Freddie Mercury was one of the greatest musicians in the world in the 70s and 80s, but one person could still direct him: Mary Austin, his only girlfriend.
"He would throw a tube of toothpaste that was half used in the garbage container and she would go to the container and get it back and roll up the toothpaste again … [say], Finish the tube. "You can not waste that, Freddie," recalled writer Lesley-Ann Jones, who toured with the band in the 1980s and wrote "Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography."
"I'd say:" But I'm the richest man in the world! " [Austin] I would say, I do not care. You do not throw the money away. "She was pretty bossy, he would not take that from anyone else."
Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, was famous for hits such as "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." But many fans never knew that he had a long-term girlfriend, let alone one. He referred to as his wife. Especially since the singer, who died of complications related to HIV in 1991, was posthumously revealed that he had a group of male lovers.
When the trailer for "Bohemian Rhapsody," a movie about the life of Mercury that hits theaters on Friday, November 2, began to circulate, critics attacked the film for "washing directly" Mercury by prominently presenting its relationship with Austin
Bryan Fuller, the creator of television shows that include "Hannibal" and "American Gods" tweeted: "Someone more slightly annoying … Does the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' trailer feature gay / bi superstar Freddie Mercury flirting and wandering around with a woman but no hint of his love for men?
However, Austin was more than just an adventure or a beard for Mercury.
"All my lovers asked me why they could not replace Mary, but it's just impossible," Mercury said in an interview in 1985. "The only friend I have is Mary, and I do not want anyone else." For me, she was my common law wife, for me, it was a marriage, we believe in each other, that's enough for me. "
After his death, Mercury bequeathed to Austin most of his $ 100 million fortune, as well as Garden Lodge, a 28-room mansion in the London Kensington area, despite the fact that the two no longer lived together and Mercury by then had a long-term boyfriend, Jim Hutton.
Freddie idolized her, really. I was dedicated to her, "said Jones of Austin, now 67.
The two ended their relationship in 1976 after Mercury, who closed herself publicly, confessed that she was bisexual.
"I remember saying," No, Freddie, I do not think you're bisexual, I think you're gay, "Austin told the Daily Mail in a rare interview in 2013.
But the two never really parted. After splitting up, Mercury bought Austin an apartment and put it on the payroll.
"She took care of him, took care of him," Jones added. "It was Mary who he always came back to: his" old faithful, "as he called her, and he even wrote that phrase on the card that accompanied his crown at his funeral.
Mercury and Austin met in 1969 after Brian May, who would become Queen's lead guitarist when the band was formed next year, introduced them.
Like Mercury, she grew up in the working class. Her parents were deaf, and her father worked as a trimmer for a wallpaper company and her mother as a domestic worker.
When he met Mercury, Austin was 19 years old and worked at Biba, a fashion boutique in West London. Mercury, who was then 24 years old, had just finished art college and was launching his musical career (Queen was formed in 1970). The two fell in love and soon they moved together.
To some connoisseurs of Mercury, the pairing never made sense, and not necessarily because Austin was a woman.
"She was the opposite of Freddie," Jones said. "She never said much."
Mercury was a bigger personality than life who loved extravagance. But Austin appealed to his side of someone secret.
"Mick Rock, the photographer, used to go have tea with them and said that everything would be terribly sweet. The tablecloth would come out [along with] "Porcelain cups and small tea cups and small plates of cookies, and everyone would sit there with their little fingers raised, drinking the tea properly," Jones said.
"They were [like] this old couple, "he continued," and they would spend a lot of time in bed, but [Mercury] I would pull the piano to the headboard to write songs. "
Mercury proposed to Austin with a jade ring in 1973. But for the next year, she had assumed that the singer, by then an international star, was cheating on her with men.
Jones says he was surprised Austin did not cut ties with Mercury immediately.
"I always thought, how strange is that?" Said the writer. "Go have a life. Do not get stuck on this person's hip. . . He will not be able to offer you a conventional relationship.
"After they separated, he even suggested to Freddie that they have a child together," Jones added. "Freddie said he would prefer to have another cat."
Austin finally had two children, Jamie and Richard, with the painter Piers Cameron. He later married and divorced businessman Nick Holford.
Once he was single, Mercury, born in Farrokh Bulsara, remained locked up for fear of isolating his conservative parents. Bomi and Jer Bulsara, both of Parsi descent, practiced the Zoroastrian religion, which considers homosexuality as a cult of the devil.
"At a stage on the way, he and his entourage would stay in a hotel and the rest of the band and the crew and his entourage would stay in another hotel and all this was to facilitate the covert nightlife of Freddie," Jones said. .
More publicly, he dated Austrian actress Barbara Valentin in the 1980s and the two shared an apartment in Munich, Germany.
Still, Austin stayed close. "She became a right hand," Jones said. "[Mercury] I bought many antiques and went to many art galleries and auctions.
She would follow him to these places with a notebook and he would make an offer for one thing or another, and his job was to write it down and keep track of everything.
"Her whole existence depended on Freddie, she had a home because of him, he bought it, she had an income because of him," Jones added.
According to musician Peter Straker, who was one of Mercury's closest friends, "it's one of those things that I think is inexplicable, when people know each other very well and are very good friends and were lovers before." She was always there for him and him for her.
Among Mercury's last wishes was the request that Austin disperse his ashes and never reveal the location. He also left a large part of his $ 100 million estate, plus the London mansion.
"He said he wanted this house to stay alive and that meant it had to be with kids," said director Rudi Dolezal, who worked with Queen on nearly 30 music videos and produced the 2000 documentary "Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story."
"At the time there was no way that two gay men could adopt children in London," Dolezal said, pointing to Austin's two children. "Freddie told me that's why he gave Mary the house."
However, Austin has said that the money and responsibility were overwhelming.
"I found myself thinking:" Oh Freddie, you've left me too much and too much to deal with too. "I felt I could not live up to it," he told the Daily Mail.
Part of her, according to her, was driven by Mercury's experts, including her bandmates, who felt excluded.
"I hit my jealousy head on, like a Japanese bullet train, very painful," Austin said. "I do not think the remaining members of Queen have reconciled with that."
But it also seems that Austin alienated herself. According to Jones, despite the fact that Mercury's will stipulated that members of her household, including her boyfriend Hutton, could remain in the Garden Lodge until her inheritances took effect, Austin immediately expelled them.
As for Queen fans, at first, Austin used to greet mourners who came to the house on the anniversary of Mercury's death.
"He would get up and light a candle or read a prayer and greet the fans," said Jones, who was among the visitors. "But then that stopped." She stuck a thick plastic around the wall. [around the property] . . . so that people can not put their taxes. "
According to Jones, Austin now lives in a smaller house around the corner from Garden Lodge. She is reportedly a recluse, although Straker said she had dinner at a London restaurant with her last year.
"I lost my family, really, when Freddie died," Austin told the Daily Mail. "It was everything to me, apart from my children. He did not look like anyone he had met before.
And although Austin undoubtedly relied on his unconventional relationship with Mercury to survive, it was a configuration of mutual benefit.
According to Jones, Austin represented the alternate reality of Mercury: "If he could have set aside all the other things that attracted him, all the other temptations, he married her and settled down, had children.
"She was that prominent symbol of how her life could have been and he was sad about that."