Freddie loved to talk, loved to draw an audience and hold court. He delighted in being outrageous and indiscrete. At first glance he appeared to be willing to talk about anything, until you realised he actually gave away very little directly. But between the lines, among all the teasing and cheeky throwaway lines, you can actually find glimpses of his true feelings. Whihe he spoke often and passioantely about Mary and even wrote a song for her, the ‘Love of My Life’, he only spoke a couple of times about Jim.
It wa salways easay to dismoss Jim as just the “gardener”. It’s true, that’s how he was paid. But Mary also received a wage, as did ex-boyfriend and live-in chef Joe Fanelli and Freddie’s PA, Peter Freestone. But they were all more family than employees.
In fact, the Irishman worked as a hairdresser long after he had settled down with the Queen frontman.
Freddie himself may have referred to Jim as “the gardener” in jest to friends or as a misdirection to his family, with whom was never directly open about his sexuality. Homosexuality was becoming accepted in the 1980s but still rarely admitted by public figures.
The array of photos and home videos are a testament to the depth of their relationship. Some (below, courtesy of FreddieMercuryClub) even show Jim and Mary sat next to each other at one dinner party.
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In only one interview did Freddie speak directly about Jim, although he still did not name him.
This was as much for Jim’s privacy as Freddie’s. Brian May referred to their relationship in an interview a week after Freddie had died but also chose to protect Jim’s anonymity.
They were never officially photographed together in public, although there is one candid shot of them backstage at Live Aid.
In the interview, Freddie said; “I’m very happy with my relationship at the moment and I honestly couldn’t ask for better.
Of course, Freddie couldn’t resist being a little playful and comparing himself to two of the greatest divas of modern times.
He said; “Piaf did it. So did Streisand. Now I have a hairdresser husband, dear! I’ve finally found that niche I was looking for all my life and no f***er in this universe is going to upset it.”
After many years struggling with his sexuaity and then hedonistically chasing ever greater thrills, he finally found happiness in frequent bubble baths or curled up on his sofa watching Countdown.
There is no need to debate whether Freddie loved Mary or Jim more.