Famous for his unmatched melodies and flashy clothing, Elton John is considered one of the greatest musicians in the world. These days, however, he defines success not by the number of records he’s sold, but by his family.
In a 2016 interview with Matt Lauer, Elton said of his sons, “That was the greatest decision I’ve made — well — we’ve made, in the last six years, is to have those boys. They’re our primary concern. They’re the things that come first and foremost.”
Read on to learn more about Elton John, his kids, and his family.
1. He Has 2 Children
Elton John has two sons with his partner David Furnish: Elijah Joseph, 7, and Zachary Jackson, 9. According to Grazia, the couple used a surrogate to conceive their children.
Are his little ones aware of how famous their father is? Elton tells Today, “[Zachary] is very proud of his daddy, but he’s more interested in ‘Hotline Bling’ by Drake or ‘Uptown Funk’… They sing ‘Rocket Man.’ They sing ‘Benny and the Jets.’ … They know who I am. They know what I do, but they’re more interested, to be honest with you, in their toys. And I’m fine with that. That’s good.”
In 2015, Elton’s partner, David Furnish, opened up to Grazia about the couple’s experience with kids. He divulged that Elton is “much more mellow” with children.
2. He & David Furnish Have Been Together for 27 Years
Elton and Furnish have been together for 27 years.
Furnish was working as an ad exec in London when he and Elton met for the first time at a dinner party. In a 2010 interview with Parade, Elton shared, “I was attracted to David immediately. He was very well dressed, very shy. The next night we had dinner. After it, we consummated our relationship. We fell in love very quickly.”
Asked how they keep their love alive after so many years, Elton adds, “Every Saturday for 16 years, we’ve sent each other a card, no matter where we are in the world, to say how much we love each other.”
It wasn’t until David started dating Elton that he came out to his family.
The couple celebrated a civil partnership in 2005 and married in 2014.
3. Elton Allegedly Had a Tense Relationship With His Father
Elton’s parents divorced when he was 14.
As those who have seen Rocketman know, Elton had a strained relationship with his father, Stanley Dwight, who served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force.
Elton has said in interviews that his father did not attend his concerts. In a piece for The Times, he once wrote, “My father was sealed off from my talent and I never knew why. Was it homophobia? Was it fear? That was a painful loss for me. But it was also a painful loss, I think, for my dad. That’s what prejudice does to people.”
He added of his father, “He was a tough and unemotional man. Hard. In the RAF. He was dismissive, disappointed and finally absent. I just wanted him to acknowledge what I’d done. But he never did.”
Dwight remarried in the 1970s after divorcing from Elton’s mother. He passed away in 1991 after years of battling illness.
4. Elton Never Expected to Have Children
Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016, Elton shared that he never thought he would have children. “If you’d had said to me ten years ago I’d be sitting on your show married to the man I love and have two beautiful children, I would have said you put acid in my drink.”
He continued, “But life throws you challenges … and these two children have come along at a time I never thought I’d have children. They are the greatest thing in our lives. There are no words to describe how much we love these boys. They’re just amazing.”
Although the couple has said they have a “close bond” with the woman who was their surrogate, they have not revealed her name.
News Idea reports that the couple has settled down since giving birth. They quote Elton as saying, “We have really toned things down because we have enough stuff. There is nothing else we need.”
5. He Was Married to Renate Blauel for 4 Years
From 1984 to 1988, Elton John was married to sound engineer Renate Blauel. Years after they divorced, he came out as gay.
Elton and Renate met in 1983 in London. Within months of meeting, Elton proposed to her.
According to Smooth Radio, friends close to the couple say their split was “amicable.”
In a later interview with The Australian in 2008, Elton finally opened up about his marriage to Blauel, saying, “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.”