George Michael, defender of the downtrodden pop star against 'exploitation' by multinational music companies, is obviously not short of funds. How else could he mount a legal challenge to free himself from Sony, his record company? Just how much Michael has stashed away has become something of a mystery in the long-running court battle.
When asked how much he was worth, Michael refused to answer, opting instead to write the number down for the judge, with the warning that he 'might be a little shocked' at the figure. But the judge would not have been shocked if he'd glanced at the accounts of Michael's oddly named private company, Nobby's Hobbies Holdings. From its inception in 1987 (a year before Sony took over Michael's contract) until its latest accounts were filed, for 1991, Nobby's generated some £20 million in pay and dividends for Michael. In addition, such rewards placed him among the world's highest-paid entertainers in the ranking compiled by Forbes each year from 1987 to 1990.
Since then, he has failed to make the grade as far as Forbes is concerned. That failure may explain why the notoriously status-conscious star (he had an extension added to his house to give his dog the status of a private playroom) is now so determined to be free of Sony - perhaps to negotiate a new deal that will presumably need several noughts on it - and cause even more shock to any future judge he meets.