"I admire Ellen for standing up and saying what she did."
Elton John has defended Ellen DeGeneres’ controversial friendship with George W Bush, admitting he “admires” the US talk show host for defending it.
The talk show icon attracted backlash earlier this month, after she was seen taking selfies with the former Republican President at an NFL game.
She later defended their friendship in a lengthy video, claiming she’s “friends” with people even if they have opposing political views.
Defending the comedian during an interview on NPR, Elton said: “Unfortunately, what our democracy has become now is that it’s not okay to have different opinions than yours and that is not healthy.
“George Bush has made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. Ellen DeGeneres has made a lot of mistakes.”
The Rocketman singer explained: “Yes, there were [bad] decisions that he’s made, but that was made by Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. And I admire Ellen for standing up and saying what she did.”
Elton subsequently praised Dubya for launching the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief (Pepfar), an initiative that has provided more than $80 billion (£72 billion) to fund research into the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Addressing the furore last week, DeGeneres said: “Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different…
“Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean only the people who think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”
Her apology was subsequently dismissed by Mark Ruffalo, who stressed that Bush must be “brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War”.
It comes as Elton continues to promote his upcoming autobiography, ‘Me’. The book sees him describing how he once “hijacked” a Rolling Stones gig while high on cocaine, as well as his efforts to give “scruffy” Bob Dylan a makeover after mistaking him for his gardener.
In a more serious excerpt, he describes Michael Jackson as “mentally ill” and says he was a “disturbing person to be around”.