Mary Asutin was Freddie Mercury's girlfriend in the 1970s, subject of the song 'Love of My Live' and Freddie's longtime friend and companion until his death.
Mary Austin was born in 1951 in Fulham, West London. she was 19 when she first met Freddie. Until then, her life had been deprived. Her parents were poor. Her father worked as a hand-trimmer for wallpaper specialists and her mother was a domestic for a small company. Both parents were deaf and communicated through sign language and lip-reading.
At 15 she left the school and began to work as a secretary.
1970s Freddie's girlfriend
It was while working as a customer PR at the trendy Biba store in London, where her customers included Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, that she met Freddie and Roger Taylor, who ran a stall in nearby Kensington Market selling old clothes and Freddie's artwork. Mary still has one of his excellent drawings of Jimi Hendrix.
Although Freddie was quite intimidating, Mary found herself fascinated by his "wild-looking artistic musician." She says: "He was like no one I had ever met before. He was very confident and I have never been confident. We grew together. I liked him - and it went on from there."
But when Freddie first asked her for a date on his 24th birthday, Mary pretended she was busy on that particular night.
"I was trying to be cool," she recalls with a smile, "not because there was any real reason I couldn't go. But Freddie wasn't put off. We went out the next day instead. He wanted to go and see Mott The Hoople at the Marquee Club in Soho. Freddie didn't have much money then and so we just did normal things like any other young couple. There were no fancy dinners - they came later when he hit the big time. It took about three years for me to really fall in love. But I had never felt that way about anyone."
She first shared a £10-a-week bedsit with Freddie in Victoria Road, Kensington. After two years together they moved to a larger, self-contained flat in Hollad Road, which cost them £19 a week. By then Queen had signed a record deal and had their first big hit, "Seven Seas of Rhye". It was at a showcase held at Ealing Sollege of Art, Freddie's old art school, that Mary first recognised his star quality.
Mary remembers the first time she took Freddie, with his thick mane of long, black hair, home to meet her father in their terraced Fulham home. "I hadn't warned my father how extraordinary looking Freddie was and so I think my father handled the situation very well. Sadly, my mother never met Freddie as she had died four years earlier. My father opened the door and just stayed very calm and treated Freddie very warmly. there were a few glances and comments from the neighbours. Afterwards I realised bringing home this musician must have been quite a shock for him."
It was after they had moved to their second flat in Holland Road that MMary first started to think something was going wrong with their six-year relationship.
Everything changed one day when Freddie told her he had something important to say, something that would change their whole relationship forever. Mary explains, "Being a bit naive, it had taken me a while to realise the truth. Afterwards he felt good about having finally told me he was bisexual." Mary decided to move out, but Freddie insisted she shouldn't move too far from him. After a six-year relationship, Freddie and Maru split up in 1980.
1980s and beyond
Mary and Freddie kept their friendship through all his life, even he was the godfather of her oldest son, and long before he told any of his close friends or the fellow members of Queen that he had AIDS, Freddie confided his secret to Mary. From that moment she was there each day to try to comfort him as he gradually became more ill. Realising he was starting to lose his sight and with his body becoming so weak that finally he couldn't ever get out of bed, Freddie decided to face up to dying by refusing to take his medication. Mary had been his bedrock and a particular comfort in his final years, leading up to his death in 1991.
At the same time she was preparing for the birth of a second bay, Jamie and she was spending time with her partner Piers Cameron and looking after her eldest son Richard.
Mary, whose life is no longer such a struggle, today shares her magnificent house with Nick, the London businessman she married two years ago. Without telling anyone, they wed on Lond Island with just Mary's two sons, Richard and Jamie, by their side.
Photos 1-6: June 1974, Freddie and Mary at Mick Rock’s studio, by Mick Rock.
Photos 7-10: Mary with Freddie and Mick Rock touring with Queen, 1974, by Mick Rock.
Photos 11-12: Mary and Freddie backstage at Rainbow Theatre, 1974, y Mick Rock.
From the book ‘Classic Queen’ (2007), scans from our deleted page www.family-queen.webs.com