George Michael: I let young gay people down

May 11, 2011 at 1:43 p.m. ET

George Michael opened up about how he feels like his bad behavior has let gay kids down -- and he plans on changing his image and reaching out to young gay people with his next record.

George Michael

George Michael rose to fame in the 1980s with Wham and had continued success with his solo album Faith, going on to sell over 100 million albums worldwide.

Michael did not officially come out of the closet as a gay man until 2007 during an interview with London's Independent.

His sexuality was questioned long before that, after an incident in 1998 when he was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" with a male undercover policeman in a public toilet in Beverly Hills.

Fast forward to today, and even though he is open about his sexuality, he continues to get in trouble with the law. In fact, the 47-year-old singer served four weeks in jail last year for driving under the influence of drugs and possession of cannabis. He has also gone to rehab for his substance abuse issues. He says he is now ready to turn all of that around.

Michael told Bang Showbiz that he has realized he is letting other young gay people down with his actions.

"It's really a matter of thinking what can I do to contribute as a gay man, because I have a serious problem with the fact that every time I would let myself down, I felt definitely that I was letting young gay people down, because they would then witness the homophobia that is thrown at me and the wording of that homophobia and the language that is being used," he said. "So I have some plans to try and do things to help gay kids and I think we're a notoriously bad community at helping our own when it comes to children because we don't have any children."

One thing he plans on doing is to assemble a "gay collective" to record on his next album -- although he said none have officially been confirmed so he doesn't want to say specific names, only hinting at "amazing guests."

"I want to make up for some of the damage that I have done in making myself so newsworthy and putting myself on the back foot enough that there was no room, or space, for me to defend gay children," he says.

George Michael will be touring on his Symphonica tour in which he will perform at opera houses and be backed by a full orchestra.