If there’s a couple that truly embodies that love is a friendship that transcends everything, it is Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin. From meeting and falling in love young to seeing each other through best and worst, these two did it all in the time-span that they knew each other. Despite separating after a six-year-old relationship, the couple only had fond memories to speak of when asked about each other. Because of the megastar and icon that Freddie Mercury was, everyone knows the tales of his relationship with Mary Austin, its eventual disintegration and all the things in between. What is rarely spoken of though, is the energy between the two and how they maintained respect, friendship and love for each other, till the very end.
Fashion brings many together but it is particularly true in the case of this stellar couple that we all love. Mary Austin and Freddie Mercury first met in 1969, while working for a fashion boutique in London. At the time Mary was 19 and Freddie was 24 and both had experienced an instant attraction towards one another. Although Mary was first unsure of Freddie and the idea of being with him, she shed her apprehensiveness to be with him.
Mary was born to parents who had the most regular occupations and were also deaf and mute and would communicate to her in sign language. Mary was a young girl when she met Freddie, who was also far from stardom at that time. But even then, the Queen star, Freddie had a larger than life personality and out of the box dressing sense. That is what caught Mary’s attention in the initial stage.
Soon they found themselves, living together in a cramped apartment in London. On many accounts, Mary was seen as reminiscent of the apartment and the life they had shared because they were far from wealth and stardom in their youth. She fondly remembers in many interviews, listening to music together, taking long walks and finding ways to spend meaningful time with each other in spite of having no other means for planning dates etc.
Soon after they had moved in, the band Queen had started to leave its mark on the minds of many. Overcoming the tough competition amongst new artists in London, Queen was able to make space for themselves. Even after this tiny slice of success that they had in their lives they led a simple life and continued to be the same couple. It was when Queen released their first album that their lives changed completely, for the better. Soon the band started making enough money for them to be able to lead a much more comfortable life and move to a better apartment.
This was also when Freddie dedicated a song to Mary, called “The Love of My Life”. Shortly after that Freddie proposed marriage to Mary in the same larger than life manner. He presented her with a jade ring unexpectedly and caught her unawares. She was soon introduced to his mother as well, who was instantly delighted to meet Mary.
Cracks in the bond
All these stepping stones had passed in their relationship but they were never to live together or be legally married to each other. As life progressed, they grew more and more distant. It is conjectured that it was mostly because of the sexual orientation of Freddie Mercury that he became aware of much later in his life. After he came out as bisexual to Mary their relationship came to a halt and the wedding was called off as well.
After that, he was rumoured to have been with Tim Hutton, an actor he met at a gay bar called heaven. In an interview with Times, Tim Hutton was seen recounting their relationship after Freddie was diagnosed with AIDS. He said, “Freddie loved his cats. He was a much simpler man than his stage persona that was larger than life and magnanimous”. He also added that they would lounge on the couch for hours, talking to each other and asking each other about our days. Freddie never came out; they lived together for a long time and had a fruitful relationship with each other.
Leaving it all behind
Apart from Tim Hutton too, Freddie Mercury took many lovers but one thing that never took a beating was his fondness for Mary Austin. He still spoke of her with the greatest respect and admiration in interviews, many years after they had broken up. In an interview in 1985, Freddie admitted “The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that’s enough for me.” He once even said, “All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible,”.
These feelings were fully reciprocated by Mary as she loved Freddie the same way. In Freddie’s final year, the only person that took care of him, apart from Tim Hutton, was Mary. When Mercury refused to take pills and fight for his life in 1991, Mary and Tim were still beside him with all their love and support. Freddie Mercury passed away in November of 1991, with Mary Austin and Tim Hutton by his side as they recounted old memories.
An unconventional forever-after
After his death, Mary inherited a huge chunk of all of Freddie’s income and his house in London where she still resides. She even kept his ashes and spread them as per Freddie’s wishes. No one knew where they were. Although fans have their theories about it, no one to this date actually knows where the ashes are. The fans still visit the Garden Lodge to pay their respect to the legend that Freddie Mercury was.
Through ups and downs, a break-up, having separate lives and lovers, what these two people retained was their love for each other. Their relationship, in whichever shape or form that is beyond the labels we put people in, stood the tests of time. After the demise of Freddie, Austin came on-air and said “I lost somebody who I thought was my eternal love.” This is proof of the beautiful and wholesome connection Freddie had for “the love of his life”.