Elton John Says He's 'Glad' His Kids Didn't Meet His Mom: 'She Would Have Criticized Them'
In a preview for his interview with CBS Sunday Morning set to air on Oct. 13, the legendary musician said that his mother never met his two sons, Zachary, 8, and Elijah, 6, whom he shares with husband David Furnish, before her death in 2017.
“She never liked David. She never liked anybody. She never asked to see the children,” John, 72, said. “But I’m glad they didn’t meet her, because she would have criticized them, like she criticized me.”
“She couldn’t help herself,” he added. “She’s a sociopath.”
John went on to say that he and Farebrother reconciled before she died, though nothing had changed significantly in their relationship.
“The only thing that changed was I didn’t lose my temper,” John said. “I knew what was coming, and I let her get on with it. And I just said, ‘I love you, Mum,’ and she said, ‘I love you, too. I don’t like you, but I love you. But I don’t like you.’”
When asked about regrets, John said it was trying cocaine in 1974. Despite vomiting the first time, John went back for more — and soon, he was hooked.
“It nearly destroyed my soul,” he said. “My soul was black, like a charred piece of steak, until I said, ‘I need help.’ And suddenly a little pilot light in my soul came along going, ‘Yes, I’m still here. I’m still here.’”
Now clean and sober for 29 years, John said that he wrote his upcoming memoir, Me, for his sons.
“I wanted my boys to know what I was like and what happened, so that when I’m not here, they can read the book and read the truth,” John said. “I just want them to understand what I was like when I went through the journey I had before I had them. How they made my life complete. How they’ve, you know, finished the circle. And that, you know, they were the last chapter in an incredible life.”
John further details his relationship with his mother in Me, due out on Oct. 15. In an excerpt published by the Daily Mail this week, he describes how his mother tried to stop him from celebrating his union with Furnish, 56, with a civil partnership in 2005.
“I was as happy as I could ever remember being,” John writes of the special day. “And that was the moment my mother turned up, in character as a raving sociopath.”
According to the book, John knew that something was amiss when Farebrother and his stepfather, known affectionately as “Derf,” arrived at his Old Windsor home and refused to leave the car.
“Despite various entreaties to come into the house, they just sat there, stony-faced,” writes John. “There, Mum announced she wouldn’t be joining the convoy of cars setting off for Windsor nor would she be coming to the private lunch afterwards.” Things quickly deteriorated from there. “Oh great,” John recalls thinking. “The most important day of my life and one of Mum’s moods appeared to be upon us.”
Aware that they were in full view of the world press, John says he remained on his best behavior, striving at all costs to avoid a public spat with his mother.
Farebrother, meanwhile, is said to have remained sour. “When David and I exchanged our vows, she started talking very loudly, over the top of us, rattling on about how she didn’t like the venue and couldn’t imagine getting married in a place like this. When the time came for the witnesses to sign the license, she signed her name, snapped: ‘It’s done, then,’ slammed the pen down and stormed off.”
The bad feelings continued at the reception, where she apparently complained about her seating placement (“You might as well have stuck me in Siberia!”) and verbally fought off anyone who approached her with social niceties.
Later, John learned that Farebrother had called Furnish’s parents in an attempt to put a stop to the civil partnership ceremony, citing fears that it would spoil her superstar son’s career. The rationale confused John, who always felt that his mother had been supportive of his sexuality.
“She had never been homophobic,” he writes. “As ever, I think the real problem was that she hated anyone being closer to me than she was … She couldn’t cope with the tough of the umbilical cord finally being cut and she didn’t care about anything else, including the fact that I was finally happy.”
The rift would continue to grow deeper over the years. By the time Zachary was born in December 2010, John says that he had “started actively avoiding” his mother and they “weren’t speaking at all.”
The final straw came when John fired his longtime assistant, Bob Halley, who had always been close to his mother. Farebrother was “livid” when she heard the news, saying that he had always been more of a son to her than John ever had. But the most hurtful moment, John claims, came when she took a swipe at Furnish.
“And that’s when she said it: ‘You care more about that f—ing thing you married than your own mother.’ We didn’t speak for seven years after that phone call.”
He says he continued to support her financially, but they stayed estranged. “It was sad, but I didn’t want her in my life anymore. I didn’t invite her to the ceremony when the law on gay partnerships changed again, and David and I got married in 2014.“
Farebrother, he claims, responded by selling off gifts from her son — including platinum albums he’d had specially engraved for her. She celebrated her 90th birthday in 2015 with an Elton John tribute artist in place of the real thing.
John got back in touch when he learned that his mother was seriously ill in 2017, but some of the cracks could never be mended. She died of an undisclosed illness that December.
“So sad to say that my mother passed away this morning,” John wrote on social media on Dec. 4. “I only saw her last Monday and I am in shock. Travel safe Mum. Thank you for everything. I will miss you so much. Love, Elton.”
In Me, John admits that he broke down while giving her eulogy at the funeral service. “I missed the person I was describing terribly, but I’d started missing her decades before she died.”