Billy Joel Responds To Elton John's Rehab Slam: He's 'Just Being Elton'

Elton John and Billy Joel perform at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif., February 16, 2010 Elton John and Billy Joel perform at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif., February 16, 2010

Billy Joel is shrugging off Elton John’s recent remarks about his rehab history.

The legendary rock ‘n’ roller told Access Hollywood in a statement on Wednesday that he isn’t angry at Elton John for claiming in the newest issue of Rolling Stone magazine that the “New York State of Mind” singer needs “tough love.”

“I’ve worked with Elton for such a long time and I’ve enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him,” Joel told Access. “Elton is just being Elton.”

John made headlines on Wednesday night when Rolling Stone published his comments about the piano man.

“At the end of the day, he’s coasting,” John told the mag. “I always say, ‘Billy, can’t you write another song?’ It’s either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy’s a conundrum. We’ve had so many canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism.”

In July 2009, the duo postponed two shows in upstate New York as Joel battled flu-like symptoms. Later, in early November 2009, five concerts were canceled because John was sickened with the flu and by an E. coli infection. A few weeks later, Joel was the reason for a single concert cancellation, for unspecified “medical reasons.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone for the magazine’s latest issue, John went on to characterize Joel’s previous rehab stints as “light.”

“He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been light,” John said. “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.”

As for someone whose rehab stints he respects, John had high praise for rapper Eminem.

“He’s worked really hard at sobriety and it’s changed him so much,” John said.

Another star he enthused over in the new interview, unrelated to stints in rehab, was his pal Lady Gaga.

“I’ve heard her new album,” John said of the pop star’s upcoming May 23 album, “Born This Way.” “It’s amazing. The first single, ‘Born This Way,’ is the anthem that’s going to obliterate ‘I Will Survive.’ I can’t think of how huge it’s going to be.”

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