Culture Club at war: Boy George and Jon Moss' secret relationship and longtime feud explained

10 November 2020, 16:43

Culture Club's Boy George and Jon Moss
Culture Club's Boy George and Jon Moss. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Culture Club became one of the leading groups of the New Romantic movement in the early 1980s, scoring massive hits around the world.

Led by the fantastic voice and unique androgynous style of Boy George, the band were an international force.

Culture Club had number ones with 'Karma Chameleon' and 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?', and the group's fame peaked as Boy George sang as part of Band Aid in 1984.

Read more: Culture Club's best songs ever

However, tensions emerged within the band, as unbeknownst to the public at the time, George and drummer Jon Moss had begun an affair that would arguably lead to their breakup.

Here is the story behind their romance, and where they are now.

  1. When did Culture Club form?

    Culture Club (R-L, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss, Boy George, Roy Hay)
    Culture Club (R-L, Mikey Craig, Jon Moss, Boy George, Roy Hay). Picture: Getty

    Back in 1981, Boy George was a regular at the Blitz Club in Covent Garden, London, and occasionally sang with the group Bow Wow Wow.

    After leaving the grouo, George decided to start his own band, and signed up with bassist Mikey Craig, drummer Jon Moss, and guitarist Roy Hay.

    Quickly noticing they had an Irish gay man as its lead singer, a black Briton on bass, a blond Englishman on guitar and keyboards, and a Jewish drummer, they chose the name Culture Club.

  2. When did Boy George and Jon Moss start dating?

    Virtual Coffee Break: Boy George - full interview

    By the mid-1980s, although the wider public didn't know, Boy George and Jon Moss had been in a relationship while still performing in the band together,

    George has later said how many of Culture Club's songs were inspired by their turbulent relationship.

    Their relationship lasted for just over four years, but was often full of drama, with alleged physical and verbal abuse from both of them.

    Boy George film: Biopic cast, release date and storyline details

    Their constant arguments and pressure to hide their relationship from the public began taking its toll on the band.

    Boy George later called it "the great unresolved romance of the century".

    He wrote in his autobiography: "Our relationship was built on power-tripping and masochism. Our love, however diseased, was the creative force behind Culture Club."

  3. When did they break up?

    Culture Club - Do You Really Want To Hurt Me (Official Video)

    By 1985, the pair had split up, but the band continued on.

    Due to the breakup and general tension with the rest of the band, George soon turned to drugs, and became addicted to heroin.

    See more: When Diana Ross pulled Boy George on stage for a staggering duet of ‘Upside Down’

    After their next album didn't perform well, George and Moss no longer wanted to be around each other, leading to an American tour being cancelled.

    By summer 1986, George admitted that he was addicted to drugs, and he was arrested by British police for possession of heroin.

    The band broke up, and George pursued a solo career.

  4. Did they reunite?

    Culture Club Reunites in 1998
    Culture Club Reunites in 1998. Picture: Getty

    There have been multiple reunions over the years, including 1998's successful tour and album Don't Mind if I Do, which included the number four single 'I Just Wanna Be Loved'.

    Most recently, the group reunited for the 2018 album Life, which featured both George and Moss back in the recording studio for the first time in 20 years.

  5. Are they still friends?

    Culture Club in 2014
    Culture Club in 2014. Picture: Getty

    In 2018, Culture Club toured the US and Europe. Jon Moss was originally part of the line-up, but did not appear in the European leg.

    A spokeswoman for Boy George said: "Jon's taking a break from Culture Club but the door is open in the future."

    However, in December 2019, Moss filed a lawsuit at London's High Court naming the band as defendants.

    Read more: Boy George speaks of his 'lovely' friendship with George Michael

    His lawyers said he was told to "take a break" by manager Paul Kemsley, demanding nearly £200,000 in missing payments and a share of profits.

    In August 2020, Boy George publicly apologised to Moss, saying: “We are having this court case so I thought I would call him as I thought I was really moved by the script and I was really moved by the story of how we met and I suddenly thought: ‘You know what, I forgot about all that.’

    “I forgot about all that really amazing stuff when I met him and you know how much I was in love with him and how it was so beautiful and exciting and all the stuff happened. It got lost in all this kind of bitterness and all this feuding.

    “So it was interesting for me to sit with Jon and go: ‘Actually mate, I might have to apologise to you for some things.”

    It remains to be seen if they can put this latest feud behind them and reunite once again.

    After his relationship with George, Jon Moss later married his girlfriend Barbra Savage. Now separated, they have three children together.