THE late George Michael and his school pal Andrew Ridgeley took over the globe in the 80s with their pop band Wham!.
Together they sold millions of records across the world and won the hearts of millions of fans.
Who is Andrew Ridgeley?
Andrew was born in Windlesham, Surrey in 1953 to Jennifer and Albert Ridgeley, and grew up in Bushey, Hertfordshire.
He met and became friends with his future band partner George Michael when he enrolled at Bushey Meads school.
George had moved to Hertfordshire when he was in his early teens.
The duo performed together for years before forming Wham!.
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How did Wham! form and how successful were they?
Like George, Andrew was initially a member of a short-lived ska band called The Executive, before they eventually formed Wham! in 1981.
They submitted a homemade demo which reportedly took just 10 minutes to record in Andrew’s bedroom, and signed with Innervision Records.
The duo would go on to sell an impressive 25 million records across three studio albums, and had huge hits both in the UK and US with songs like “ake Me Up Before You Go-Go, I’m Your Man and the beloved seasonal classic, Last Christmas.
Wham! also became the first Western pop group to tour China, including 10 ground-breaking dates in the country on their huge 1985 world tour.
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That was part of a publicity drive planned by their manager Simon Napier-Bell, who admitted he fabricated a story in 1984 that Andrew had been hit in the face to try and boost the duo’s profile.
The actual explanation for the bandage on Andrew’s face that sparked tabloid speculation was cosmetic surgery on his nose.
Andrew performed at the legendary charity concert Live Aid along with George in 1985, appearing alongside Kiki Dee in the backing singers as his musical partner sang with Elton John.
However, with George’s solo career beginning to take off following the release of hit single Careless Whisper and the singer hoping to break into a more adult market, Wham! announced they were breaking up in 1986.
George described the breakup split as "the most amicable split in pop history,” and they bid goodbye to their fans with a huge farewell show at Wembley Stadium.
Where is Andrew Ridgeley now?
After their triumphant final hurrah, Andrew left the music industry for a time, moving to Monaco to try his hand at being a Formula Three motor racing driver.
When he met little success, he made another career change, going to Los Angeles to persue an acting career.
Andrew returned to the UK permanently in 1990, and released his only solo album, Son of Albert, that year.
While one of the singles from the record, “Shake”, was a minor hit in Australia, Son of Albert was a critical and commercial failure.
Andrew later told press: "It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album."
However, by and large, he has avoided the limelight ever since.
Andrew appeared alongside his former Wham! co-star onstage in Brazil in 1991, but plans to perform together at Live8 in 2005 didn't materialise and the duo never reformed.
He reportedly amassed more than £10 million in royalties from his Wham! days, with a significant percentage coming from a co-writing credit on legendary George Michael solo track Careless Whisper.
It is thought that Andrew remains involved in music by songwriting under a pseudonym.
He has reportedly been invited to become a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing on several occasions, but always declines.
Is Andrew Ridgeley married?
Andrew isn't married but was in a relationship for over 25 years with fellow 80s' popstar Keren Woodward, who is known for the popular girl band Bananarama.
The former couple got together in 1990 and enjoyed the quiet life in Wadebridge in Cornwall, where they lived with her son Thomas (born 1986), from a previous relationship with the model David-Scott Evans.
In 2009, Keren told The Daily Mail: “He enjoys the anonymity that he has, but also he has a complete understanding of me and why I am still doing it [performing].
“He’s not bored at all. He surfs, he plays golf. Our life in Cornwall is really quiet… we go to the pub and no one bothers us. Even when George [Michael] comes to visit, he isn’t hassled.”
However in 2017 it was revealed Andrew and Keren had split up.
What did Andrew Ridgeley say about George Michael's death?
In the aftermath of George’s shock death on Christmas Day in 2016, Andrew tweeted heartbroken tributes to his friend and former bandmate, using the nickname “Yog” (Yours Only George).
Andrew and Wham! backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie gave a moving tribute to the star at the 2017 BRIT Awards.
He said: “On Christmas Day 2016, the greatest singer songwriter of his generation, an icon of his era, George Michael, was lost.
“A supernova in the shining stars had been extinguished and it felt like the sky had fallen in.”
Backstage at the Brits, Andrew told the Daily Mirror that the delay of George’s funeral had been difficult.
He said: “We’ve not had closure. It’s difficult for me. It’s difficult for everyone. It’s a limbo period and we need to be able to move on.”
Funeral plans were delayed by the need for further toxicology tests
Did Andrew Ridgeley attend George Michael's funeral?
Three months after his death on Christmas Day, legendary singer George Michael was finally laid to rest in North London, with Andrew among the guests.
A service, attend by family and close friends, was held in the tiny, 30-seat chapel at Highgate West Cemetery.
The service took place amid tight security, with black tarpaulin covering the cemetery’s iron gates.
Family in attendance included George’s father Kyriacos and sisters Melanie and Panayiota.
Among the other guests were other former bandmates Helen “Pepsi” DeMacque and Shirlie Holliman, as well as Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and George Michael's boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz.
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