Pop royalty Elton John has revealed that he and husband David Furnish were turned down from adopting a Ukrainian orphan in 2009 for being gay.
Speaking on Dua Lipa’s podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service, the singer, 75, explained that the couple were turned down from adopting a boy from an orphanage in Ukraine after “carrying him around for hours”.
He said: “I was carrying this little boy around for hours. We had a press conference at the end and they said ‘You seem very fond of this little boy. Would you think of adopting him?’ and I went ‘I’d actually love to!’
“Of course, not thinking about social media, it went around the world straight away… It was, ‘Elton John wants to adopt two children.’”
He explained that while he and Furnish were unable to adopt due to their sexuality – “because I was gay, I wasn’t allowed to [adopt] anyway” – but the experience made him realise he wanted to be a father.
Elton John explained: “After that happened, David said, ‘Well, what do you think about having kids?’ I always said no but this little boy was telling me something.
“He was saying, ‘C’mon you can be a dad,’ and that’s when we decided to have children, because of this little boy in Ukraine.”
12 years ago, David and I began the most rewarding journey when we decided to start a family. My greatest wish is for my boys to grow up in a world free from conflict and judgement, full of love and unity and experience the joy of giving back. pic.twitter.com/NPdbe7yDke
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) March 26, 2022
Elton John recently wrote a heartfelt letter for his two sons, Zachary and Elijah, on his 75th birthday, encouraging them to be “fully and completely you”.
Published on Time, the letter to his 11 and nine-year-old sons read: “Looking back over the past 75 years, there is so much I am proud of, so much I have learned. As you are the two most precious parts of my life, I want to share some of those lessons with you.
“I’ve forged deep friendships, found the love of my life and became your daddy… Whoever you grow up to be, just be you – fully and completely you.”
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 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 John wrote. “But we live in a world today where too often, instead of embracing diversity, we shut it down.”
The letter ended: “You have filled my heart with love and my life with purpose and meaning in ways I didn’t think were possible.”