Sir Elton apologises for outburst at former lover

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After the "passionate" outburst came the remorse; Sir Elton John apologised at the High Court yesterday for dredging up the criminal record of his former lover and manager, John Reid, whom he accuses of "swindling" him out of millions of pounds.

After the "passionate" outburst came the remorse; Sir Elton John apologised at the High Court yesterday for dredging up the criminal record of his former lover and manager, John Reid, whom he accuses of "swindling" him out of millions of pounds.

"I regret saying that. I would say that yesterday - I was very tired. I had had a long day of badgering questioning," said the singer.

He added: "It was a very passionate response and a very irresponsible remark for me to make at the time."

Sir Elton said he accepted that Mr Reid's conviction had "nothing to do with his financial judgement". However, he felt obliged to tell the court the details: Mr Reid had, he said, been "defending my honour against a journalist - for which I was very grateful."

He then added: "I wasn't very grateful that he punched two women in the face; he went to prison for that. I regret saying that, and I would like to apologise for saying that."

Mr Reid, a balding bespectacled figure who sat just 8ft away from Sir Elton had looked unhappy all morning. He continued to look unhappy, despite the apology.

Sir Elton is suing Andrew Haydon, the former managing director of John Reid Enterprises Ltd and his former accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and has already received more than £3m in an out-of-court settlement from Mr Reid.

Giving his testimony for the third day, Sir Elton had returned to London after a concert in Antwerp on Thursday.

Andrew Fletcher, appearing for Mr Haydon, asked Sir Elton whether it was possible that Mr Reid had made an "honest mistake" over financial arrangements made during a meeting in St Tropez in 1984. The singer responded: "It's a very big honest mistake."

Sir Elton was asked why he had agreed to a press release issued in May 1998 - when his management agreement with JREL came to an end - which said the parting had been an "amicable" one.

Sir Elton responded: "It was one of those showbusiness things. It was short and sweet, and we were trying to avoid airing our dirty linen on the front pages of the newspapers."

Sir Elton and Mr Reid had been lovers for five years, and Mr Reid continued as his business manager after the relationship ended. Sir Elton claims that he trusted his former lover "implicitly" but had been "betrayed and ripped off".

Mr Fletcher suggested that by 1998 Sir Elton had come to feel he had been "over-generous" to Mr Reid and that "this litigation is about recouping some of that generosity?" Sir Elton replied: "Yes."

On the first day of the case the court was told of Sir Elton's vast expenditure by which he spent £40m in 20 months, including £293,000 on flowers.

It was pointed out that some of this spending was on charities. Sir Elton was asked by the defence counsel whether his commitment to Watford football club was part of these "charitable activities". He replied to great laughter: "Yes it was. Very charitable."

On leaving the court with his partner, David Furnish, Sir Elton said: "It has been very tiring, but I think I got very fair treatment from all the QCs ... and I still like flowers."

The case continues.

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