'I feel reckless... but I don't feel shame'

GEORGE MICHAEL yesterday publicly acknowledged his homosexuality for the first time following his arrest for an alleged sex act in a public toilet last week, writes Amanda Kelly.

The millionaire pop star came out of hiding in Los Angeles and said he had done nothing to be ashamed of.

"I don't feel any shame. I feel stupid and I feel reckless and weak for having allowed my sexuality to be exposed in this way. But I don't feel any shame whatsoever.

"The truth is I put myself in an extremely stupid and vulnerable position."

The 34-year-old celebrity, who has always been secretive about his private life, was caught in a "lewd act" during an undercover police sweep of the Will Rogers Park.

A confidential police report, printed in a tabloid newspaper yesterday, claims he pulled down his jogging pants and revealed his naked bottom to a plain clothes officer.

Michael, who was bailed for $500, refused to discuss the details of his arrest, saying: "I don't have a choice about commenting about the specifics because at the moment it's in the hands of the district attorney."

But the star, who admits most of his music is inspired by men, said the incident had prompted him to finally come clean about his sexuality.

"This is as good a time as any," he told CNN. "I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years."

Asked why he felt compelled to open up a part of his private life, he said: "I feel because I've already kind of done that, haven't I? I've done that in a way I didn't really intend to."

The singer has been inundated with support from the music industry since his arrest and was seen laughing and joking with his manager Andy Stevens and British lawyer Tony Russell at a glamorous Beverly Hills restaurant on Friday night.

Michael shot to fame as one half of the1980s pop duo Wham! with hits like Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go and Careless Whisper.

After the band split up in 1986, he launched a solo career which has seen him sell more than 60 million albums.

He is due in court next month and faces a fine of up to pounds 650 if convicted of lewd conduct.