Singer Elton John sat down with TODAY's Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview about his memoir, "Love is the Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS." John spoke candidly about the decades leading up to where he is now, saying that he "wasted" much of his time on drugs and addiction, especially during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.
"I wasted such a big part of my life, when this epidemic was beginning to happen in the early 1980s. And I was a drug addict and self-absorbed," he told Lauer from his home outside London. "You know, I was having people die right, left and center around me, friends. And yet, I didn't stop the life that I had, which is the terrible thing about addiction. It's that -- you know, it's that bad of a disease."
In his book -- sales of which will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation -- John writes, "I was consumed by cocaine, booze, and who knows what else. I apparently never got the memo that the me generation had ended."
John told Lauer he feels guilty about that time, but "I'm making up for it. There is so much more to be done."
The two also discussed John's sexuality, and his fears -- or lack thereof -- about living publicly as a gay man, even though coming out impacted his career.
"In America, people burned my records for a second and radio stations didn't play me. It didn't have any effect like the Dixie Chicks had when they made the anti-Iraq statements and their career was ruined," John said. "So by me saying gay in the 1970s -- it didn't have a big effect on me whatsoever."
John also told Lauer that he didn't fear AIDS during his time of living more recklessly.
"You know what? When you take a drug and you take a drink and you mix those two together, you think you're invincible," John said. "I came out of this HIV-negative. I was the luckiest man in the world."
John's lifestyle is now vastly different from the way he lived in the 1980s. Not only is he sober, but he's married to husband David Furnish, and the two have a son Zachary, who was born via surrogate on Christmas Day 2010.
"I'd love to have more children. And also Zachary, being the child of a famous person is hard. And I would like him to have -- you know, when he's four and he starts going to preschool kids will say, 'You don't have a mummy.' And we know that. We talked about this before we had Zachary. And we're gonna say, 'Well, listen, there's gonna be consequences involved in having a child when you're two gay parents.'" he explained. "And I want him to have a brother or a sister to go to school with him. And so that he can have someone to play with."
You can tune in to TODAY for the rest of the interview, which will air in two parts Tuesday and Wednesday, July 17 and 18.