Who was Elton John's mum? Rocketman singer's relationship with Sheila Farebrother revealed

25 March 2021, 16:01

Elton John and his mum Sheila
Elton John and his mum Sheila. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Elton John's strained relationship with his mother Sheila Farebrother was among the main stories in his 2019 musical biopic Rocketman, with Bryce Dallas Howard playing the pop legend's mum

The John Lewis Christmas advert of 2018 also saw Elton John look back at his life via his classic ballad 'Your Song', and the beautiful scene in which his mum unveiled his first piano as a boy back in the 1950s.

But who was Elton's mum and did they have a feud? Here's all the facts:

  1. Who was Elton John's mum?

    Sheila Farebrother gave birth to Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, on March 25 1947, in Pinner, Middlesex.

    Shelia married Elton's dad Stanley Dwight when Elton was six years old, but they divorced when her son was 14.

    She later married a local painter, Fred Farebrother, who became a supportive step-dad to Elton.

    See more: Elton John facts: Singer's age, husband, children, parents, net worth and real name revealed

    When he began to consider a career in music, Elton's father, who was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, tried to convince him toward a more conventional career, such as banking.

    Both of his parents were musically talented, with his father having been a trumpet player with the Bob Millar Band. His parents were also keen record buyers, showing Elton the popular singers and musicians of the time, and he has spoken of being inspired by the rock and roll records his mother brought home.

  2. What was their feud about?

    Elton John and his mother Sheila in 2002
    Elton John and his mother Sheila in 2002. Picture: PA

    In Rocketman, their relationship was shown to have been strained for several years, particularly when Sheila allegedly told her son that he would never find true love because of his homosexuality.

    The film also showed how Sheila allegedly told Elton at the height of his fame that she was ashamed to be his mother, and that she asked him to pay for her and her partner to move out of the country to escape any unwanted attention.

    Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila in Rocketman
    Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila in Rocketman. Picture: Paramount

    What is known is that Elton and Sheila fell out after a "petty" argument in 2008, after Elton asked her to cut ties with two old friends, Bob Halley and John Reid.

    Halley previously worked for Elton for three decades as a driver and later as a personal assistant, before he was fired as part of a series of changes made to his team.

    See more: Who is John Reid? Queen and Elton John manager in Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman

    Reid had been Elton's manager and lover in the past, but they also fell out.

    By 2017, they pair appeared to have fully reconciled, after Elton recovered from a dangerous bacterial infection.

    "Dear Mum, Happy Mother's Day!" he wrote on Instagram in February. "So happy we are back in touch. Love, Elton xo"

  3. When did Sheila pass away?

    Elton said he was "so sad" and "in shock" after his mother died at the age of 92 on December 4, 2017.

    "So sad to say that my mother passed away this morning," he said on his Facebook page, along with a photo of them together.

    Elton John Reveals The Cover And Title Of His First Official Autobiography

    "I only saw her last Monday and I am in shock. Travel safe, mum. Thank you for everything."

    Sheila reportedly left half of her £534,000 fortune to Bob Halley in her will – which was said to have been changed just three weeks before her death – while Elton was left two ceramic urns and family photos.