Ever since the sudden death of pop superstar George Michael, his former partner has stayed out of the spotlight. But now North Texan Kenny Goss is sharing memories of the man with whom he shared much of his life.
"I really miss him," Goss said in an exclusive interview with NBC 5.
Goss met Michael in Los Angeles in 1996.
"We just met out in L.A. at a restaurant. He asked me out," Goss said.
That was the beginning of a relationship that would last more than two decades, first as a couple and later as friends.
The two men shared a life in the glare of George Michael's worldwide fame.
"I don't think he liked being a star at all when I met him. I don't think he got into music at all for fame. He just loved being a musician," Goss said.
There were difficult times, like Michael's arrest for cruising for sex in a public restroom.
"When somebody’s being so crazy publicly … I just loved him, certainly didn't judge him. It was bad enough everybody else was talking about it," Goss explained. "I think we both wished certainly that we would have stayed together."
Michael would write several songs about his relationship with Goss. "Amazing," "American Angel" and "Where I Hope You Are," are all about their life together.
The two also started the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, which raises money for charities and helps develop young artists. The foundation has raised millions of dollars for causes such as the MTV Staying Alive Foundation dedicated to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Generosity was a priority for Michael. Goss said his partner gave away tens of millions of dollars, almost always anonymously.
"He always said to me more than once, 'How much money does someone really need? So many people think I've got to keep all this money and be super rich.' He really believed that you help people a lot and you only need a certain amount of money in your bank account," Goss said.
Fans learned in 2011 that the couple had split. Goss said there were no hard feelings.
"There's no huge story at all. There's no craziness that I got upset or he was upset with me," Goss said.
Goss said they continued their friendship and stayed connected through their work with the foundation.
Goss learned of Michael's death on Christmas Day in a phone call from Michael's manager, Michael Lippman.
"I said, 'Hey, Michael, how you doing? Tell Nancy I said hello. Merry Christmas!' And he said, 'Kenny, you haven't heard?' I found out that way. He said, 'George is dead,'" Goss said. "And I just went, 'Wow.'"
The days and weeks that followed were difficult for Goss. He said he knows nothing about the circumstances surrounding Michael's death, who was discovered in bed by his boyfriend, Fadi Fawaz. Goss said seeing the worldwide tributes to his former partner have been heartwarming.
"They loved him," he said.
Goss said the foundation that bears both of their names will continue.
"It won't stop until I decide it will. It's my decision. I think in death he was even more proud of it," Goss said.
Goss is currently preparing for the upcoming MTV RE:DEFINE event in Dallas, which will raise several million dollars for the Staying Alive Foundation.
More than two months after Michael's death, Goss said he still feels Michael's presence.
"All the time, yeah. I'm always asking him questions. Like coming to do this interview, I'm like, 'Darlin' I hope this is OK,' because he's really private," Goss said.
And when asked about what he would say to the man he still calls his longtime love, Goss says this: "I said it all to him already. There wasn't anything we left unsaid. 'I love you.'"