Elton John's Husband: Who Is David Furnish?

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Elton John and husband David Furnish
Entertainment And News

The most romantic love stories always seem to feature heroes who overcome huge challenges to be together. This is true for Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, who met in 1993; a time when there was no marriage equality and homophobia ran rampant. Their story proves that true love triumphs — even for LGBTQIA+ couples like them — and can truly stand the test of time.

This is David Furnish’s story, and the romantic history of his 25+ years with husband Elton John.

Who is Elton John’s husband, David Furnish?

David Furnish, who is 57 years old, was born on October 25, 1962 in Scarborough, a neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

Furnish currently serves a contributing editor for Tatler magazine, regular columnist for Interview and GQ. and as a film director and producer, serving as the co-chief of Rocket Entertainment with his husband, British musical legend, Elton John. But he didn’t originally set out to become a filmmaker. Most of his early professional life was spent in advertising, the career that took him from Canada to London, where he met his future husband.

RELATED: 7 Of The Most Explosive Revelations In Elton John's Memoir 'Me'

The geographical move was a smart one for a multitude of reasons. Furnish had jumped on an opportunity to start fresh, moving to the UK after asking to be transferred to the London offices of Ogilvy and Mather at the age of 27 — soon becoming the well respected advertising firm's youngest director.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, a newspaper he worked for as a delivery boy during his childhood, Furnish shared that he had been bullied as a kid in his hometown. He was still dealing with the resulting shame around his sexual orientation when he made the move to the UK.

"I left Canada. I left my family behind, because I was ashamed," he said. "I ran away. I grew up in a wonderfully happy, balanced household, with two other brothers and a mother and father who were still in love. I'd had such a positive experience at home, I wanted to live up to that ideal."

"But I couldn't do it," he continued. "I had a lot of failed relationships, a lot of unhappiness, a lot of shame and embarrassment, bad self-image stuff. I had to get away.”

How did David Furnish and Elton John meet?

This trailblazing couple’s love story started at a 1993 dinner party at John's home in Windsor.

At the time, John had finally been sober for three years following more than a decade of addiction that was so bleak, he is reported to have had seizures and turned blue, nearly dying at least once. He was looking to meet new people and asked a friend to invite a new group of people to his home in order to mix things up.

Furnish reluctantly agreed to come along as the plus-one of a friend who was part of that new guest list. As they shared during an interview with The Guardian, "Furnish was so prepared for an excruciating evening that he declined the offer of a chauffeured car and took his own, to facilitate an early getaway.”

Fortunately for the couple and their future children — and, frankly, the world — Furnish had a great time and even joined Elton John for dinner the next night. Apparently sparks flew, and quickly turned into fireworks.

Their relationship was authentic from the beginning, which was appealing to someone who'd spent so many years in the spotlight.

And despite the fact that age difference between Elton John and his husband is 15 years, David was established, successful, and had his own apartment.

"The thing that struck me about David," John told Piers Morgan, "was from the word 'go' he was, you know, he wasn't in awe of me. He was always gonna be confrontational. He would always tell me the truth ... He's my soulmate."

Furnish couldn't stay in advertising for long after falling in love with a superstar. He quickly realized that his 9-to-5 schedule didn't exactly match up with Elton John's life on tour.

Furnish had to accept that if the relationship was going to work he would need to reinvent himself professionally, leading to the robust career he has today.

Both before and after he and the wealthy musician entered into a civil partnership in 2005, Furnish insisted on maintaining an identity of his own.

"[Celebrities) get so much attention and so much deference anyway," he told The Guardian, "it would be very easy to just get swept up into being their other half. But the person that Elton fell in love with — well, I had my own career, my own identity. The worst thing I could do was sacrifice that."

Furnish started optioning novels and looking into film projects, as well as writing for multiple publications, and a new career was born.

In 1997, he directed the BAFTA award-nominated documentary about his partner's 1995 world tour, "Elton John: Tantrums & Tiaras." He's also produced some fun family movies like "Gnomeo and Juliet" and "Sherlock Gnomes."

