Why did Wham! break up? Netflix documentary to explore rise and break up of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley's beloved band

Why did Wham! break up? Everything you need to know about the 80's UK pop band ahead of the upcoming Netflix documentary

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has just released a new trailer for their upcoming documentary, Wham! which charts the pop duo's incredible journey from school friends to superstars.

Wham!, the famous band behind the songs, Club TropicanaWake Me Up Before You Go GoFreedomI’m Your Man and of course, Last Christmas, hit huge levels of fame in the 80s and were beloved worldwide. However, after only five years together the duo split and went their separate ways. But why exactly did Wham! break up? Here's everything you need to know ahead of Netflix's upcoming documentary exploring the band...


(Image credit: Wham!)

In 1981, high school friends from Hertfordshire, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley formed Wham! And just a year later the band were offered a record deal from Mark Dean at Innervision Records when they ran into him at The Three Crowns pub in Hertfordshire. The band went from success to success, traveling worldwide and even performing at Live Aid in 1985. But by 1986 the band broke up and decided to embark upon solo careers and different pursuits. But what happened?

George was more popular than Andrew and there was reportedly demand for him to pursue a solo career outside of the group. George also was quoted as saying that he wanted to, "write to more honest emotions in his records, creating songs that people could personally relate to." George apparently struggled with the band's image and wanted to write 'mature' songs that didn't just have a teenage girl fanbase - like Wham! was known for at the time.

George Michael Freedom Uncut will tell the story of George Michael in his own words

(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Reportedly it was an 'amicable' break up with George reported as saying, "I think it should be the most amicable split in pop history." The final concert took place at London's Wembley Stadium in June 1986, and at the end of the final song the pair hugged on stage.

They both went on to launch solo careers with George meeting high levels of success. The pair still remained friends and in 1888 and 1991 the pair reunited on stage at George's concerts to sing some Wham! hits. 

When George's death was announced in 2016, Andrew paid tribute to the late star at the Brit Awards 2017 and said, "On Christmas Day 2016, the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation, an icon of his era, George Michael, was lost. A supernova in the shining stars had been extinguished and it felt like the sky had fallen in." He went on to reflect on some of their happy memories and spoke proudly about his friend.

Wham! the documentary, is set to be released on Netflix on Wednesday, July 5, 2023. The documentary will also have a theatrical release with the film debuting in select theaters on June 27, 2023, in the UK.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.