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Versace death brought John, Diana together

On AIDS: 'An incredibly big rise' among young people

Elton John
Elton John  

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Sir Elton John says he and friend Princess Diana had a falling-out about a year before she died, but the death of Gianni Versace brought them back together.

"It was one of her charity things that I'd organized, and she pulled out of it. And I wasn't too happy, and I let her know that. And then she wrote me a very terse letter," the singer said in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" that aired Friday night.

When Versace was fatally shot outside his Miami Beach home in July 1997, Elton John and Diana reached out to each other.

"It's one of those things that friends sometimes do. You know, they're too proud to pick up the phone. And it was just due to a tragic event like Gianni's murder that brought us back together again," said John.

Princess Diana died later in 1997.

John said he first met Diana at a gathering for Prince Andrew's 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle near London. He and she, John said, became fast friends.

"She made you completely feel at ease," Sir Elton said from Atlanta, where he has a home. "There wasn't a stiffness or an awkwardness, which there can be sometimes with other members of the royal family, because you're so aware of protocol."

Addiction and expenditures

During the wide-ranging interview, John said it took 16 years of drug- and alcohol-addiction to prompt him to finally seek help.

"I've been sober now and clean for 11 years," he said. "And it was the best thing I ever did. But, you know, those three words -- 'I need help.' If only I'd said them earlier."

John also acknowledged his free-spending ways, and offered no apologies.

"I'm a lavish kind of guy, and that's the way I am," he said.

"The whole point of being in this business and being blessed and being successful is that you're able to do things for your friends or your family, which means that they can have something special in their lives, too."

John, who started the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, also expressed a worry that young people are becoming less concerned about AIDS and unsafe sex.

"The danger is we're seeing an incredibly big rise amongst young gay people, young heterosexual people as far as catching HIV, which is, you know, in an educated country like this (the United States) or in Britain, it's frightening."


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