Elton John Regrets 'Wasted,' 'Drug Addict' Years in 'Today' Interview

Matt Lauer Elton John Interview - H 2012

Matt Lauer Elton John Interview - H 2012

Elton John is speaking out about “wasted” years he bitterly regrets, saying they could have been better spent combating AIDS.

In a forthcoming interview with Today’s Matt Lauer, the music legend confesses to having been a “drug addict and self-absorbed” in the early 1980s, the very time the AIDS epidemic was beginning to become a worldwide catastrophe.

"You know, I was having people die right, left and center around me, friends,” John told Lauer.  “And yet, I didn't stop the life that I had, which is the terrible thing about addiction.  It's that -- you know, it's that bad of a disease."

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John has since raised hundreds of million toward AIDS prevention and awareness through his Elton John AIDS Foundation, which he founded in 1992. Procedes from his new memoir “Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS” will benefit the foundation.

Sir Elton also touched on being a father. He has one son, Zachary, with husband David Furnish, who the couple had in 2010 through surrogate mother.

“Zachary, being the child of a famous person is hard,” John said. “When he's four and he starts going to preschool kids will say, 'You don't have a mummy.'  And we know that. We talked about this before we had Zachary.  And we're gonna say, 'Well, listen, there's gonna be consequences involved in having a child when you're two gay parents.'"

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Touching back on his years of partying, John said he feels lucky to have survived the risky behavior, admitting he had unprotected sex in those days.

“When you take a drug and you take a drink and you mix those two together, you think you're invincible," John said. "I came out of this HIV-negative. I was the luckiest man in the world."

The interview will air over two days on NBC’s Today, July 17 and 18.