Elton John made headlines last week when he told Rolling Stone Magazine that his frequent touring partner Billy Joel is an alcoholic in need of some tough rehab.
“At the end of the day, he’s coasting,” Elton told the magazine. “I always say, ‘Billy, can’t you write another song?’ It’s either fear or laziness. It upsets me. … Billy’s a conundrum. We’ve had so many cancelled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism. … He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love.”
Publicly, Joel took the high road and said “Elton is just being Elton” and said the remarks would not change his affection for him.
But on The Today Show this week, Elton shared the skinny on Billy’s real reaction: “He hates me at the moment. He sent me a message and he’s not happy. I understand that. I’m sorry I had to say it, but I’m saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be very happy. That’s all it came from. I understand why he’s mad at me. I’m only trying to help. Maybe I should have done it privately, but I’ve been so frustrated over the years.”
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