Elton John performing at a concert in Florida in March (Photo : Rock Cousteau/Flickr)
One of the most vociferous of George W. Bush's many celebrity detractors had changed his tune about him.
Rock legend Elton John once called President George W. Bush "the worst thing that ever happened to America."
In an interview with ABC News/Yahoo, however, John lauds the 43rd President's work to fight the global AIDS epidemic, and also comments on his personal charm.
Like Us on Facebook
When the ABC interviewer asked him to name the President who had done the most to fight AIDS, the longtime AIDS activist answered "President Bush".
"I wasn't a big fan of his policies," John said. "I was very against the Iraq war. So, you know, his policies didn't sit well with mine."
Two things changed this.
The first and most important was Bush's 2004 signing of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) a multi-billion-dollar program designed to combat the African AIDS pandemic.
The second was meeting the man himself at the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors.
"At the Kennedy Center concert we spent some time in the intermission with the President, George Bush, and he was amazingly informed about AIDS," John told ABC/Yahoo. "He treated us with such kindness. I had so much respect for him, especially when the PEPFAR thing was announced when he gave 15 billion dollars to AIDS. He knew what he was talking about."
"One of the old adages in life is never judge someone until you meet them," John continued. "I didn't like his policies but I have to say when I met him, I found him charming, I found him well informed and I found him determined to do something about the AIDS situation so I changed my opinion of him. And his wife was astonishingly kind to us well. So it was -- I learned a lesson."