Sir Elton John has defended his husband against accusations that he has been too controlling over the star's affairs.

Sources had claimed that David Furnish was increasingly keen to manage Sir Elton's image and businesses after the singer parted company with his long-term PR chief Gary Farrow in December.

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Mr Furnish was also accused of sacking a string of the star's employees. But now Sir Elton has said his husband, 53, simply "pruned" his music empire to make it "a leaner, meaner machine".

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In an interview over the weekend that also gave a snapshot of the couple's family life, the singer, who is one of the best selling musicians in the world, said they are keen to give their sons Elijah, three, and Zachary, five, a down-to-earth upbringing.

David Furnish and Elton John with their sons Elijah and Zachary. Photo / AP
David Furnish and Elton John with their sons Elijah and Zachary. Photo / AP

This includes trips to high street restaurant Pizza Hut and making the boys do chores to earn pocket money.

Sir Elton, 68, joked that he has given Mr Furnish the nickname Yoko, after John Lennon's wife Yoko Ono regarded by some fans to be responsible for breaking up The Beatles.

But he told The Guardian: "My businesses have been badly run for the last five or six years, he's [Furnish] come in, pruned a few people away, made it a leaner, meaner machine. We've made some changes and some of them haven't been very popular ... On a human level, I understand that people are hurt; on the other hand, they needed to go."

Describing his children's upbringing, Sir Elton said: "They are spoilt in the way they live, but they're not spoilt when it comes to the rules they have to live by.

"They get £3 pocket money, but £1 is for charity, £1 is for saving and £1 is for spending. And they have to work for it - help in the kitchen, help in the garden. They've got to learn the value of doing something and earning something for themselves."

The singer, who is currently promoting his 32nd album, Wonderful Crazy Night, also revealed his hands-on approach to parenting, adding: "Saturdays when I'm home, we go to Pizza Hut with them, we go to Waterstones, we go to the cinema. I've never been a recluse, I've never hidden away. I'm on the school run."

Mr Farrow, who worked with Sir Elton for several decades and was close friends with the singer, said he would no longer represent him after "directional differences" with what was described as "Elton's new management".

The star's entourage has reportedly changed considerably in recent years, with Sir Elton getting rid of seven managers, a hairdresser, a personal assistant, two secretaries, a wardrobe assistant and multiple staff across his six houses.

- Daily Mail