Elton John wants to add to his family: “I think it’s difficult to be an only child”

Elton John

Here’s some photos of Elton John performing at Buckingham Palace yesterday for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert. I’d say that Elton dressed up mightily for the occasion, but he always looks this sparky and spiffy, right? He’s not exactly a man known for casual wear.

Moving right along, Elton has given an interview to The Guardian where he does a lot of talking about his experience (thus far) with being a parent alongside his partner, David Furnish. Elton seems to have substantially expanded his viewpoint from that point in late 2010 when he and David welcomed little Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John into their lives. To recap, Elton went on tour just one month after the baby was born, which seemed a little odd because, well, he could have afforded to take a little more time off for a new addition to the family, right? Then a story from the Mail revealed that Elton and David had set up Zachary in the apartment next to theirs with two nannies, but it was never revealed whether they’d knocked down a wall to connect the two apartments. In all likelihood, that’s what happened. But whatever the case, Elton seems to have settled into fatherhood quite comfortably, and it seems like he makes a ton of time for Zachary during his time offstage (even though 120 gigs a year, which Elton admits to below, sounds pretty exhausting). Here are some excerpts from The Guardian:

Elton John

He’s still works a ton: “I still work a hell of a lot – I do 120 shows a year, I’m still recording a lot, I’m writing musicals, blah blah, blah – but I do have a wonderful private life and it’s found its feet.”

Will he slow down as Zachary ages? [T]he thing is, he has never enjoyed his career more. “If I was burnt out and just doing it to pay the bills, then it would be different – I would be very resentful of it – but this is the time when I’m actually enjoying it the most. I know when I come offstage, I’m going to be happy. I can go to bed. I don’t have to stay up all night doing drugs. I’m going to get up in the morning and see my little boy and see my partner. We have a life. You think, ‘How the f**k do you do it?’, but actually, you do. You just manage to do it.”

He’s a proud papa: [P]erhaps uniquely in the world of rock’n'roll, Elton John’s pre-gig preparations involve bathing an occasionally recalcitrant 15-month-old boy and reading him a bedtime story – and showing me photos on his iPad. There’s Zachary on his lap at the piano, Zachary kissing his housekeeper’s daughter (“He’s so straight”), Zachary playing football.

He worries about spoiling Zachary: It’s not him and David who are the problem, he says, so much as a global army of well-wishers. “You know what? At Christmas we bought him a swing for the garden and a little slide, and this was his Christmas present and his birthday present from us. But he had so many presents from other people throughout the world, which is touching, but we actually found it obscene. I said, ‘This is shocking. It’s four hours we’ve been opening these presents.’” They ended up giving most of the stuff to charity, and are trying to encourage people to donate money to an orphanage in Lesotho instead. “We had nine strollers given to us,” he sighs. “It’s crazy.”

He wants Zachary to have a sibling: “I think it’s difficult to be an only child, and to be an only child of someone famous. I want him to have a sibling so he has someone to be with. I know when he goes to school there’s going to be an awful lot of pressure, and I know he’s going to have people saying, ‘You don’t have a mummy.’ It’s going to happen. We talked about it before we had him. I want someone to be at his side and back him up. We shall see.”

[From The Guardian]

It sounds a little excessive for Elton to complain about all of the gifts that people around the world have sent to little Zachary, but at least he gave all the extra stuff to charity. I wonder if these gifts were sent by Elton’s fans or if they were actually from his celebrity friends — because I’ve never dreamed of sending a stroller (or anything else) to my favorite singer or celebrity, but I guess it’s possible that Elton’s got some really rich fans who want Zachary to have the very best.

I do wish Elton and David luck in adding to their family. While I’ve never really had the urge to have a second child myself, I see Elton’s point about how being an only child might be especially difficult when one has a famous parent. No matter how hard Elton tries not to spoil Zachary, there will always be the bubble of fame to cope with, and a sibling might cushion the inevitable need to step outside that bubble at some point.

Elton John

Elton John

Elton John

Elton John and David Furnish shown with son Zachary in Honolulu on 1/6/2012; Elton and David shown attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars viewing party on 2/26/2012; photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN

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32 Responses to “Elton John wants to add to his family: “I think it’s difficult to be an only child””

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  1. kate says:

    I understand Elton’s concern and I would be really surprised if by the time Zachary is old enough for school, people are asking why he doesn’t have a mommy. It’s 2012!! That’s just really sad.

    • Bad Fairy says:

      Umm.. no one is going to ask him why he doesn’t have a mommy. His dad is Elton John. I doubt he’ll have to explain himself at any age.

      • kate says:

        Right. I’m just responding to what Elton said. Even if he wasn’t famous, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    • the_porscha says:

      The unfortunate thing is, it’s still fairly common. At least from my perspective (I teach elementary school kids). The issue of difference is profound at this age and at the middle school age, and it can be very painful for a lot of them to be “different” somehow, which is truly sad. Shouldn’t be that way, but it often is.

      • Melissa says:

        I agree that even in 2012, he will be asked about his mommy. We live in an area where people are socially liberal, but they’re often straight and married, so almost all the kids have a mommy and a daddy. Young kids are trying to figure things out and develop an identity for themselves, so they try and differentiate things – boys from girls, for example. So they will notice if 10 of their friends have a mommy and daddy, but one has 2 daddies, or 1 mommy and no daddy, etc., and they’ll ask about it. My 4-yr old has asked me about her cousin’s daddy who’s not in the picture. She’s not teasing or being judgmental, just wondering about something that is outside of her “normal”.

