Bernie Taupin believes he and Sir Elton John are "interconnected mentally".
The 73-year-old songwriter has worked with the 'Philadelphia Freedom' hitmaker since the 1960s and he insisted it doesn't matter where in the world they are, they are always as close as ever.
He told The Times magazine: “After years of being together, we’re just interconnected mentally. The geographical distance doesn’t really matter.”
The pair speak every few days on FaceTime, but Bernie finds it "easier" to wait for Elton to call him.
He said: “[Yesterday he asked me,] ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘Oh, I just went to get the car washed.’ And he said, ‘I just went out on the yacht.’
"He’s on a very well-deserved vacation in the south of France with the family. I always let him call me; it’s easier that way because of his schedule. I mean, I’m just going to the gas station or the market and he’s…” He chuckles. “Well, he’s Elton John.”
The pair briefly parted ways professionally in the 1970s, but neither of them felt at ease working with other artists.
Bernie recalled: “We were both worn out. We’d broken every record and filled every stadium in the country — where do you go from there? Probably drugs were involved in their height at that point...
“We both had that sense of jealousy. It’s like the marriage thing: ‘My partner’s cheating on me.’ ”
In their personal lives, Elton has two sons with husband David Furnish, while Bernie has just celebrated the 25th anniversary of the day he met fourth wife Heather, and the songwriter described them as an "army of four".
He said: “Heather and David are really close, because they both manage each of us. Everything’s in-house now. We have nobody peripherally taking 50 per cent. We are basically an army of four.”
Bernie thinks it is possible he could be "dead by now" if he'd never met Elton.
Asked what life would have been like if they'd never met, he said: “Probably one of two things: I would have ended up driving a tractor and spending every night in the same pub for the rest of my life and be dead by now. Or I would have maintained my obsession with Americana and emigrated. I would like to think [the latter], because it shows more moxie in my personality.”
And Elton insisted he wouldn't have had the career he's enjoyed without Bernie's creative input.
Asked the same question, he said: “I’d probably be working in WHSmith or a record store. [Our meeting] was serendipity on the biggest scale.”