Elton John and Rod Stewart’s friendship and rivalry has been well documented over the years, with the musicians constantly one-upping each other both in terms of prank-pulling and gift-giving.

In his 2019 memoir Me, John recounted how the pair have made endless attempts to upstage one another in public. Now, Stewart, 76, is answering fan questions for the Guardian, revealing the time John, 74, one-upped him the most.

While some of their past swipes have been very public — from tearing down each other’s advertising banners to John once shooting down Stewart’s promotional blimp in London — Stewart says the time John “showed me up the most was in private.”

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“We used to live 20 minutes from each other in Berkshire, so for Christmas I bought him a pop-up fridge from Harrods. You pressed a button and there’d be steam and lights and a bottle of champagne,” Stewart recalls. “It cost me £600; a lot of money in the 70s. We swapped presents and he said: ‘Oh, very nice, dear, thank you.'”

“He gave me a Rembrandt painting!” Stewart exclaims. “I’ve never felt so stingy.”

Stewart says John is “eternally the most generous person I’ve ever known. I’m not sure what the best one I’ve done on ‘her’ is … he’s usually got one over on me. I can’t bear it. We communicate through the press now, but we love each other. That’s what counts.”

The musicians have always shared a cheeky rivalry but in 2018, Stewart took things a little too far for John’s liking, which resulted in the men making mean-spirited swipes at one another in interviews. But the pals patched things up and put their feud behind them earlier this year.

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“We’ve had this rivalry for a long time and it’s been very, very funny, and I love him dearly, and if I saw him in the street I’d give him the biggest hug,” John told Howard Stern. “There’s no point in carrying on vendettas in this world. Life’s too short. Honestly, I don’t bear any grudges about him whatsoever.”

Stewart, too, was ready to bury the hatchet.

“I was a bit spiteful when he announced his tour. I regret it, I really do regret it. So we’re mates again now. I do love him,” Stewart told the Daily Mail in January. “We’ve always been fierce enemies… through the years, but it’s always been at a playful level. But we had the worst row, like a married couple. It went on forever.”