George Michael, who had largely disappeared from the public’s eye the last few years, died unexpectedly and by all accounts peacefully at 53 on Christmas morning. He died at his long-time home in the historic village of Goring-on-Thames, just one of several luxury homes he owned at the time of his passing.
The river-front estate in Goring-on-Thames, about an hour’s drive west of central London and tucked down a slender lane in the center of the village, is anchored by a residence that dates to the 16th century. In 2006 the pop star gave a tour of the property for Oprah.com and still images show the house has low, wood beamed ceilings and numerous fireplaces. A paneled library was filled with antique books that were, by his own account, mostly bought in bulk and not an indication of his intellection high-mindedness while the country-style eat-in kitchen was fully up to date with a large work island and high-end appliances. The property encompasses manicured gardens alongside St. Thomas of Canterbury, a church that dates to the 12th century, as well as a swimming pool and pool house set a good distance from the house.
When in London, Michael shacked up in an architecturally unfussy Georgian style home along a notably celeb-lined street in the natty Highgate area in North London that he reportedly bought from Annie Lennox. Some of the other homes on the block are owned by Sting and Trudie Styler, Jude Law, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and supermodel Kate Moss who owns a home where vaunted but troubled and drug-addled Romantic poet Thomas Coleridge lived his last 18 years as a guest of the home’s owners. Other residents of the affluent community include Terry Gilliam, Clive Owen, Matthew Goode, and Ringo Starr.
Back in 2010, after a string of tour dates in Australia, his last ever concerts Down Under, the “I Want Your Sex” singer shelled out $5.8 million for a glassy contemporary in the posh Palm Beach suburb of Sydney that, amid some publicity and fanfare, popped up in 2015 as a high-end vacation rental. As of this week, the property was still listed on at least two vacation rental sites at rates that started at $1,400 per night and $9,800 per week. Nestled on a bluff above the South Pacific Ocean, the house is composed of two two-story pavilions separated by a wind-protected courtyard and linked by a glass-walled corridor. The street-side pavilion has a den with fireplace and an en suite bedroom on the ground floor and two ocean-view en suite bedrooms on the upper floor. The upper floor of the ocean-side pavilion has a loft-like open-plan living/dining/kitchen that opens through a long floor-to-ceiling windows on one side to the courtyard and through more floor-to-ceiling windows on the other side to a terrace with panoramic ocean views. Downstairs two more en suite bedrooms and an additional powder room are joined by a family room that opens through a wall of folding glass doors to a small, flat yard with infinity edged swimming pool.
The openly gay Wham frontman, famously forced out of the proverbial closet in 1998 after he was arrested for cruising an undercover cop in a public restroom in Beverly Hills, previously owned at least a couple of homes in London as well as a getaway near Saint-Tropez in the South of France that he dubbed Chez Knobby. In the United States he owned a striking, “snowflake” shaped contemporary designed by architect Cliff Hickman in the ruggedly upscale Cielito area of Santa Barbara, CA, that he bought in 1989 and sold in 1996 for $2 million as well as a hillside home on a coveted street in Beverly Hills that was sold in late 2003 for $2.85 million to nine-time Emmy nominated “American Idol” executive producer Ken Warwick. In the mid-2000s he shared a stately and pristinely renovated home the high-toned Highland Park area of Dallas, TX, with his long-time former partner Kenny Goss who, as it turns out, sold the 5,541-square- home over the summer (2016) for $2.929 million to a member of the illustrious, oil-rich Hunt family.
Exterior photo (Australia): Google / Listing photos (Australia): via Unique Estates / Exterior photo (Goring on Thames):Google / Exterior photo (London):Google / Aerial photo (Beverly Hills):Google / Exterior image (Santa Barbara): Cliff Hickman Design / Exterior image (Dallas): Allie Beth Allman & Associates