Hot on the heels of Bohemian Rhapsody comes another excellent movie biopic about a British music icon who wrestled with his sexuality. Freddie Mercury finally came out as gay but always maintained that the great love of his life was his “common-law wife” Mary Austin. Elton John was engaged to two women and married the second, German sound engineer Renate Blauel. He spoke out about his “sadness and regret” over the way the relationship ended. What happened and where is she now?
Rocketman lays bare Elton’s struggle to find acceptance and love – from himself as much from others – in a powerhouse central performance from Taron Egerton.
The film shows the tormented singer seeking solace in the arms of Renate, after years of drink and drugs combined with the damage caused by his cold parents and abusive gay relationship with manager John Reid.
Elton proposed to Renate on February 10, 1984, during the Australian leg of his latest tour, and they were married just four days later on St Valentine’s Day.
The movie shows the clear affection between them but also pointedly reveals they had separate bedrooms. There was public speculation in the press at the time that the marriage was a sham to cover up Elton’s sexuality.
The film and Elton’s candid comments later, make it clear that he really did love Renate, and she him – but he had to finally accept he was not bisexual, as he had publicly claimed in 1977, but completely gay. They were divorced four years later and Renate completely disappeared from public view.
Rather like Mary Austin, Renate has always avoided the limelight and has never sought financial gain or fame through her relationship to Elton. She has never once spoken about the star or any aspects of their relationship.
Elton’s former PR Caroline Boucher said: “Renate Blauel has to be the most honourable ex-wife in the music business. There have been no interviews, no kiss and tell, no TV outpourings, indeed no sightings.”
Elton also paid his ex-wife a beautiful tribute recently.
Elton said: “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.”
Little is known about his elusive former wife.
Elton bought her a large house in the Home Counties and she lived there quietly for many years, continuing to work in music production. She later moved back to Germany to care for her parents and has successfully remained out of the public eye ever since.
ROCKETMAN IS OUT NOW IN UK CINEMAS