Andrew Ridgeley has revealed his “disbelief” at hearing of the death of lifelong friend George Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day in 2016.
The Wham! star told The Big Issue that, despite their very different careers after the end of the huge pop band, his friendship with George Michael – nicknamed Yog by close friends and family – endured until the end.
“When I found out [George had died] it was a moment of disbelief,” Ridgeley recalled, as part of an interview to be published in next week’s Letter To My Younger Self. “I think anyone finds it difficult to comprehend when someone they’re so close to passes away, it’s an inconceivable moment. It leaves a void in your life. I’d love to just sit and have lunch and play Scrabble with Yog again.”
Ridgeley and Michael were close friends from the age of 12, having met at school and quickly made a close bond. They formed a band when they were 16. Wham! went on to become one of the UK’s biggest pop acts of the 1980s, selling more than 30 million records worldwide from 1982 to 1986.
Though Wham!’s huge success only lasted four years, the band’s co-founder and songwriter has no regrets about their decision to end it so early.
“I didn’t feel sad when we brought Wham! to a close [at a farewell concert at Wembley in 1986],” he said. “It may have been the end of a chapter, but we still remained friends. Yes, we were going to be spending less time together. But we were both embarking on new chapters in our lives. We were extremely fortunate to have the friendship we did. And we were extremely fortunate to have achieved far more than we ever thought we would.