Boy Georges violent childhood and doting mum that shaped Culture Club star
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Boy George releases his new autobiography Karma today which follows on from where his hugely successful 1995 tome left off.
The 62-year-old Culture Club singer has experienced huge highs and well-documented crushing lows in his career, and by his side on his roller coaster of a life, until she died in March, was his mother Dinah, who doted on her boy and protected him from a traumatic childhood.
His father Jerry O’Dowd was so violent that in a 2007 RTÉ TV show called Flesh and Blood, the singer admitted “blanking out the first 10 years of his life because the memories are too traumatic”.
“I don’t remember anything from the age of 10 back,” he admitted. “I think probably I wiped out all that stuff. I was telling somebody once that I’m terrified of sharks, I don’t know why but I was.
“Somebody said it was to do with my father – the way that sharks circle you and then suddenly attack was what my father was like, because my dad controlled everybody through this kind of fear.”
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However he did recall one awful moment telling the show: “One thing I do remember is my mum taking an overdose. I think it was myself and Kevin who spent about an hour dragging her about the bedroom and just freaking out.”
George wrote the foreword for Dinah’s 2007 memoir Cry Salty Tears, in which she documented the abuse that she had suffered at the hands of her husband and said that the star hadn’t understood the situation when he was younger.
“As a bratty teenager, I am ashamed to say that I started to think of Mum as weak because I couldn’t understand why she stayed in such a destructive marriage,” he wrote.
“Once I grew up a bit, I realised that Mum had stuck out the marriage for her kids and because she truly loved my father and believed in the sanctity of marriage.”
Sticking by her children was something that Dinah always did and the doting mum desperately tried to help the Karma Chameleon singer through his darkest days.
In the mid-80s she desperately tried to help him through the heroin-fuelled drugs spiral which he descended into following his break-up with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss.
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At one point, she stayed with him at his home in London for three months. “At the beginning I had no idea about drugs and how they change someone’s personality,” she told The Guardian in 2007.
“I remember the first time I saw George acting strangely, I said, ‘What’s that Oxo cube you’ve got there?’ He was just hyper-hyper,” she recalled.
Ever the proud mum she even praised how he approached his community service in 2006, which was handed down after admitting a charge of wasting police time, telling the Northern Echo
“The New York sanitation department said he was one of the best workers they have had,” she stated.
“Just like me, he got on with the job and tried not to let the media get to him as they dragged all the stuff out about his illness from the 1980s.”
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