When it came to sex, the late Freddie Mercury was famously unfussy and he once stated that his sex drive was immense and that he slept with men, women, cats, you name it, and that his bed was so monumental he would go to bed with anything.
But back in 1969, there was only one woman for Freddie Mercury and that was the timid, unpretentious Mary Austin that he’d met through his Queen bandmate Brian May while she was working in public relations for the stylish fashion label, Biba.
Freddie Mercury was then 24 years old and running a clothes stall with Queen drummer Roger Taylor. But Freddie was mesmerised by the 19-year-old Mary Austin and finally persuaded her to go on a date.
Love blossomed and they moved into a cramped flat near Kensington market for £10 a week before Freddie Mercury popped the question with a stunning jade ring on Christmas Day, 1973.
And according to those who knew the couple, they lived in a blissful daze of passion and lust, but Freddy worshipped her and was truly devoted to her.
Mick Rock, the photographer, used to go round and have tea with them and he said it would all be terribly charming.
The tablecloth would come out, along with bone china cups and nice little plates of biscuits, and they would sit there with their little fingers kind of extended, drinking tea correctly.
They were like this old married couple, and they would spend a lot of time in bed, but Freddie Mercury developed a habit that wreaked havoc with his sex life, admitting that he would play his keyboard in the sack if inspiration struck, but that didn’t last long because Mary wouldn’t put up with it.
But despite their domestic bliss, Mary felt the sands shifting and their getting married wasn’t mention again and she began to suspect that Freddie was seeing another woman.
The truth was, which she would learn from Freddie himself, was that he was bisexual, and while Mary was supportive, her heart was broken and she told a media outlet that she’ll never forget the moment and recalls saying to him: “No Freddie, I don’t think you’re bisexual. I think you’re gay”.
Freddie Mercury was so distraught, he bought her a £300,000 flat nearby so they could stay close, which they did until his tragic demise from an AID’s related illness in 1991.
Their love affair ended in tears, but a profound bond grew out of it, and that was something nobody could take away from them, revealing that he’d never loved anyone as much as Mary.
He said it was inaccessible and that people always asked him about sex and those things, but right from the early days, he couldn’t fall in love with a man the same way as he did with Mary.
He said that all his lovers had asked him why they couldn’t replace Mary, but he said it was just impossible.
He hired Mary as his assistant and it was she who delivered the crushing news of Freddie’s diagnosis to him before nursing him through his final days.
Freddie frequently described Mary as his common-law wife, explaining in 1985 how he had never needed anyone else.
There was, however, one thing that he reportedly wouldn’t give her and that was a child, and after they split, Mary suggested that they should try for a child together, but Freddie said that he would rather have another cat.
In 2013, Mary said Freddie made the gutsy decision to come out as bisexual and end their physical relationship, which probably saved her life and she said that if he hadn’t been such a decent human being, and hadn’t told her, she wouldn’t be here now because she would have contracted AID’s and died.
Freddie Mercury stayed true to his word to her until he drew his last breath and he left Mary half of his £75 million estate, including a £25 million mansion in Kensington, reasoning that she would have been his wife and he would have been hers anyway, but for Mary, the void left by Freddie’s departure was too great to consider filling.
But she was the woman who was the love and inspiration of one of the great superstars, yet she never tried to use that for her own personal gain or to take advantage of others.
Freddie said that if he died first, that he was going to leave everything to her and that nobody else gets a penny, except his cats, but the most heartbreaking of all is Freddie’s declaration that he would love her until he drew his last breath and that they’d probably grow old together.
In fact, in the end, Freddie left his cherished mansion One Garden Lodge to Mary, along with most of his estate and half of his future earnings from Queen. The other half went to his parents and sister Kashmira, but when dad Bomi and mum Jer died, their share is believed to have reverted to Mary, not Kashmira – the cats, of course, were provided for.