George Michael Apologizes To Gay Community, Kids

05/12/2011 05:25 pm ET | Updated Jul 12, 2011

After a tumultuous decade and a half, George Michael is ready to come back strong and make up for lost time on the music scene -- and do justice by those he thinks he let down for all those years.

Announcing a new tour and eventual album at a press conference at London's Royal Opera House, Michael said that both his closeted past and long rap sheet since the late 90's has done a disservice to those who may have needed him most, or looked up to him as an icon.

"I have a serious problem with the fact that every time I made a mistake and every time I let myself down that I was letting young gay kids down... Because they would then witness the homophobia that was thrown me and the language that we use in this country," Michael told assembled press, according to the Daily Mail.

While all that trouble -- frequent throughout the last decade, including an arrest after a drug-induced car crash, a DUI arrest, and an arrest for crack possession in a bathroom -- cost him his personal liberty, he thinks it costs kids more than it did himself.

There are things I want to do with my next album to make up for the damage that I have inadvertently caused by making myself so newsworthy and putting myself on the back foot enough that I couldn't defend gay children from some of that language," Michael announced.

Michael, who became famous in the 80's with his band Wham!, was outed in 1998 after soliciting sex in a public restroom; he had kept sexuality secret from the public until then, he said in 2008, out of deference to his mother.

"So firstly, understand how much I love my family and that AIDS was the predominant feature of being gay in the 1980s and early 90s as far as any parent was concerned," he explained to the Independent. "My mother was still alive and every single day would have been a nightmare for her thinking what I might have been subjected to.

"I'd been out to a lot of people since 19. I wish to God it had happened then. I don't think I would have the same career - my ego might not have been satisfied in some areas - but I think I would have been a happier man."

For more on Michael's new tour, click over to the Daily Mail.

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