The distraught backing singer of George Michael’s band Wham! has admitted she is struggling to cope with the loss of the musician.
Shirlie Holliman, 55, said she hasn’t got over the shock of his death after the star appeared fine when she last saw him before he suddenly passed away.
She said this, coupled with the fact there was wild speculation surrounding the circumstances, has meant the past nine months trying to move on have been extremely difficult.
The professional singer who performed alongside George in the 1980s described George as someone who loved her ‘very much’.
She credits the Careless Whisper hitmaker as the reason behind her marriage to Eastenders star Martin Kemp, after he played cupid by setting them up on a date
George went on to become godfather to their two children Roman, 26, and Harley Moon, 28.
A coroner ruled the star had died of natural causes brought on by heart and liver disease.
But before the inquest, rumours circulated which Shirlie said caused added upset to those close to the star.
In the days following his untimely death, some reports claimed his death was linked to long-term health problems. Shirlie said this was untrue.
‘It was a shock, a massive shock for us all, when he died. None of us were expecting it,’ Shirlie told The Mirror.
‘He was good before he died, there was nothing wrong with him, so yes, it was a shock. It was also very public.
‘I didn’t read any of the stories at the time, we knew the truth and George’s family, who I am very close to and speak to a lot, knew too.’
She said she missed him and it was extremely sad for her as they’d known each other for 40 years.
‘I think George would be happy that it’s out there. He loved making music for people to dance to, for people to enjoy, have fun, to make them smile. Music is George’s legacy. We grew up dancing to his music and he would want people to go out and buy his music and enjoy it in the same way we did.
‘There are generations of people to come and enjoy him yet, that’s what he would love.’
This is the first time Shirlie has spoken out since giving an emotional tribute to George at the Brit Awards earlier this year.
When asked about her thoughts about whether George’s family should give their blessing to a tribute event where fans can pay tribute, she told the newspaper: ‘There are no plans for any memorial service. The best tribute to George is to go out and buy his music, dance to it and enjoy it.’