When Elton John's comments about Billy Joel's alcoholism came out in Rolling Stone's most recent cover story, Joel publicly claimed to be unbothered by them. "I've enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him," Joel said in a statement. "Elton is just being Elton."
This morning on the Today Show, however, John revealed that privately Joel is furious. "He hates me at the moment," John said. "He sent me a message and he's not happy. I understand that. I'm sorry I had to say it, but I'm saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be very happy. That's all it came from. I understand why he's mad at me. I'm only trying to help. Maybe I should have done it privately, but I've been so frustrated over the years."
In Rolling Stone's story, John tells writer Austin Scaggs, "He's going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they've been light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you're not going to get rid of them at rehab light. You've got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."