Michael speaks of delight at US tour

George Michael said today it was "incredible" to be touring North America again after almost 20 years of feeling depressed and "cursed".

George Michael said today it was "incredible" to be touring North America again after almost 20 years of feeling depressed and "cursed".

Michael, who has sold more than 85 million records with hits such as 'Careless Whisper' and 'Faith', performed the first of two shows in New York last night as he nears the end of a seven-week, 22-city North American tour.

It is his first tour in the US in 17 years and the 45-year-old pop star told 'Good Morning America' today it was his music which got him through the years of depression and shock.

Referring to his late 20s and his relationship with Anselmo Feleppa, he said: "It was a terribly depressing time. I had my very first relationship at 27 because I really had not actually come to terms with my sexuality until I was 24.

"I lost my partner to HIV then it took about three years to grieve; then after that I lost my mother. I felt almost like I was cursed.

"The only thing that got me through it was my music. It survived. I wrote very, very little, but the little I wrote did well and kept my head above water.

"It was depression and shock which just went on for years."

He went on: "As the 24 or 25 year old that could not believe how quickly all of his dreams had come true, could not believe how blessed he'd been, and then just this absolute nightmare.

"You have to believe that there's some reason it happened in that order. I was supposed to learn those things a bit earlier than other people so I could put it in to work."

In the first of a two-part interview with the US breakfast TV show, Michael talked openly about his arrest in public toilets in Beverly Hills, California, in 1998 for engaging in a lewd act.

The incident forced him to openly disclose his homosexuality and his relationship with American Kenny Goss.

"It was a very eventful and bizarrely dark period for me that I actually thought was going to go on forever," he said.

Talking about the arrest, he went on: "It was a huge relief, and it took me about a year to admit to myself that I'd done it deliberately."

He also talked about his drugs arrest in October 2006, when he was found slumped over the wheel of his car. Last May he pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drugs and was banned from driving for two years.

"When you know you've done something really stupid, then the punishment doesn't really feel inappropriate," he said.

"And it's a weird thing, because I think I really learned something from that, because I did something that I'd never done in my life, which is take risks with other people."

Last night, during a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York, Michael told fans he thought US Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would make the strongest presidential team.

"I know you guys all need a change," he said.

He admitted that after "months of watching CNN" he still does not know what Mr Obama or Mrs Clinton stand for, but if Mr Obama "takes on Hillary, I'll know he's got some balls".

He also dedicated his song "Amazing" to Goss, who was in the audience, and told fans at the concert that gay marriage should be legal in New York.

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