Freddie Mercury was a very controversial icon in his time. Being eccentric and artistic and of course, being in the spotlight led people to view even his personal life under a microscope. From his sexuality to his lavish parties, and most intriguingly, his love life. Almost all throughout his life in the public eye, rumors have surrounded the delicate topic of his private life. People were always curious who were Freddie’s homosexual partners, but forget that the true love of his life, the one whom the intimate heartfelt ballad “Love of My Life” was written for, was a woman named Mary Austin.
Freddie Mercury’s relationship with Mary Austin is a very unique, very unusual, and unorthodox one. It was endurable as it was emotional. She was always his inspiration. But who is Mary Austin, and how did their unique romance and lasting friendship form and endured so many trials?
Freddie and Mary met in 1969 in London when Mary was just 19 years old and Freddie was only a 24-year old aspiring singer. Mary was an employee at an English boutique called Biba, where Freddie would shop for the eccentric clothes that not only fit his flamboyant personality but would aid him in creating an image and solidifying his magnificent stage presence.
“He was like no one I had ever met before,” Mary said. “He was very confident, and I have never been confident. We grew together. I liked him – and it went on from there.”
They had a budding romance, they were in a relationship and even lived together, At one point, they were even engaged. However, by the mid-1970s, Freddie had begun an affair with a male American record executive at Elektra Records, and in December 1976, Freddie came out to Mary about his real sexuality. This led to the eventual end of their romantic relationship but their friendship remained and even grew stronger. Freddie even bought Austin her own flat nearby his. Mercury often referred to Austin as his only true friend, saying, in 1985:
“All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary [Austin], but it’s simply impossible. 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.”
Although they did not end up getting married and being together, Mary was still a huge part of Freddie’s life even til the end. Mary later married and had two children, and Mercury lived together in his partner Jim Hutton. Freddie was the godfather to Mary’s kids. During his final days, Mary took care of Freddie until the end. When the singer died in 1991, he entrusted a huge percentage of his estate and his London mansion, Garden Lodge, to Mary rather than his partner Jim Hutton. “If things had been different,” saying in his will, “you would have been my wife, and this would have been yours anyway.”
Freddie explains why Mary is extra special to him saying,
“I couldn’t fall in love with a man the way I could with a girl. Love is the hardest thing to achieve and the one thing in this business that can let you down the most. I have built up an immense bond with Mary. She has gone through just about everything and always been there for me.