Freddie Mercury in private: 20 rarely seen photos of the star behind closed doors
3 September 2021, 17:15 | Updated: 3 September 2021, 17:16
While Freddie Mercury's public stage persona is well known, less is seen of the star's life behind closed doors when he relaxed with friends and family backstage at concerts and at his quiet London home.
Pictures from when Freddie Mercury was a student at Ealing Technical College in 1969 - a year before Queen's formation - through to the early years of the band and on to their world tours and huge arena shows, the images offer a glimpse into the private life of the gregarious star.
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Images include Freddie Mercury relaxing in Prince Hotel, Tokyo when the band were on their Japanese tour there in 1975 - and would go on to tour there another five times - to the Queen frontman leaving the helicopter at the famous Knebworth concert in 1986.
Intimate moments capture Freddie's relationship with girlfriend Mary Austin as they relax together at home in 1977. The pair met in 1969 when Mary was just 19-years-old and Freddie was 24.
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The pair would go on to be together for two years, and even moved in together and became engaged before Freddie revealed his sexuality to Mary.
“He was like no one I had met before,” she told the Daily Mail in 2013. “He was very confident—something I have never been. We grew together.”
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“All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible,” Mercury said in a 1985 interview. “The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else.
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"To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that’s enough for me.”
Freddie and Mary remained close friends - his ex-girlfriend was entrusted with the majority of the star's death when he died - and in 1985 he met partner Jim Hutton whom he would remain in a relationship with until his death on November 24, 1991.
Read more: Who is Mary Austin? Meet the woman Freddie Mercury asked to marry
Speaking of their lives behind closed doors on The Big Breakfast in 1994, Jim recalled how quiet and reserved Freddie was in private, compared to his flamboyant on-stage persona: “He loved his cats," he said.
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"I’d get in from work. We’d lie together on the sofa. He would massage my feet and ask about my day."
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Footage on the documentary is of one of Freddie most famous solo interviews at Musicland Studios, in Munich, 1984, in which the star discusses death and what would happen to his legacy after he's gone.
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"I don’t really think ‘When I’m dead, are they going to remember me?’ It’s up to them. When I’m dead, who cares? I don’t," he said.
When asked if he thought he was going to heaven, Freddie replied with characteristic wit: "No, I don’t want to. Hell is much better.
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"Look at the interesting people you are going to meet down there."