Inside story of George Michael’s harrowing last years

George Michael’s final years were punctuated by a disturbing descent into illegal substances, most notably the so-called “date rape” drug GHB.

George Michael’s last years were marked by a harrowing descent into illicit substances, especially the so-called ‘date rape’ drug GHB.

After the Carefree whisper singer ended his 25 Live Tour in 2008, he was “living in a haze,” according to a new book.

“He slept until mid-afternoon and then stayed high on the pot almost every waking moment,” writes James Gavin in the biography. George Michael: A Lifefrom June 28. “He sat at his computer playing video games, binge-watching TV, arranging GHB-powered appointments and taking midnight joints to [Hampstead] Heath” — one of the most notable gay cruising areas in Europe.

In September 2008, the Wham! frontman was discovered by police in an underground men’s room in the heath. After searching Michael, they found marijuana and crack cocaine and arrested him.

Months later, he was arrested again after a car accident and police found him “drenched with sweat” with “yawning eyes and dilated pupils”.

It was the singer’s seventh arrest in 12 years. His driver’s license was suspended for five years and he was sentenced to four weeks in prison.

“For Michael, GHB seemed like heaven sent,” Gavin writes. “Besides fueling his sexual compulsion, it made a depressed and self-loathed person feel attractive; it brought joy where there was little. GHB gave him confidence on Hampstead Heath and with the most intimidatingly sexy escorts. But it also took him to a terrifying new level of self-destruction. GHB is more addictive than meth and riskier in all its variants.”

The drug also fueled Michael’s on-and-off nine-year relationship with British actor and adult film escort Paul Stag.

“Michael paid him both for sex and for purchasing his new drug of choice, GHB,” Gavin writes. “In text messages they called it ‘champagne’.”

Stag would deliver the drug in travel-sized shampoo bottles, and Michael would mix it in a glass of Coca-Cola.

“Suddenly,” Stag recalls in the book, “Michael announced, ‘I’m done now. Let’s go and have sex.’”

“‘George loved G,’ Stag told the Sun years later,” the book notes. “‘He was incredibly sexually active, and in his mind drugs equaled sex and sex equaled drugs.'”

In February 2006, the singer was found slumped in his Mercedes – which was leaning over a lane less than two miles from his home in Regent’s Park. When the police knocked on the window, Michael opened the door, “half unconscious and mumbling”.

During a search, he was found to be in possession of marijuana and GHB. A source told the Daily Mirror that officers also discovered sex toys, including “a black leather fetish mask with studs, headlight eyes and a zippered mouth.”

By 2014, the I want your sex singer was plagued with panic attacks and bloating from overeating. On May 30, an unknown person found him unconscious in his bathtub in Highgate. It was a GHB overdose – and not his first.

Friends begged the artist to go to rehab; “Eventually, a psychiatrist made him do it,” the book says.

The site selected was the Küsnacht practice in Zurich, writes Gavin, “which was the equivalent of a five-star mainland resort for an addict… costing $130,000 a week more.”

Michael ended up spending the better part of a year in Switzerland, a detour that cost him “an estimated £1.5 million”.

He returned home in mid-2016 and “old habits returned”.

GHB made him crave fatty foods and the resulting weight gain causes liver disease. Michael was found dead at age 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 republished here with permission.

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