Matt Lauer Interviews Elton John on TODAY, 7/17-18
Entertainment legend Sir Elton John sits down with TODAY's Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview about his first-ever memoir, Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS. John speaks candidly about the personal toll AIDS has taken on his life, and his passion for his work in the fight against the disease. He also opens up about his struggle with drugs, alcohol and bulimia, and he reveals deeply personal details about going public with his own sexuality.
The interview, which took place at John's home outside of London, will air on NBC's TODAY in two parts, today and Wednesday July 17 and 18.
The sale of Love is the Cure will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). Founded in 1992, EJAF has raised $275 million to fight the AIDS epidemic and to help those affected by it.
Excerpts from the interview airing today, July 17 and tomorrow, July 18 on NBC's TODAY follow:
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. 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.
Here's how you write about it in the book, "I was consumed by cocaine, booze, and who knows what else. I apparently never got the memo that the me generation had ended."
You feel guilty about it?
Don't you think you've made up for it?
I'm making up for it. There is so much more to be done.
John on his sexuality and when he came out:
Did you have any fears about how it might impact your career?
No, it-- I honestly didn't. And it-- to be honest with you, it did a little bit. 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. So by me saying gay in the 1970s-- it didn't have a big effect on me whatsoever.
During the early days of the AIDS episode, you were this rock star. And you were not living a life practicing safe sex. Weren't you afraid?
You know what? When you take a drug and you take a drink and you mix those two together, you think you're invincible.
I couldn't remember. That's-- I mean, I came out of this HIV negative.
There but for the grace of God.
Yes. I was the luckiest person in the world.
Being a father to Zachery seems to have even opened the possibility of more children?
Is that because you want to embrace more children or you worry that Zachery grows up without a brother or sister?
I'd love to have more children. And also Zachery, being the child of a famous person is hard. And I would like him to have-- you know, when he's four and he starts going to preschool kids will say, "You don't have a mummy." And we know that. We talked about this before we had Zachery. And we're gonna say, "Well, listen, there's gonna be consequences involved in having a child when you're two gay parents." And I want him to have a brother or a sister to go to school with him. And so that he can have someone to play with.
They're still going to ask questions about why you don't have a mommy.
Yeah, of course they are. And we'll talk to him about that. And it's going to be heartbreaking for him to grow up and realize he hasn't got a mummy. But he's so happy. I've never seen a more contented child. And you have never seen two more contented people as David and I.
Photo credit: Dave Hogan/NBC