A new documentary exploring the life of legendary singer and musician, George Michael, will be hitting screens this evening. This revealing episode of television is set to get us all talking and thinking about Michael's extraordinary musical legacy and life — something that is guaranteed to result in a least one Wham! song whirling around your head for the rest of the week. But this also leads us to the question of the other member of Wham! — and what he might be up to these days. So, what is Andrew Ridgeley doing now?
Well if you tune in to watch The Double Life Of George Michael (airing tonight at 9pm on Channel 5) you're sure to learn a little bit about the more elusive member of Wham! — including about his friendship and working relationship with the Michael. In a trailer for the documentary, the band's manager Simon Napier-Bell describes Ridgeley as "a brother type partner."
And it is little wonder, seeing as, according to All Music, the pair met back in 1979, when they were at school together no less, in the London borough of Bushey. "They started performing together as part of the ska-based band the Executive," All Music reports. "When that group dissolved, they wrote songs, made demos, and rushed into a recording contract with the equally eager independent label Innervision, scoring an instant hit with 'Wham Rap!'" This went on to be the first Wham! single, according to Discogs.
The band went on to score hit singles with "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go," "Freedom," "I'm Your Man," and "The Edge Of Heaven." However, Wham! fans were left devastated in 1986, when the band announced they were splitting.
"I think it should be the most amicable split in pop history," Michael said, according to Smash Hits reporting at the time. And while he went on to have a glittering solo career, Ridgeley's success was more low-key.
For a while Ridgeley remained an enthusiastic co-collaborator with his former school pal, as is credited as co-writing Michael's first solo single "Careless Whisper." Then, according to the Daily Mail, post-Wham! he tried his hand at both Formula 3 and acting — though has mostly "shunned the limelight", the paper reported last year, instead choosing to live "a quiet life in Cornwall." However, his quiet life was ruptured when he split from his partner of 25 years, Bananarama's Keren Woodward, late last year.
“It wasn’t really working for either of us,” Ridgeley's told The Mirror at the time. “As close friends, with different lives, we see each other as circumstances allow and retain a great affection for one another.”
More recently, Ridgeley has been very involved in charity work. This month he has been participating in the Dallaglio Cycle Slam — a punishing 18 day and 1800km cycle across the French and Swiss alps. "Why am I doing this?" he writes on his Virgin Money Giving page. "I recognise the challenges disengaged young people face and try and overcome."
His passion for this project was very much seen in a now controversial interview Ridgeley gave on Good Morning Britain on June 20. Host Piers Morgan began by asking him about his feelings on his former musical partner Michael, to which he replied "the loss of a good friend is traumatic and emotionally tough." However, when pressed to reveal more, he quickly shut the interview down. "I wasn't really sure that that was why I was here today", he said, visibly irritated.
Morgan then referenced the awkward interview on air, telling viewers, "If you were one of the biggest pop stars in the world, I imagine you would talk about it," he said, according to The Independent. "If anyone was offended by me asking about pop music and Wham! stuff I can only not apologise." He then, in typical Piers Morgan-style, took to Twitter with some name-calling to finish things off.
Ridgeley has now finished his mammoth cycle ride — raising £1 million in the process — so whatever is coming next for him remains to be seen.