How An Arrest Forced George Michael To Come Out

Celebrated musician George Michael was once forced to keep his sexuality under wraps at a time when it was illegal to be gay. For him, mentioning his relationship preferences could have led to a scandal and wrecked his career. After he lost the love of his life, Anselmo Feleppa in 1993, he was gutted and eventually spoke up about being gay a few years after Feleppa's death.

The choice to come out publicly, however, wasn't voluntary for George Michael. In April 1998, as per a piece by the Los Angeles Times, he found himself embroiled in a controversy when a cop in disguise showed up at the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Los Angeles. He was following a lead he received: he was told that the park's restrooms had been the location for illegal homosexual activities. The officer reportedly found Michael committing "a lewd act" and arrested him. Michael later said that the cop encouraged him to act the way he did.

Michael was forced to reveal his sexual identity after an arrest

To be released from jail, Michael had to cough up a fine of $500. The singer knew that his arrest would spark rumors and he figured that it was best for him to speak about his sexuality and be transparent with his fans. He went on to participate in an interview with journalist Jim Moret and publicly spoke about being gay for the first time. "I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now," Michael revealed. "I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost ten years."

The singer was highly vulnerable during the CNN interview and spoke about the fact that he'd always felt judged. "I spent the first half of my career being accused of being gay when I hadn't had anything like a gay relationship," Michael said. "So I spent my years growing up being told what my sexuality was really ... which was kind of confusing."