Elton John writes heartfelt message to sons for his 75th birthday

Elton John wears a patterned and sparkly jacket with red tinted glasses and holds his arms up during a performance

Elton John has written a heartfelt letter on his 75th birthday dedicated to his sons, encouraging them to be “fully and completely you”.

The pop icon penned a beautiful message, which was published on Time’s website, to his two young sons, Zachary and Elijah. In the letter celebrating his 75th birthday, Elton recalled some special moments with his children and offered up some helpful life lessons to encourage them to always “be yourself”. 

The British icon recalled the first time his sons – who are now aged 11 and 9 – saw him perform on stage after they were brought to a performance in Las Vegas by “your papa”, David Furnish. He remembered how both boys were “amazed by it all” and were in awe as they “didn’t know Daddy could do that”.

The music legend admitted that he once also doubted himself, and when he was their age, he could “never have dreamed where life would take me”. 

“Looking back over the past 75 years, there is so much I am proud of, so much I have learned,” Elton wrote. “As you are the two most precious parts of my life, I want to share some of those lessons with you.”

He shared that he was “told to fit in” and to “do what others expected even when it didn’t feel right” when he was younger. Now now, he realised that “being true to myself” gave him a voice and “helped me face my greatest fears”. 

“I’ve forged deep friendships, found the love of my life and became your Daddy,” he wrote. “Whoever you grow up to be, just be you — fully and completely you.”


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Elton John added that he had seen “so much positive social change” “in my 75 years as a gay man”. But he believed there is still a lot of work to be done before LGBT+ people are treated equally and fully accepted in society. 

He added that he and Furnish were “still scared” when they welcomed both boys into their family in the 2010s, and they feared others would “tease you because you have two dads”. 

The “I’m Still Standing” singer said these fears were assuaged by the time both boys started school as they “knew that we were different”. 

“You knew that different was okay, and most importantly, you knew you were loved,” Elton wrote. 

The singer noted that the LGBT+ community still faces many challenges. He specifically referenced Florida’s reviled “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which he said would prevent “kids struggling to understand and accept who they are” from “getting the help they need”. 

He also said there are “at least 68 countries across the world” that still criminalise LGBT+ people, meaning “your Papa and I could be arrested, just for being ourselves”. 

“Most people — gay, straight, Black, white, rich or poor— all want some basic things in life: to be safe, respected, loved and free,” Elton wrote. “But we live in a world today where too often, instead of embracing diversity, we shut it down.”

David Furnish and Elton John sit with their sons Elijah and Zachary between them as they pose for a photo while wearing suits

David Furnish, Elijah, Zachary and Elton John attend the 23rd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party in 2015. (Michael Kovac/Getty for EJAF)

Elton John finished his letter by telling Zachary and Elijah that they are the “greatest gifts I have ever been given” and are his “proudest achievements”. 

“You have filled my heart with love and my life with purpose and meaning in ways I didn’t think were possible,” Elton wrote. 

He also called on his sons to be true to themselves, “push the envelope a bit” and “ruffle some feathers where you need to”. The singer also wanted them to “take care of one another” and remember that “what unites us is far greater than what divides us”.