Freddie was a gay man, but he loved Mary so much that he left her his fortune, his home and the bulk of his future earnings from Queen. She was also the only person entrusted with his ashes. The star famously said of her: “I can only name one really dear person who I can actually open up to and feel really happy with… I might have all the problem in the world, but I have Mary and that gets me through.”
In a new interview, former record company Pr and celebrity music journalist Lesley-Anne Jones exposes the tangled relationships at the heart of Freddie’s life.
Jones went on tour with everyone from David Bowie, Elton John and The Rolling Stones to Queen and has written a follow-up to her 1997 Freddie biography. In her new book, Love of My Life: The Life and Loves of Freddie Mercury, she talks about the incredible, unbreakable bond between the star and his greatest live.
She said: “They were together for six years and lived together very happily in their early 20s. Even after they broke off their engagement, Freddie kept her in his life. He couldn’t let go of her,”
Jones says: “Jim wasn’t Freddie’s one-to-one partner. That was a household of men.
“Jim said himself afterwards, ‘I tried to kid myself that Freddie and I had the big love relationship but it was more from my side.
“‘I couldn’t live without Freddie, he changed my life, but to Freddie, I was just another one who came along.'”
This seems rather harsh, since Freddie himself spoke beautifully of the relationship the one and only time he acknowledged it in public.
Remember, at that time, celebrity homosexual relationships were still rarely visible or discussed.
Freddie said: “I’m very happy with my relationship at the moment and I honestly couldn’t ask for better. It’s a kind of… solace. Yes, that’s a good word for it. There’s this kind of solace that I’ve got now. I don’t have to try so hard. I don’t have to prove myself now.
“I’ve got a very understanding relationship. It sounds so boring but it’s wonderful.
“Piaf did it. So did Streisand. Now I have a hairdresser husband, dear! I’ve finally found that niche I was looking for all my life and no f***er in this universe is going to upset it.”
Numerous home videos and photographs have emerged over the years showing how happy Freddie was at home. There were other men living with them, but they were his ex-boyfriend-turned-personal chef Joe Fanelli and his PA Peter Freestone.
Mary also lived nearby and was involved in the daily running of Freddie’s, handling all his personal finances.
Ultimately, it was to Mary he turned to arrange everything when he knew he was dying and to look after his home when he was gone.
Freestone said: “I do think it is significant that, in the end, he gave Mary the house and half of all his future earnings from Queen. That is what he felt for her.”
Love of My Life: The Life and Loves of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones is available now