I broke down on the phone to Elton John when my friend died, reveals Ed Sheeran

THEY are two of the world’s biggest pop stars – one riding high at the top of music’s A-list right now, the other a chart legend with decades of hits.

But until now, the extent of Ed Sheeran’s extraordinary friendship with Sir Elton John has never been revealed.

Talking to The Sun, Ed reveals how the pair are in contact EVERY DAY — sometimes multiple times — after 74-year-old Elton became a mentor to him.

In fact, as Ed chats to me in his only newspaper interview ahead of today’s release of new album Equals, the Rocketman star calls twice.

It comes as Ed explains how Elton stepped in to help with advice after the singer, 30, and wife Cherry welcomed their first child last year.

Elton was also a shoulder to cry on after Ed’s close pal, Australian music promoter Michael Gudinski, died in March, aged 68.

Ed says: “I say this to people and they think I’m lying or exaggerating, but Elton calls me every single day.

“He used to ring me about once a month — well, we do it on FaceTime via iPad because neither of us ­has a phone. Then when Lyra was born it became more like weekly — he’s a dad as well and he’d check in.

“But then when Michael died he rang me the day after and I just broke down and cried.

“And from that day — I spoke to him this morning, yesterday — no word of a lie, every single day he’s rung me. Whether it’s a half-hour chat or two minutes, he always checks up on me.

“He is incredible. I will never hear a bad word said about him. He is such a beautiful soul, an amazing human, and I know I’m not the only person he does that to.

‘I’ll dress as an elf, Elton can be Santa’

“He’s so connected with artists. He had Sam Fender stay with him recently. He told me about the Kid Laroi about three years ago, long before anyone else was on to him — he’s so plugged in.”

Ed also tells how Elton introduced him to the world of fashion — and recently to Italian designer Donatella Versace.

He says: “I’m actually having dinner with Donatella on Sunday in Milan, but Elton has been really instru-mental in getting me in touch there and showing me that world.”

Turning the conversation to the Technicolor jacket he wore to last month’s GQ Men Of The Year Awards, he then reveals: “That was very much an Elton outfit.”

He adds: “Elton’s always telling me about new artists, he’s such a wonderful person.

“And when he recently had a No 1 with Cold Heart we were chatting every day before and I said, ‘I promise you it will be’. He couldn’t believe it. He was saying, ‘Oh, Top 20 at the age of 74 is enough for me’. When it went Top 10 he was over the moon and it kept climbing.

“Hopefully we will have a No1 together this Christmas because we’ve recorded a Christmas single together which I’m really pleased with and excited by — we’ve just finished it.

“I never wanted to make a Christ-mas song because the last great modern one was by The Darkness and I just thought if you’re not going to go to that level of ‘out there’, then what’s the point?

“So when Elton first asked me I was reluctant — it was when he called me on Christmas Day last year, and I wrote the chorus there and then.

“I was thinking for maybe 2022 but when Michael passed away I thought, ‘Why the f*** am I waiting for anything?’ Nothing tomorrow is promised, I’ve realised that. So I hope we have a great Christmas.

“We’re going to do a video, I’ll dress as an Elf and Elton can be Santa. We wanted to do the Christmas lights in my village but I’m not sure we’ll be able to.”

He adds of the festive track: “It’s going to be great fun and we really enjoyed doing it together. “It has so many sleigh bells on it — I thought maybe it had a lot, and he said, ‘No, it needs more, more’.

“He’s the same as me — if you’re not going to throw the kitchen sink at it, what’s the point?”

But despite being well known for his A-list friendship circle, Ed also tells how most of his closest pals are from his childhood days — and he keeps his home life intensely private.

The star, who is tipped to soar straight to the top of the album chart with Equals, says: “I get on with pretty much everyone but in terms of very close personal connections, like people I’d invite to my house for dinner or to hang out with my daughter, I can count them on my fingers. I’m cool with everyone, I’ll have nights out with loads of people, but many of the other people in the industry I meet are the same — their closest friends are the people they’ve known for years, people they grew up with.”

He adds: “The house in Suffolk is great, it’s where I feel most able to be myself, and I’m proud how environmentally friendly I’ve been able to make it.

“There’s a hedgehog sanctuary, beehives, we’ve got newts, snakes, deer — the whole point was to be a real eco-house.

“I’ve planted 14,000 trees but also I have my own pub with a tunnel connecting it to the house.

“That came about just from wanting somewhere private where I could chill out. Daniel Radcliffe said he stopped relaxing and enjoying himself when he was out because everyone would be, ‘What does Harry Potter dance like?’ — and I found myself the same. You can’t really relax. In a pub you can have a nice conversation with a friend but I find it very difficult to let loose these days with camera phones everywhere, so I built something in my house where they aren’t allowed.

“We have a drink and we have a dance, I have a box of wigs, we put on S Club 7, I’ve got a TV with the football on — it’s a pub where I can act like I’m not famous.

“It’s also a place to put all the junk — nice memorabilia, signed stuff, cool plaques I’ve been given — somewhere to put the Grammys and the Brits without people thinking I’m a w***er.”

He jokes that despite friendships with the likes of Stormzy, Taylor Swift, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and. of course. Elton, it is with royalty that he now becomes starstruck.

Earlier this month he appeared at Prince William’s first Earthshot Prize ceremony — a cause close to his heart because Ed’s wife is a keen environmentalist.

He says: “It’s was great to meet William and Kate. I have done before, but I always feel like in those sort of conversations you want to say, ‘Sorry, I know you’re super-busy . . . ’ and they have to be polite and stop and have a conversation.

“But in terms of me getting star-struck, I think the Queen is still the one for me. I’ve got a picture of it on my wall from the day I met her, and I was pretty new on the scene.

“She didn’t know who I was. But Jimmy Carr was in front of me in the line as she came down, and he told her a joke that made her laugh. So when she comes to meet me she’s absolutely beaming and really happy.

Meeting the Queen with all the history and everything that comes with her, that was a real honour.”

“My mum has the picture up in her house, but meeting the Queen with all the history and everything that comes with her, that was a real honour.”

Meanwhile, Ed says modestly of his new album, his fourth to date: “I just hope people listen to it — give it one go. If you don’t like it, don’t listen again. But just play it once, all the way through.

“I made this to be an album that fits on vinyl so I took two tracks off, and for me it’s my best album.

“I feel it’s an album rather than a collection of songs, which isn’t as common in the streaming age.”

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