LONDON (Reuters) - Jailed singer George Michael has denied newspaper reports that he is receiving special treatment while in prison for driving under the influence of drugs.
In a statement, the 47-year-old former Wham! frontman said he felt compelled to address what he called “the usual rubbish” reported in the press.
Michael was sentenced to eight weeks in jail last month following a car accident in London in July. He was also banned from driving for five years and fined.
The singer was told he would serve four weeks behind bars and spend the rest of his sentence on license.
“Much as I would prefer to rise above the usual rubbish that I’m reading day after day about my time here in prison, I think it’s only fair to my fans, family and friends to respond in some way even though I will be home soon,” he said.
“So please believe me when I tell you that in the last three weeks, there have been no tears, no anxiety, no bullying — in fact, not so much as a sleepless night for me.
“On the contrary, I’ve been treated with kindness by fellow inmates and prison staff alike and, as far as I can tell, have received no special treatment of any kind whatsoever, unless, of course, some of the guys here are letting me win at the pool table.
The star behind hits including “Careless Whisper” and “Faith” also hinted he would return to the recording studio after years without releasing new material.
“Most of my days have been spent reading thousands of letters and postcards of incredible support from people around the world. I promise to repay their kindness with new music as soon as I possibly can,” he said.
Michael has a history of drug and driving offences. He was banned from driving for two years in 2007 and sentenced to 100 hours of community service after admitting driving when unfit due to drugs.
In 2008 he apologized to fans after being arrested and cautioned by police for possession of drugs.
The Grammy award winner has sold an estimated 100 million albums as a solo artist.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison