Freddie Mercury was portrayed by Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, and he even took an Oscar for his turn as the Queen frontman.
However, some were focusing on another character, played by Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech – their manager Paul Prenter.
Paul is certainly depicted in a less than flattering way, with Freddie even saying he was sacked due to his “villainy” at one point in the film.
In the movie, however, there were some changes from the real story, which showed him being fired at Live Aid in a dramatic moment.
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However, the real truth is even more painful, as Freddie was hurt badly to the point that he never spoke to Paul again, and their relationship breakdown was thoroughly difficult for the band.
Paul was Freddie’s manager from 1977 to 1986 and, as the movie suggests, he was criticised for the influence he had over the star.
But things went really wrong in 1982 when Queen released their album Hot Space.
Brian May and Roger Taylor were frustrated by how the album turned out, blaming Paul for having too much of an influence on the sound, and on Freddie.
They were not the only ones upset by the album, as it received poor reviews and Q magazine even suggested it was an example of the band losing its touch.
On the band’s behalf, Paul turned down radio interviews, doubting the influence of radio, though Paul’s real crime, according to the fans, came when he sold a story to a newspaper about the Queen frontman.
In the tell-all interview, Paul claimed Freddie had slept with hundreds of men, even naming two men who had died of AIDS, claiming Freddie was a Former lover of them both.
Of course, this did not go unpunished and Freddie fired Paul as his manager, but his upset was felt keenly.
Freddie Mercury performing
He wrote: “On May 4, Freddie was devastated by another story about him in the Sun. And so was I. His old friend, Paul Prenter had stitched him up.
“Aids Kills Freddie’s Two Lovers, it declared, and the story was run across three pages. Tony Bastin, from Brighton, and John Murphy, an airline steward, had died from the disease in 1986.
“And Prenter claimed that Freddie had called him late one night and poured out his fears about Aids…
Freddie and his partner Jim Hutton
“Freddie never spoke to him again. For the next few days, there was more in the Sun, and at each episode of Prenter’s story, Freddie became angrier.
“Prenter sold the paper several photographs of Freddie with various lovers and these were thrown over two pages under the heading All The Queen’s Men.”
Jim said Freddie felt “unforgivably let down,” and that while Paul tried to excuse his actions, Freddie would not speak to him.
Despite his villainous portrayal in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Jim’s comments about Freddie’s reaction, Brian May said he was not “all bad,” and posted a message in 2019 to his Instagram.
With an image of the band with Paul, he said: “Obscured behind Freddie is Paul Prenter, now known to you all as a character in a film, and something of a bad guy, although, of course, he wasn’t ALL bad!
“Biopic movies are always, necessarily, a montage of simplifications (otherwise the film would be years long and unwatchable!).
“But hopefully distilled in a responsible way to tell a decent story. Swipe for a zoom in. Bri.”
Paul died three months before Freddie from complications in relation to AIDS.