The 72-year-old music legend admits he was “not mentally well” before he took to the stage for two iconic sold-out shows at the Los Angeles baseball venue Dodger Stadium in 1975, and while he took an overdose just a few days before performing, the lure of the shows made him carry on.
He said: “Two days before Dodger Stadium, I was having my stomach pumped. I took an overdose and there I was, two days later, at Dodger Stadium with Cary Grant and Billie Jean King having the time of my life.
“You can say that I’m resilient and that’s one thing. I’m resilient. I wasn’t gonna pass by the opportunity of playing that great stadium for two days … it was [the] highlight of my career to play Dodger Stadium, [are] you kidding me. But I was not mentally well before that.
“Look at Judy Garland for example. She wasn’t well, but she came on and delivered. You have to. That’s what you do [when] you’re a performer and that’s what saved my life – being a performer.”
Elton – who has previously suffered from drug and alcohol issues – insists he shouldn’t be alive today after what he has put himself through, and only believes he is still here because he asked for help after 16 years when he felt “ashamed” of himself.
Speaking to ‘Entertainment Tonight’ at the Cannes Film Festival – where his biopic ‘Rocketman’ was shown – he added: “My life has been a miracle. It’s been a series of serendipity and luck and good fortune and brave decision, but sitting here in this room now, the movie is showing tonight, it is surreal.
“Because what I’ve tried to do to myself, I shouldn’t be sitting here and I’ve been very, very lucky in that.
“I suddenly realised that I had two choices: one was to die, one was to live.
“And it took me 16 years to ask for help. To say three words, ‘I need help.’ Because I was so proud. I knew I had a problem and I was really unhappy with myself, so I was ashamed of myself.”
Elton – who has kids Zachary, eight, and Elijah, six, with husband David Furnish – previously admitted he lost his “own humanity” due to “an excess of drugs, alcoholism, and eating disorders”.
Speaking in 2017, he said: “My passion and commitment to music opened up imaginable doors and took me to new heights in life. But once I hit the pinnacle, happiness became elusive and darkness crept in. I lost my own humanity in an excess of drugs, alcoholism, and eating disorders. During my addictions in the 1980’s the AIDS epidemic surfaced, and the government took no notice of it. I lost so many friends to AIDS and I didn’t put myself on the line because of the addictions I was going through. The drugs turned me into a monster.”