  2. TXCinderella says:

    It’s nice to see Elton happy after all these years of making others happy with his music. Little Zachary is adorable. He’s a little cutie pie!

  3. Sisi says:

    lots of performers brought out their inner queen during the concert. Did you see Grace Jones hulahooping in her spandex bustier during her entire song?

    btw that is a cute little boy!

  4. Jackie says:

    i wouldn’t peg elton as the hands on father type. he probably has a visit with the kid once a day and then it goes back to the nannies.

    david seems a little more hands on.

    • Kelly says:

      ITA — a 60-year old man who performs 120 nights per year, writes musicals, and I am always seeing him in a tuxedo at some event. When he finally gets home, I am positive he crashes. Last thing he needs is another baby to be raised by his partner and a team of nannies.

  5. Jayna says:

    120 gigs every year. That’s absolutely insane. Add all the time on the road traveling to each gig, soundchecks, can’t talk to save your voice. He’s a workaholic it sounds like. Bands and solo artists don’t even do that amount because it’s grueling on the road.

  6. MoonDoggie says:

    He is too damn old to have babies. He’s grandfather material. I’m not an advocate of men 60+ having babies. I’d also not be an advocate of women in that age group having babies, but that is already biologically impossible. He’ll be doddering around drooling on himself while the child is still quite young. That is selfish. If he wanted more kids he should have done it when he was a little younger. Elton John has never struck me as anything more than all about himself.

  7. jaye says:

    “It sounds a little excessive for Elton to complain about all of the gifts that people around the world have sent to little Zachary”

    I don’t think he was being ungrateful, he seems to just be concerned that the amount of gifts received will spoil Zachary. It’s a valid concern, IMO.

  8. anonymoose says:

    Maybe someone could explain to Elton that being “an only child” means not having siblings, and not not having a mummy?

    Not having siblings is not an affliction nor is it anything to be concerned about. Your kid has 2 parents, the family is as fine as the love flowing among you. If 1 child isn’t enough for the parent, the parent is creating stigma for the child, which is not healthy.

    • Fatkid says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure that’s what he meant. No, being an only child is not an affliction. I read it more as him wanting his child to have a sibling to go through life’s challenges with.

      I’m the oldest of four siblings and consider myself incredibly blessed to go through my life with a ‘built-in’ support system. Yes, parents are supportive, and that can be enough, but your siblings are “in it with you”. You experience things together and often approach things similarly, which provides a different type of understanding and support. I wouldn’t trade a sibling for more of anything (that includes more one on one with parents. The sibling relationship is unique)…but that’s just me

    • ol cranky says:

      One of my good friends is an only child and intended to raise her daughter as an only (having had her daughter at 41). I’m not sure how the conversation started but our group of friends started discussing the advantages and disadvantages of onlys vs having sibs and my friend noted she couldn’t think of any disadvantage to being an only that had impacted her in any way. I brought up the one thing I thought could, possibly, be a disadvantage and that is when your parents are elderly and sick and/or die. I moved back to my home town to care for my elderly parents. My mom had an extended hospital stay before she died and I had to handle all the day-to-day stuff (my father, unfortunately, was an impediment to this) and medical stuff mostly without my brother’s assistance since he lives on the West coast and has small children. It sucked the life out of me and I never quite recovered because my father then became my responsibility until last summer when he got sick and died. Again, I handled all the day-to-day stuff including driving over an hour each way to be at the hospital (which, thankfully had great wifi so I could work) and handle all the decisions. If I didn’t have a brother to call and scream at, my little head would have exploded. I also dumped most of the house clean up stuff on my brother (who should start a business doing that crap) and made him handle the estate. If I had to handle all of that by myself, I would have just crumbled under the pressure. My friend’s mother had just died when we had that conversation and she said my comments made her think. Her father just died and she had to handle everything herself. Since her daughter will be an only, she will make sure her daughter knows the importance of having a great network of friends and not being shy about admitting she could use some help.

  9. fabgrrl says:

    It may be difficult to be an only child, but I’ll wager having such an old father is more difficult.

  10. Katyusha says:

    I don’t know what it’s like being the only child of someone famous, but I’m an only child and it wasn’t difficult for me at all. How could it be? Children who are the only children have no other frame of reference!

    • Remote Control says:

      People judge everything! Being an only child is great! I mean, what if you grow up with super shitty siblings?

    • Boxy Lady says:

      I’m an only child but my parents have 19 siblings between the two of them so I can say that I have a frame of reference. Watching my parents interact with their brothers and sisters really made me feel like I was missing out by being an only child. For instance, any hopes and dreams that your parents have for their offspring falls on you only, so unless your parents’ sole wish is for you to be happy in your life, you are going to disappoint them somehow. Your parents can’t pass that off on the next kid, so to speak.

  11. Amelia says:

    I think having a son, partner and stable home life is doing wonders for Elton’s life in general, it’s nice to see him happy and babyed-up (is that a real thing? My cousin just had a baby and she can’t leave the room without cooing and giggling over her baba :) )
    But can you please cover the Diamond Jubilee concert Bedhead!!

  12. Terri says:

    Elton had a younger brother that he was/is very close with, he wrote a song about it, that a friend had printed for us as a gift for our first when we had out second.

    I don’t think he meant not having a mom was the reason for having a second, just that they would be together in going thru it. It was kind of a sweet interview from him, less pompous than usual I thought.

  13. Kayla says:

    Big families are wonderful. I hope he has more kids.

    • Trillion says:

      Unless the kids don’t get along or don’t even like each other..
      You can’t project on your kids like that. I come from a big family and there’s downright antipathy amongst most of my sibs.