Who is George Michael’s ex-partner and ‘love of his life’ Kenny Goss?

George Michael (right) and partner Kenny Goss

Kenny Goss was in a relationship with George Michael for more than a decade, and was most notably the ‘Careless Whisper’ singer’s partner at the time he was outed by the press in 1998.

Goss was one of those closest to Michael when the star was arrested for public indecency in a Beverly Hills public toilet – an incident that’s explored in the new Channel 4 documentary George Michael: Outed, which airs on Monday, 6 March and Tuesday, 7 March in the UK.

Goss is just one of the many people who offer their insight into the period in the programme, which was directed by Michael Ogden. Others include Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Holly Johnson, DJ Fat Tony, Will Young and Olly Alexander, as well as George’s childhood friend Andros Georgiou.

Here’s everything you need to know about Goss and his relationship with Michael, whom Goss has described as “the love of my life”,

Who is Kenny Goss?

Kenny Goss is an art dealer and businessman who was born in Texas in 1958.

He graduated from Trinity High School, where he was on the gymnastics and cheerleading teams.

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He later worked for Lawrence Herkimer’s Cheerleader Supply Co. and moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s.

How long were Kenny Goss and George Michael together?

Goss and Michael were together for 13 years from 1996 to 2009, having first met at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Their relationship became public knowledge in 1998 after Michael was outed in the press following his arrest, which eventually saw the star fined £500 and sentenced to 80 hours community service.

Goss later told People that he found out about the arrest after being called by the police – initially fearing that Michael had been arrested for driving under the influence.

“They bring him to the phone and I say, ‘Darling, what happened? Did you get a DUI?’,” Goss recalled. “He says, ‘If only!'”

Recalling that “fateful day”, Goss revealed helicopters began circling above the couple’s house, while he was “just trying to understand the situation and reassure George that everything would be OK”.

Goss told Radio Times: “He was stressed out. He took to his bed, then the next morning, we got up, and I told him, ‘Yep, still a few helicopters up there’.”

During the course of their relationship Goss and Michael shared homes in Dallas, Texas, Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, and Highgate, north London.

George Michael and partner Kenny Goss attend the Versace Couture Launch Party, thrown by Donatella Versace at The Ritz Hotel on 9th July 2002, in Paris.
George Michael (left) and Kenny Goss attending the Versace Couture Launch Party in July 2002 in Paris. (Dave Benett/Getty).

In 2005, it was reported that the couple were set to enter a civil partnership. Michael said at the time that they would hold a small, private ceremony “without the whole veil and gown thing”. However, it never took place.

Despite not tying the knot, Goss and Michael remained together throughout the noughties, with the relationship inspiring songs including ‘Amazing’ from 2004’s Patience, and, later, the track ‘Where I Hope You Are’.

In 2007, the pair founded The Goss-Michael Foundation, a non-profit arts organisation supporting the community in Dallas, Texas.

Why did they split up?

The couple ended their romantic relationship in 2009, but news of the split did not become public until 2011, when George announced on the opening night of his Symphonica world tour that the pair had parted ways.

Both men struggled with alcohol and substance abuse during the relationship, with Goss telling Piers Morgan Uncensored in 2022 that he had spent much of his time living with the former Wham! star “being worried about him”.

He said: “Honestly, he hated the fact that I worried about him so much. What’s the line he says in one of his songs [‘Where I Hope You Are’]? He says, ‘I can see it in your eyes when you look at me that way, it tears me in two’. And it really did. I just didn’t know what to do.”

Goss also revealed that a psychologist urged him to stay with Michael despite difficulties in their relationship.

“I asked him if I should leave George and he looked me in the eye and said, ‘I think you are the only reason George stays alive’,” Goss told People in 2017.

Asked by The Dallas Morning News in 2017 whether there was ever a time that Michael broke his heart, Goss replied: “Oh, I don’t know of one. We just had a really good, sweet relationship.”

He expanded further, saying that the break-up was “just what it was. We weren’t even mad at each other or anything like that”.

Goss added: “He was truly the love of my life. And I think I was the love of his life.”

Did Kenny Goss inherit anything in George Michael’s will?

George Michael died from natural causes on Christmas Day 2016 at the age of 53.

In 2021, Goss received a share of Michael’s £97 million estate following a long legal battle with the late singer’s estate.

Goss had originally sued Michael’s sisters Melanie and Yioda, father Kyriacos Panayiotou, and Christopher Organ, Michael’s representative and now co-executive of his estate, under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

The act allows those who are financially dependant on someone to claim from their estate even if they are left out of the will.

A judge ruled that the exact terms of the settlement were to be kept strictly confidential.

In 2022, Goss hit back at criticism of his decision to claim from the estate, saying he had been financially supported by the singer up until his death after stopping work to support the star during the pair’s relationship.

“I went from being long-suffering Kenny who put up with George’s infidelities to being called a money-hungry gigolo who was trying to take money from George’s family,” Goss told the Daily Mail. “It was hurtful and false.”

He went on: “I haven’t done anything wrong. I gave up my career at George’s request and, at 63, I’m not likely to get a full-time job again. George wanted me to be settled financially.”

George Michael: Outed, airs on at 9pm GMT on 6 and 7 March on Channel 4.