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Happy Birthday to Boy George! 8 Facts on the Karma Chameleon

The Culture Club frontman turns 56 on June 14th. Check out these fun facts on the ’80s pop icon and talented singer-songwriter.

1. After getting kicked out of school at 15, George made a living as a model and makeup artist.

2. Influenced by the glam and punk era of the 1970s, George wore makeup and women’s clothing during school. When he used this look to promote his band Culture Club, it wasn’t all-too shocking to Brits, but it definitely turned heads in the U.S. Many Americans didn’t know whether he was a man or woman.

3. Many of Boy George’s Culture Club songs were about his secret love affair with his drummer Jon Moss.

4. Despite Boy George’s feminine look, he was a tough guy with enough chutzpah to get into a brawl. “I think people think of me as very feminine, but I’m very masculine,” he said in an interview in 1983. “I can throw a good punch. I’m taller and bigger than people expect me to be; I’m sure they expect a little fairy wearing dandelions.”

5. Amid recording preparations of Band Aid’s 1984 hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” founder Bob Geldof had to call Boy George who was in New York to wake him up from his hangover. Apparently the singer had partied a bit too hard and missed his flight to London where they were going to record the famous track. Thankfully, George took the next flight out and showed up at 6pm, sipping on brandy to soothe his vocal chords.

6. Since 1988, Boy George has tried to adhere to a macrobiotic diet. After his battle with drug addiction and his stint in rehab in the early 2000s, he turned to a vegan lifestyle.

7. To help his sobriety, Boy George practices Buddhism and has been since 2012. “I chant every day and that definitely helps me to get things in perspective. I approach everything I do now with a lot more joy and satisfaction,” he told Billboard.

8. Boy George appeared multiple times on the seventh season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Why? One of the newest cast members, Dorit Kemsley, is married to the singer’s manager Paul “PK” Kemsley. When Boy George isn’t in London, he lives with the Kemsleys in their Beverly Hills mansion.