michael met lover Brazilian Anselmo Feleppa. The two struck up a close relationship until he lost Mr Feleppa to Aids two years later.

  • "Anyone who knew me before I met Anselmo would tell you that he opened me up completely - just in allowing myself to trust my intuition," the singer said later.
  • The song Jesus to a Child was a tribute to Feleppa.
  • He has said he took the loss of Mr Feleppa and then his mother Lesley in 1997 "very badly" and that it led to "a period of kind of semi-hibernation".
  • He was outed as homosexual after propositioning an undercover police officer in a public toilet in Los Angeles in 1998.
  • His arrest and subsequent conviction for lewd conduct resulted in a $450 fine and 80 hours community service.
  • He later told Q magazine that "running naked up and down Oxford Street singing I Am What I Am would have been a more dignified way to come out".
  • He made light of the incident on his single Outside, which was a hit later that year.
  • He became open about his sexuality and has been in a relationship with Kenny Goss for more than a decade.
  • Michael has spoken about the open nature of the relationship, and has admitted seeking "anonymous and no-strings sex" on London's Hampstead Heath.
  • SOLO RETURN

    In 2002, he released the single Shoot the Dog, a political satire with a video showing Tony Blair as George Bush's poodle.

  • He also recorded a cover version of Don McLean's anti-war song The Grave as a protest against military action in Iraq.
  • In 2004, the superstar released his first new album for eight years, Patience.
  • Two years later, he embarked on first tour for 15 years and was the first performer to play at the new Wembley Stadium in London.
  • DRUGS, POLICE AND THE FUTURE

    He was twice cautioned for possessing cannabis after being found asleep at the wheel of his car on two separate occasions in 2006.

  • The same year, he was seen lighting what appeared to be a cannabis joint on a South Bank Show special, saying: "This stuff keeps me sane and happy."
  • He told Desert Island Discs his marijuana use could be "a problem" and said he is "constantly trying" to smoke less of the drug.
  • As a result of one of the incidents, he was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and banned from driving for two years.
  • In 2007, he was also in the headlines after being accused of colliding with three parked cars and driving off without notifying the owners.
  • This summer, he said he wanted "a quieter life" out of the public eye and played his "Final Two" major concerts at Earls Court in London.
  • His plans for a quieter life have not lasted long - he has been cautioned for possession of class A and class C drugs after being arrested in a public toilet.
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