Recently, and perhaps most notably, Furnish co-produced the biopic "Rocketman" about Elton John’s early life and career. The film was critically acclaimed, with the song "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" winning John and lyricist Bernie Taupin the coveted Oscar for achievement in written music for motion pictures — Best Original Song — at the 2020 Academy Awards.

When did Elton John get married to David Furnish?

The couple’s relationship has stood the test of time — from meeting in 1993 to forming a civil partnership in 2005 (which became legal in the UK in 2004), to getting officially married on December 21, 2014, soon after same-sex marriage was finally legalized in that country.

Both partners came into their relationship with a history of heartbreak that included attempting to have long-term romantic relationships with women.

Their is the second of Elton John's marriages, as he had been married once before, to a woman named Renate Blauel, in 1984.

The star came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone, telling the magazine, “I’d rather fall in love with a woman eventually because I think a woman probably lasts much longer than a man.” Turns out, he was wrong.

John proposed to Blauel, a German recording engineer, 18 months after they met working on his "Too Low for Zero" album. The two were married soon after, and their marriage lasted just four and a half years. At the time of their divorce, the pair claimed to "genuinely intend to remain best of friends.” But sadly, after "Rocketman" was released, Blauel sued John, claiming that both John's memoir, "Me," and the film broke and agreement she made with John in 1988 by depicting details of her life which she never consented to have made public, the portrayal of which she also claims is both disrespectful and inaccurate.

In a 2017 Instagram post, Elton John explained that he always knew the wedding to Blauel was a betrayal of who he was, writing, “Many years ago, I chose Australia for my wedding to a wonderful woman for whom I have so much love and admiration. I wanted more than anything to be a good husband, but I denied who I really was, which caused my wife sadness, and caused me huge guilt and regret.”

Fortunately, there appear to be no regrets in Elton's John’s marriage to Furnish.

While his relationship with Blauel shouldn’t be counted as a failure by any stretch, Elton John’s marriage to David Furnish has lasted more than five-times as long, and, by all appearances, appears to be going strong; no doubt due at least in part to the couple’s commitment to being romantic with one another.

John has shared that he and Furnish celebrate their anniversary weekly, rather than yearly, by exchanging love letters. “Every Saturday for 16 years, we’ve sent each other a card, no matter where we are in the world, to say how much we love each other," John told Parade.

In addition to expressing their love consistently, the two are careful to communicate about the intimate aspects of their marriage in a way that helps them each feel safe and heard. “We’ve never been jealous,” John explained, saying that the couple talks about things that would have frightened him in the past.

The two have survived their fair share of pain over their decades together, including the deaths of Elton John's dear friends, Princess Diana and Gianni Versace.

Because celebrity status played a large part in both of their tragic deaths, John is reported to have lost interest in surrounding himself with the glitter and glam of the celebrity lifestyle, preferring to settle down with his partner and their family.

"Princess Diana, Gianni Versace, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, all dead," he told Parade. "Two of them shot outside their houses. None of this would have happened if they hadn’t been famous. Fame attracts lunatics. I never had a bodyguard, ever, until Gianni died. I don’t like celebrity anymore.”

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Who are David Furnish and Elton John’s children?

The couple has two sons, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, born in 2010, and Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, who was born in 2013. Both children were carried by a surrogate mother, and were born in California.

"The birth of our second son completes our family in a most precious and perfect way. It is difficult to fully express how we are feeling at this time; we are just overwhelmed with happiness and excitement,” the couple told Hello! magazine after little Elijah was born.

Lady Gaga is godmother to both boys.

The children are the realization of a dream for the couple, who both have been quoted as saying they each dreamed of a happy, quiet, healthy family life even before they met one another.

”I simply want to be a family man — and I’m not getting any younger,” John said about settling down with his first spouse in 1984, proving that fatherhood had been on his mind for decades.

