George Michael explains why Wham! His co-star “dissuaded” him from coming out in 1983

A new wham! The documentary has explained why George Michael didn’t come out as gay during his time in the band.

The new one-off special follows the rise of the 1980s pop group through archival interviews with Michael and bandmate Andrew Ridgeley.

About 20 minutes into the film, which is available to stream on Netflix, Michael is heard talking about his sexuality, which he kept hidden from the public until 1998.

However, shortly after Wham!, the singer, who died on Christmas Day 2016, revealed that he “really wanted to get out there”. Great success came in 1983 after what he called a “terrible” Top of the Pops Performance of the song “Young Guns”.

In the documentary, Ridgeley recalled a conversation he had with Michael and Wham! Had led. Dancer Shirlie Kemp, who was part of the dance duo Pepsi & Shirlie, in which Michael came out to them.

“He said to me, ‘I didn’t know how to tell you this, but I’m gay — if not gay, you know, bisexual,'” Ridgeley said. In the documentary, Michael said he realized he was gay six months earlier after meeting a man while filming the music video for “Club Tropicana” in 1984.

“When I realized that this was a part of my sexuality that I couldn’t ignore, I went to Andrew and came out,” Michael said. After he did so, however, Ridgeley and Kemp suggested that he keep his sexuality a secret, causing the singer to “lose his nerve.”

He explained: “I said I’d talk to my mum and dad and I was absolutely convinced that it really wasn’t the best idea. I don’t think they were trying to protect my career or theirs – I think they were literally just thinking about my dad.”

Ridgeley confirmed, “We felt like he just couldn’t tell his dad.”

Describing it as a “decisive” time in his life, Michael acknowledged that his close friends might have been “the wrong people to ask for advice on this subject,” explaining, “The three of us were so close at the time, But the point is, I really, really asked the wrong people.”

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George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! in the new Netflix documentary


Ridgeley attributed this to her age at the time, adding, “I mean, we were 10, 20 years old. Our perspective was a bit narrower.”

Michael added, “At that point I was dying to come out, but I said, ‘I’ve lost my nerve.'” The singer said that instead of his sexuality, he “forged an identity through” his “success” as a pop star .

The documentary titled wham!is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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