Music icon Elton John is a singer, composer, beloved husband, and dad-of-two — but the star's proudest accomplishment is arguably his philanthropic contributions to support HIV prevention, education programs, and direct care to those living with the disease. Each year, the 70-year-old hosts his Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party to raise money for his charity and it was during 2018's bash that Elton exclusively spoke to Closer Weekly about his charitable legacy. Watch the video above to see our interview with Elton!
"I started [the foundation] 26 or 27 years ago and it's something that we still need to do because there are more and more people who need our support. Especially marginalized people. People who are in the deep south who are gay and thrown out by their families. We need people to understand [HIV] is not a contagious disease," he told Closer. "We need empathy in this world that we live in now. We live in a very fractured world, and the more empathy we can get for people who need — prisoners, trans people, gay, black people. If you leave those people behind, you're never gonna cure the disease."
Elton and David at the foundation's 2018 Oscars party.
"Avid drug users, sex workers — a lot of people society tends to marginalize. We believe every human soul has value. We say the motto of the foundation is that no one gets left behind," Elton's husband, David Furnish — who is a longtime supporter of the foundation and its charitable efforts — added. Elton and David, 55, are parents to two young sons, Zachary Furnish-John, 7, and Elijah Furnish-John, 5, together. When asked if his boys will work with the foundation when they are older, Elton proudly exclaimed, "I hope so!"
"I've just spoken about that — and we hope by 2030, by which time I will be 83 if I live that long. But our children will always be educated. They get pocket money every week. They get savings and charity. They have their own philanthropy and they know that we do this, and the older they get, they know that they have to support people — not just with AIDS, just people in general who need help," the "Rocket Man" singer told Closer.
Since Elton recently announced his Farewell Tour, will he continue to throw his annual Oscars party after he retires from the stage? "Yes, of course," he assured Closer before adding, "I can go to Africa more times. It's very difficult when you're touring because you don't have that time. When I retire, I intend to do more hands-on stuff." David then shared, "We'll never stop having this party. In fact, the great thing about having Elton off the road is that we can devote more time. We're really looking forward to that, actually."
For more exclusive content, sign up for our Closer Weekly newsletter!