Here are some things you need to know about Boy George!
1. His name is actually George
George Alan O’Dowd was born in 1961 and would grow up in the suburbs outside of London. This kid would also grow up to be the Boy George we know and love, after making some slight adjustments to his name to create his stage name.
In 2014, he said to The Hollywood Reporter:
“I didn’t want to confuse people by becoming The Artist Formerly Known as. Boy George is a brand that I created and is familiar to people. Heaven knows they’ve had enough confusion. I’m not deluded. I know I’m an older man, but I’m a boy at heart. Life is about learning to be yourself, and I think I’ve gone in this interesting full circle. In spirit, I’m very much back to the person I was when I first started my career. There’s a lightness about me; a certain kind of relfectiveness and humour I’ve attained and have been hard won.”
2. He’s topped the charts
Both of the tracks “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon” have achieved number one status on the UK charts. “Karma Chameleon” was just as successful and topped the charts in the US.
3. His band won a Grammy
Culture Club was awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1984, and were also given 2 Brit Awards the same year (for Best British Rock/Pop Single – “Karma Chameleon” – and Best British Group). Over the years, the band have additionally been nominated for a number of other awards at other events, including the American Music Awards, the Juno Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards. Back when he was still a solo artist, Boy George was also nominated for Best Dance Recording at the Grammys in 1999.
4. He had a secret relationship
Boy George and Jon Moss, the drummer from Culture Club, had a relationship in the 80s that was very much kept on the down low. However, in his 1995 memoir Take It Like a Man, the lead singer revealed what had been going on.
Whilst in an interview with THR, George commented on his relationship with Jon now:
“I would never do Culture Club without him. We’re sufficiently mature enough now to do it. We’ve been writing this year and it’s been very enjoyable. My relationship with Jon is like a mythical beast. We’re really past all that. Jon’s been married; he’s got children. When people say we’ve had a relationship, it’s kind of mad. [Laughs] I know what we did, but let’s pretend we didn’t. With a lot of my ex-partners, I’ve been able to become much better friends than I was as a partner. Some of the people you do have relationships with — men and women — if you’re lucky, you end up being much better friends, and much kinder to each other. I have a lot of ex-partners I’m very close to, and there’s no issue. Not now, or in the future.”
George struggled with a drug addiction and winded up in rehab in 2005 after being arrested, but those days are very much behind him now. He’s living a healthy lifestyle and has even gone vegan!
He told THR:
“I’m in L.A., which is heaven for me. I couldn’t wait to get here. I’ve eaten so much today; it’s been great. You have that great store Erehwon, which is like raw heaven. Obviously, traveling around on tour, it’s difficult finding places to eat.
“Eating like this is something I’ve been playing around with for a few years, on and off. And I just decided to stick with it, which is difficult when you’re traveling because everyone hates you if you won’t eat what they do.”
7. And he’s a Buddhist, too
To stay centered, Boy George is also a practicing Buddhist.
“…I chant every day and that definitely helps me to get things in perspective. I approach everything I do now with a lot more joy and satisfaction,” he said to Billboard. “I get excited about what I do now, whereas I think at the height of all the craziness I wouldn’t say I wasn’t grateful, I just didn’t have to be necessarily because everything just happened. One minute I was a club kid, the next minute I was famous all over the world.”
8. He’s still no stranger to arguments
His most recent feud has been with Jon Lovitz, a contestant on The New Celebrity Apprentice. He’s also been at odds with Morrissey, One Direction’s Liam Payne, and even the late George Michael.
Despite all this, there’s one fight in particular that he’ll always remember. He talked with Billboard in 2015 about the disagreement, claiming that it was later resolved:
“I had a pretty fierce one with [singer/TV presenter] Pete Burns, but I’ve kind of grown to love Pete Burns now.
“He’s such a great Brit eccentric — I just have a lot of affection for him now and we kind of transcended our youthful differences. We were pretty scathing, but it was kind of funny as well.
“He gave as good as he got.”