Before Michael Hutchence’s tragic suicide in 1997, he and Bono’s friendship had come to an end. Bono, 62, detailed the deterioration of his friendship with the INXS singer in his memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story. In an excerpt published by Apple News, Bono writes that he and his wife, Ali Hewson, “grew uncomfortable” with spending time with Michael and his partner, Paula Yates, because the couple was in a “ free fall – [spiraling] down the vortex of recreational drug use that had become hard work for everyone, especially their family, especially the younger ones. As their [behavior] changed, our friendship became strained, and we grew uncomfortable during their visits.”
The drug use became so worrisome that Bono and Ali, 61, refused to become godparents to Michael and Paula’s child, Tiger Lily, per USA Today. They soon ended their friendship with the couple. Michael would take his own life in 1997. A coroner would rule that Michael, age 37, had hanged himself while depressed and under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Paula would pass from a drug overdose in 2000. “Neither of us dreamed they’d both end up dead so soon,” writes Bono. Even now, I can’t believe I’ve just written that.”
Bono wrote that he and Ali hoped that the rejection would help Michael and Paula wake up about what was going on. True friendship, Bono wrote, “meant being truthful. Friendship is not a sentimental business. However, the rejection only pushed the couples farther away from each other, with Michael and Paula continuing down their paths. “It only made them think again about us,” wrote Bono. “That we can half live with our conscience is no substitute for the fact that we can’t live at all with our friends. They are gone.”
The U2 singer relayed that the death of Michael informed his perspective on rock stars dying young and that there’s no glory or glamour ending up another casualty like that. He wrote that his friend, Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, gave him some advice: ” ‘Bono, we don’t want to die stupid, choking on our own vomit, falling asleep in a swimming pool. I like my heroes to be alive,” she told him. “I like them to grow old,’’ she said.
Bono also relayed a conversation that he had with Michael while on a beach near the Mediterranean. Kurt Cobain had just taken his own life, and the INXS singer told Bono, “If [Kurt had] just waited, mate, he’d have found a way out of whatever hole he was in. Didn’t need to be a grave.”