It was during Culture Club's beginnings that Hay met Alison Green. The two married in 1982 and had a child, Sunny, in 1986. They divorced in 2005, although the two had been separated since 1995.
According to the "Culture Club" episode the VH-1 series Behind the Music, Hay assisted Boy George in giving up heroin. The singer suffered the painful withdrawal symptoms closely attended by Hay in his Essex home.
Following Culture Club, Hay formed another band, called This Way Up. In 1987, they released three singles : "Tell Me Why", "If I Can't Have You" and "Louise". An album, Feeling Good About It was released in some European countries and in Japan in 1987. All those records flopped, "Tell Me Why" being the only one that charted, for one week at number 72 in the UK Singles Chart.
Hay moved to Los Angeles, U.S. in 1989 and from there wrote for and produced young artists and bands for Sony Music. He branched into commercial composing and sound design with his own company Haywired Music.
Hay found later success as a composer in Hollywood, California, working with fellow composer Hans Zimmer and composing the music for a series directed by Robert Altman, as well as the music for Cracker and for Stephen King's The Dead Zone. Hay reunited with the three original members of Culture Club in 1998 to record a new album. In a Rolling Stone interview, Hay described the years apart as a healing process. "There was obviously a bit of a healing process that needed to happen between Jon [Moss] and George. They hadn't really spoken to each other in quite a while". The description of the tour was "Older and wiser...We've all been through some good and bad times since the band. I think we've all grown up a bit".