He’s the Culture Club star who is now a resident mentor on The Voice Australia.
And while Boy George recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety and has turned over a new leaf, the British pop icon has certainly had a troubled past.
Before reinventing himself for Australian TV, the 59-year-old faced multiple scandals throughout his career – including drug and alcohol addictions and the time he was jailed for an attack on a male sex worker.
Inside The Voice star Boy George’s troubled past: The British singer battled drug demons and was jailed for an attack on a male sex worker years before reinventing himself for Australian TV
While he’s had huge success in the music industry, Boy George was exposed by the tabloids as a heroin addict in the mid-1980s.
Further drug problems and internal feuding led to Culture Club’s demise in 1986.
He later bounced back with a successful career as a solo artist in the late ’80s, before reinventing himself once again in the ’90s as a critically-acclaimed DJ.
In 2003 Boy George, whose real name is George Alan O’Dowd, moved to the U.S. when his autobiographical musical, Taboo, transferred to Broadway.
Throwback! Boy George burst onto the music scene in the early ’80s with his band Culture Club, known for their No. 1 hits Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? and Karma Chameleon. Pictured with Debbie Harry in London in 1987
End of an era: By the mid-1980s Boy George, whose real name is George Alan O’Dowd, had been exposed by the tabloids as a heroin addict. Further drug problems and internal feuding led to Culture Club’s eventual demise in 1986. Pictured in London in 2007
However, his previous drugs problems returned to haunt him in 2005 when he was arrested in New York on suspicion of possessing cocaine.
The charge was eventually dropped, but George was given community service in 2006 after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary at his NYC apartment.
He was ordered to sweep rubbish from the streets for a week as part of his community service.
George hit rock bottom in December 2008, when he was convicted for the assault and false imprisonment of Norwegian male sex worker Audun Carlsen during a ‘psychotic episode’ the previous year.
Demons: Boy George is pictured after a pre-trial hearing following his arrest for cocaine possession in New York City on March 8, 2006
Paying his debt to society: The Culture Club star was given community service in 2006 after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary at his New York apartment. Pictured: Boy George cleaning the streets of lower Manhattan on August 15, 2006
His face says it all! In 2006, George was ordered to sweep rubbish from the streets for a week in New York City as part of his community service
The superstar, who famously once said he preferred ‘a cup of tea’ to sex, shackled Mr Carlsen to a radiator and whipped him with a chain while screaming abuse.
At the time, Boy George was in the grips of a £400-a-day heroin habit.
The pair had met through the gay dating service Gaydar Commercial, where Mr Carlsen offered his services for ‘£400 a night’.
Mr Carlsen, then 28, said he was forced into handcuffs by Boy George and another man before he was dragged across the floor, attached to a large bolt on the wall and beaten.
Scandal: George hit rock bottom in December 2008, when he was convicted for the assault and false imprisonment of Norwegian male sex worker Audun Carlsen during a ‘psychotic episode’ the previous year. Pictured: Mr Carlsen at court on November 24, 2008
He managed to free himself and fled in his underpants into the street, screaming at pedestrians for help.
Condemning his ‘premeditated’, ‘callous’ and drug-fuelled frenzy which ‘traumatised’ Mr Carlsen, the judge said Boy George had ‘deprived [the victim] of his liberty and his human dignity’.
The star was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment for the attack of ‘gratuitous violence’, but was released after just four months.
Since then, Boy George has turned over a new leaf and celebrated a decade of sobriety in early 2018.
In May that year, he spoke of the incredible feat to Australian radio station Nova.
Reflecting on his sobriety, George said: ‘Obviously when you’re in it, it’s only when you get quality clean time, as you know, you go, “Oh wow, how did I do that? How the f**k did I do 10 years?”‘
Jailed: He was jailed for 15 months for the attack of ‘gratuitous violence’ but was released after four months. Pictured flipping the bird at paparazzi in the streets of London in August 2009
‘How the f**k did I do 10 years?’ Since then, Boy George has turned over a new leaf and celebrated a decade of sobriety in early 2018. Pictured in 2019 in London
He added: ‘But I would say everything good in my life is because I’m clean and I’m able to really enjoy what I do in a way I couldn’t before.’
On The Voice that April, George said he was coming up to 10 years of sobriety, after contestant Colin Lillie revealed his own past addiction.
‘As you know, if you’re in recovery, it’s amazing to think that you could go this long without being a mess,’ he told Colin.
‘It’s like, you get through the other side and you get a life beyond your wildest dreams, you know, because recovery really does set you free.’
During an appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories in 2015, George admitted that he once had a £400-a-day heroin habit.
In 2012, he said that practicing Nichiren Buddhism was the secret behind his sobriety. By 2014, he had also adopted a completely raw vegan diet.
Turning over a new leaf: In 2012, he said that practicing Nichiren Buddhism was the secret behind his sobriety. By 2014, he had also adopted a completely raw vegan diet
In 2013, The Mirror reported that George also credited his family with helping him beat his drug and alcohol addictions.
‘I’m very lucky that I’ve got a pretty good family who have always confronted me when I’ve got out of control,’ he said.
‘So I invest a lot of work into my sobriety, into staying clean. I’m not prepared to give that up for anything or anyone.’
Boy George, who is known for hits including Karma Chameleon with Culture Club, joined The Voice Australia in 2017.
Flashback: Boy George – who is known for hits including Karma Chameleon with Culture Club – joined The Voice Australia in 2017. Pictured in the early ’80s
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however, as fellow judge Guy Sebastian recently confirmed a tabloid rumour that George had thrown a tantrum on set of The Voice because he wanted to be the only person wearing a hat.
In May last year, Guy confirmed the report was 100 per cent accurate.
Speaking to The Kyle and Jackie O Show, the Australian Idol winner said it had been made clear to him that George would be the only ‘hat guy’ on the show.
Guy explained he had been told by George’s assistant that he could not wear a hat on camera because that was the British star’s signature accessory.
‘He wants to be the hat guy. The [report] is right, [but] it doesn’t come from him,’ Guy said, when asked about the bizarre rumour.
‘He doesn’t go, “Guy, I’m the hat guy, I’ve been here for a few seasons.” Nah, it comes from his bloody assistant.’
He’s still a diva! It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however, as fellow judge Guy Sebastian (left) recently confirmed a tabloid rumour that George had thrown a tantrum on set of The Voice because he wanted to be the only person wearing a hat