Furnish, for his part, grew up in a happy family where his parents remained in love throughout their lives, but he wasn’t sure he would be able to make the dream of parenthood come true if he married a man.

In the profile in the Toronto Star, Furnish remembers a heartbreaking conversation with his mother after he came out to her. “I think you would be a wonderful father," she told him, “and it breaks my heart to think that you will never have that available to you.”

At the time, Furnish couldn’t name a single gay man as an example of one with a successful, happy family life. Fortunately for the next generation, David Furnish and Elton John have provided a prominent example of the beautiful marriage and family same-sex and other queer couples can have, should that be their dream.

It's not surprising, then, that the two share a strong commitment to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, established in 1992 "to be a powerful force in the end to the AIDS epidemic." The two host a black-tie fundraising event for the foundation every year, and in 2014, they were honored to receive the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award for their philanthropic work.

In June 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Queerty included Furnish and John among their Pride50, a list "composed of people who represent the pioneering spirit of the first prides across the country, the people who stood up and made a difference despite the personal price they might pay for their courage."

On a lighter note, Furnish was named one of GQ's 50 best dressed men in Britain in 2015, coming in at number 10 (just ahead of his world famous husband, who made the list at a still respectable 18).

RELATED: 9 Super-Romantic Love Stories From Real-Life LGBTQIA+ Couples

What are David Furnish and Elton John doing now?

These days, family life is at the center of the Furnish-John household. The couple has kept themselves more than busy with years of touring, film-making, and dedicated charity work.

In 2018, John, then 70, decided it was time to retire from touring, launching a three-year-long "good-bye" tour he aptly called the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour.

“I’m not going to be touring and traveling the world. My priorities have changed. I have young children," John said of the decision. “That doesn’t mean I won’t still be creative [but] I won’t travel any more…I don’t want to go out with a whimper. I want to go out with a bang."

In April of 2020, due to concerns about Covid-19, Elton John postponed the tour until 2021.

With that on hold, the two quickly launched a $1 million Covid-19 Emergency Fund via The Elton John AIDS Foundation, dedicated to "[protecting] the people we have always sought to serve through HIV care, treatment and prevention, as well as mitigating the damage that COVID-19 can do, particularly to the global gains we are making for more than 37 million people already living with HIV."

Soon after, the duo collaborated on the "Fox Presents The iHeart Living Room Concert for America," which John hosted on March 29. And in July, John began hosting his 6-week long, once weekly “Elton John: Classic Concert Series” on YouTube in their ongoing effort to raise funds in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation's COVID-19 relief efforts.

And as if that isn't enough, in August, the family of four welcomed two adorable new puppies!

'Every day at 5:30 we play Snakes and Ladders, which in America is called Chutes and Ladders, and it's become a family routine now and it's fantastic," John told Apple Music's Zane Lowe in May. "To be honest with you, it's great to be able to spend this much time with my boys because normally I don't, even though they've been on the road with us since November in Australia and New Zealand, this 24/7 with them and it's fantastic.”

Blessed as they are, John and Furnish aren't taking the difficulty of this time lightly.

"The thing I feel terrible about, from my point of view," he continued, "the musicians that play for a living and need to earn money for a living to buy food and pay the rent, [and also] the road crew, the lighting, the sound, the venues, the people who work at the venues, that's the saddest thing. So many people are now losing their jobs and they can't afford to leave their jobs. They live from hand to mouth."

"I'm very lucky to be in the position that I am. And we all have to remember [that} people who aren't in the same position as ourselves are really gonna have a lot of hardship, so we have to be very supportive of all of them."

Fortunately, the future looks bright for David Furnish and Sir Elton John, farewell tour or not.

We wish this iconic family all the best, no matter what their tomorrows bring.

RELATED: 15 Elton John Quotes About Music — Some Of His And Bernie Taupin's Most Romantic Songs About Love

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Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and media critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Esquire, Vox, and more. Follow her on Twitter for more.