George Michael’s partner in Wham! has paid tribute to his former bandmate saying Michael “was the finest singer/songwriter of his generation.” Andrew Ridgeley was Michael’s bandmate during the early 1980s. The pair split in 1986 after a farewell concert at Wembley stadium.
On Christmas day 2016, Michael passed away at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, at the age of 53. His manager has speculated the cause of death was heart failure.
Since Wham! broke up in 1986, rumors of a reunion concert always surrounded the band. In an August 2014 interview, Michael sparked major hopes of a comeback concert when he said, “Andrew came round and cooked. We were talking about a reunion at Glastonbury in the fallow year.”
The “fallow” year refers to a year in which the Glastonbury festival doesn’t take place so the comment was likely a sign of Michael’s extraordinary sense of humor.
During a 1997 interview with Hello! magazine, Ridgeley said that he sometimes thought about a third Wham! album.
An online bio says that Ridgeley’s parents had worked at Bushey Meads School in Hertfordshire. When Michael enrolled there, it was Ridgeley who was charged with befriending the new student.
Ridgeley said of the time, “[Michael was] apprehensive and not particularly outgoing, but likable. We certainly got on from the word go, especially with our shared love of music, and that was the very beginning of our friendship.”
Since 1990, Ridgeley has been together with Banarama singer Keren Woodward. The couple lives in Cornwall together with her son, Tom. The Sunday Mirror reported in 2015 that the couple split up but quickly got back together.
He told the newspaper at the time, “We split up but we are through those difficulties now and it is all ancient history. It’s safe to say that things are good and we are very happy now. I don’t really like to talk about my private life much but we have worked through everything.”
Ridgeley has been out of the music world since 1994 when he released a solo album titled Son of Albert. Music magazine State named it as No. 2 on their list of Albums to Avoid Before You Die. The review adds, “Son Of Albert is just flaming useless and bloody pathetic unmitigated guff at every level.”
Yahoo reported in 2013 that the album failed to break the Top 75 in the United Kingdom.
The Daily Mail reported in 2015 that Ridgeley spent much of his time campaigning for environmental causes, surfing and playing golf.
A separate 2007 Daily Mail feature on Ridgeley detailed his one-time ownership of a bar and an ill-fated career as a race car driver in Monaco. That piece adds that Ridgeley has amassed over $12 million in Wham! royalties over the years but doesn’t comment on his overall net worth.