Sir Elton John has had a rollercoaster of a life when it comes to his relationships.
Today he is happily married to his long-term partner of 25 years David Furnish, with who he has two young sons, Zachary and Elijah.
But his love life has not always been a walk in the park.
Before he took on the stage name Elton John, as Reginald Dwight, he jilted an old girlfriend weeks before their wedding in 1970, leaving her distraught.
Linda Hannon, who still has her engagement ring, opened up about his moonlight flit ahead of the Rocketman biopic, which focuses on Elton coming to terms with his sexuality.
“We were a month away from the wedding when he drunkenly woke me up and told me it was off,” she told the Mirror .
“Then he called his stepfather to come and get him. He walked out and that was it. I was so shocked. I loved him very much, and I thought he loved me.”
Linda also shockingly found him with his head in their oven during their relationship – he had left the kitchen window wide open and set the gas knob to low, but said at the time it was a cry for help due to his music career moving too slowly.
Shortly afterwards, he walked out on Linda leaving her heartbroken.
He announced that he was bisexual in 1976 and went on to marry Renate Blauel, a German sound engineer in 1984, but divorced her after four years when he came out as gay.
He recently posted on his Instagram a photo of himself in Australia where he and Renate had tied the knot.
“I’m so excited to be back in Australia for a series of shows. Many years ago, I chose Australia for my wedding to a wonderful woman for whom I have so much love and admiration. I wanted more than anything to be a good husband, but I denied who I really was, which caused my wife sadness, and caused me huge guilt and regret,” he wrote.
John had been struggling with drug and alcohol dependency at that time.
He told The Australian: “A drug addict thinks like this: ‘I’ve had enough boyfriends, and that’s not made me happy, so I’ll have a wife — that will change everything. And I loved Renate. She’s a great girl. I really, really loved her. But, you know… it is one of the things I regret most in my life, hurting her.”
He and Renate remain close friends today.
Among Sir Elton’s ex-lovers is John Reid, his former manager, with whom he was involved in an £8million High Court battle in 2000.
During the case, the singer claimed that Reid mishandled his business affairs and admitted spending £30million in less than two years – including almost £15,000 a month on flowers.
Another former lover of Elton’s, who he has never named, tragically died by suicide after struggling with his sexuality and Christian beliefs.
Sir Elton has championed gay rights for many years and has encouraged people to come out.
“I want my sons to grow up in a world without homophobia,” he told The Guardian back in 2011.
He eventually began a relationship with his long-term partner David Furnish, a former advertising executive and now film-maker, in 1993. They were one of the first couples to form a civil partnership in the UK, in 2005.
They have been happily together for 25 years and now have two sons through a surrogate.
Now 72, Elton juggles his career with raising his children.
He has openly spoken about being proud of his working class roots and wants to instil those values in his two boys. In an interview with the Daily Mail he said: “I came from a very working class background where I had to work for everything I got, and I want to instil those same values in them. But it’s harder growing up in this world and David and I are very mindful of that.
“They’re fantastic young boys, they have good hearts and compassionate, kind personalities.”
Last year, after suffering a near-fatal bacterial infection and being rushed to intensive care, Sir Elton decided to hang up the gloves on his showbiz career.
“I was in intensive care on Thursday and stayed there for two days. I was very, very close to death. I didn’t know that … and was very fortunate I had great team of doctors.” he told The Sun last year.
Elton is back in the spotlight again with a movie about his life, The Rocketman – directed by Dexter Fletcher – being released in May.
Welsh actor and singer Taron Egerton will be playing Sir Elton.
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