Warning: minor Rocketman spoilers ahead!
There are a lot of unsavory characters in the Elton John biopic / musical Rocketman — but John Reid is definitely the worst of the worst.
Portrayed by Richard Madden, the music manager took advantage of Elton and made it very clear to the "Benny and the Jets" singer that he cared more about business than his well-being. At one point, John calls Elton a "prick" as he's being carted into an ambulance.
Unfortunately, Elton (played by Taron Egerton) was in love with John — who also made in appearance in Bohemian Rhapsody, FYI — and it wasn't until years later that their personal and business relationship came to an end.
Who is John Reid?
The Scotland native met Elton at the Motown Recording Studio in the '70s (in the film the pair met at a party after Elton's performance at the LA music venue Troubadour) and according to John, Elton "was a dumpy, balding little guy in a funny jumpsuit who used to go around cadging records."
The film also portrays Elton losing his virginity to John, a moment the real-life Elton made sure was included in the film. "I’m so glad it’s in there because I am a gay man and I didn’t want to airbrush it under the carpet," he told The Irish Mirror. "I was a virgin until then. I was desperate to be loved and desperate to have a tactile relationship. When they tear their clothes off in the movie, that was how it happened. It was in San Francisco."
They went on to be lovers between 1970 and 1975, during which time Elton released some of his biggest hits including, "Your Song," “Candle in the Wind,” and “Rocket Man."
Unfortunately, John proved to have a temper, and at one point in the film, John can be seen putting his hands on Elton before a performance.
His violent tendencies were documented in a 1974 Rolling Stone article, and at the time John did not deny that he had anger issues.
"They’re isolated incidents," John told Rolling Stone. "I don’t make excuses, I’m not particularly proud of it, but any time anything like this has happened, it’s been in defense of Elton or Bernie, not for personal reasons."
After 30 years, Elton and John's tumultuous relationship came to an end.
Twenty five years after their personal relationship ended, Elton finally cut all ties with John but it was not amicable. In fact, in 1998, Elton sued John for allegedly stealing millions from him.
"John claimed to have found a £20 million hole in his accounts and sued Reid, an associate and accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers. John argued that his management team had not met certain touring expenses out of the "generous" commission he paid them," the Telegraph reported. "Reid and John settled out of court — Reid paying John £3.4 million — but the case against PWC and Reid's colleague Andrew Haydon, both of whom contested the allegations, hit the High Court in 2000."
Where is John Reid today?
You would think that John's career would be over, but that couldn't be further from the truth. John, now age 69, most recently appeared as a judge on Season 1 and 2 of The X Factor Australia in 2005.
He was expected to show up to the Cannes premiere of Rocketman but he did not attend. And who can blame him after his portrayal in not only this movie, but Bohemian Rhapsody (where is was portrayed by Littlefinger himself, Aiden Gillen) as well.
But if the latest tabloid reports can be believed, he is retired, living in London (or Australia) enjoying his golden years out of the spotlight — and probably still living on the 20 percent he made off of Elton's career.
"I’m fond of Elton and proud of the work we did together,” John reportedly said in the 2010s. "One day I’ll bump into him and there may be hugs and kisses. Or maybe not."
We are going to go with not. Watch Rocketman in theaters now.
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