Freddie Mercury first met Mary Austin through his Queen bandmate Brian May. The Bohemian Rhapsody singer was 24 at the time and she was 19. In a 2000 documentary, Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story, guitarist May opened up on his own relationship with Austin and how she ended up falling in love with Mercury.
May met Austin, who was working at a clothes retailer in Kensington, at a gig, recalling: “I was pretty shy but somehow I plucked up the courage to ask her out.”
The Queen star said the pair of them went out a few times but that she was “wary of anyone”.
“So, we would generally go out for a drink and say goodnight, sort of quick peck on the cheek and that was it really,” he explained. “It never really got beyond that.”
Soon, however, Mercury began to reveal his own affections for Austin.
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Freddie Mercury: Queen star started dating Mary Austin after she went out with Brian May
Freddie Mercury: Queen icon fell in love with Mary Austin and they dated for six years
“There came a point where Freddie started to talk to me about her and it became obvious that Freddie wanted to go out with her,” May said.
“I said, ‘Well look, we’re not really going out as such. We’re just good friends, so I’ll introduce you to her.”
And so Austin and Mercury began to see more of each other, though things got off to rather a slow start.
In the documentary, she revealed how the Queen singer was only “occasionally” brave enough to come and see on his own.
Freddie Mercury: Queen icon remained close friends with Mary Austin after they split
“Most times he would come with Roger [Taylor] or with somebody,” she smiled. “And he would smile and say ‘Hello’ in passing, which became quite often.
“This went on for about five or six months and finally he asked me if I wanted to go out on a date.”
“It was a very emotional attachment immediately for the both of them, I know,” May remembered, before Austin added: “Five months later we were living together and we continued that for six years, I think.”
Their romantic relationship lasted six years until Mercury came out.
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Reflecting on his friend’s romances over the years, May said: “He had relationships with girls but, looking back on it, I don’t think his heart was ever really in it. With Mary, it was.”
“They were a good match. I could see that,” he added.
Around four years after they started dating, Austin started to notice a change in the Queen icon, saying she knew he “wasn’t at one with himself”.
“I could see that he was feeling bad about something, wasn’t feeling comfortable, avoiding situations, which wasn’t Freddie. These things weren’t the person that I first met,” she said.
Recalling the moment Mercury came out to her, she added: “It was a relief, really, to actually hear it from him, to have surmised what was the problem probably for the last two years of the six years we were together, to know that I had more or less guessed right.
“I don’t think that he ever thought that I would be supportive,” she said. “But I was because it was part of himself,” she explained. “It was nice to see Freddie. It was more than nice, it was wonderful.
“You couldn’t deny Freddie the right to be at one with himself.”
After they broke up, Mercury and Austin remained incredibly close friends.
She stayed living nearby, within sight of his lavish West Kensington mansion, and was one of the close circle of friends who cared for him during the last weeks of his life.