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Boy George describes prison sentence "a gift"

Boy George has told how serving time in prison was a "gift" that helped him to get his life back on track.

The musician - real name George O'Dowd - was jailed for four months in 2009 for the assault and false imprisonment of a male escort.

"It's something that happened, and sitting here worrying about whether it was the right thing and 'Did I deserve it?' ... it happened. And I dealt with it."

"I went through the whole, 'What have you done? This is not my life. This is a disaster'. But I always had the sense that I'd get through it," he told ES Magazine.

"The gift it gave me was time with myself. I went into prison sober. I knew I had a lot of work to do. I've worked very hard at getting myself back in shape, getting my career back, getting my self-respect back. I knew it would take time, and it has. But I'm starting to feel the rewards of that work."

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Dark days - Boy George outside Thames Magistrates Court in east London, back in 2007

George, 54, has publicly battled substance abuse and said it took him years to admit he was an addict.

"When I finally did, I was like, 'What a relief! That's what I am!'" said the singer, who has now been sober for eight years.

undefinedWith Culture Club back in 1983

The Culture Club singer appeared as a coach on the fifth season of The Voice, which helped to introduce him to a new audience.

He said: "The music industry of 20 years ago doesn't exist. If you're smart you work out new ways up the mountain.

"I don't want to become a TV personality. I'm first and foremost a musician. But people won't know about that if I'm not on the telly. That's why I've done The Voice."

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With fellow The Voice UK judges will.i.am, Paloma Faith, and Ricky Wilson

Currently single, George said he is now leading a happier life.

"My appetite for self-destruction and misery is greatly diminished. I'm not interested in being unhappy," he said.

* The full interview appears in this week's issue of ES Magazine out on April 14.

Images: Getty, Source: AAP

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