By Courtney Hazlett
Singer Elton John sat down with TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview about his memoir, “Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS.” John spoke candidly about the decades leading up to where he is now, saying that he “wasted” much of his time on drugs and addiction, especially during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.
“I wasted such a big part of my life, when this epidemic was beginning to happen in the early 1980s. And I was a drug addict and self-absorbed,” he told Lauer from his home outside London. “You know, I was having people die right, left and center around me, friends. And yet, I didn’t stop the life that I had, which is the terrible thing about addiction. It’s that — you know, it’s that bad of a disease.”
In his book — sales of which will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation — John writes, “I was consumed by cocaine, booze, and who knows what else. I apparently never got the memo that the me generation had ended.”
John told Lauer he feels guilty about that time, but “I’m making up for it. There is so much more to be done.”
The two also discussed John’s sexuality, and his fears — or lack thereof — about living publicly as a gay man, even though coming out impacted his career.
“In America, people burned my records for a second and radio stations didn’t play me. It didn’t have any effect like the Dixie Chicks had when they made the anti-Iraq statements and their career was ruined,” John said. “So by me saying gay in the 1970s — it didn’t have a big effect on me whatsoever.”
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