"I remember him being kind of shy," the supermodel, 47, told Rolling Stone of her first and only encounter with Michael in 1990. "He was a person who was certainly in control; his aura. He came in with a baseball bat. He didn't have an entourage or anything like that. The whole production seemed pretty pared down, in retrospect."
The Grammy winner recruited Turlington and fellow supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz to star in the video, which Michael himself did not appear in, after he saw them on the stunning black-and-white January 1990 cover of Vogue U.K. Together, the five beauties lip-synched to "Freedom! '90" — a piano-driven uptempo track from Michael's second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 — in a David Fincher–directed visual that fused music and fashion.
"[Michael] was super focused on the production and getting it exactly as it seemed he had in his mind," Turlington, who learned the lyrics on the way to the video shoot, recounted to Rolling Stone. "He was super hands-on and looking through the camera oftentimes and just incredibly engaged in each shot. I've heard since that he micromanaged it quite a bit and I think he ultimately had the final cut, which I learned about only this year. It wasn't a party atmosphere."
Although Michael didn't want to appear in the video, he did pose for a picture with Turlington and Evangelista, now 51. Two weeks before the crooner's December 25 death, Turlington shared the throwback on Instagram with the caption: "#fbf Behind the scenes on the Freedom 90 video set with George and @lindaevangelista."
Turlington learned of the former Wham! singer's death when she received a text message after Christmas dinner at her in-laws' home. She told Rolling Stone: "It was pretty shocking."
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