It was an unconventional love and yet a great love. It defied fame and fortune and everything that goes with it. It defied sexuality and social convention. It lasted from the moment they met until Freddie’s last breath. He called her his “common-law wife” and in an incredibly frank and moving interview, she agreed: “We’d had a marriage. We’d lived our vows.” Mary also talks about her heartbreaking realisation after Freddie’s death that she had relied on him just as much as he had needed her.
In January 2000, Mary gave a rare interview talking about her memories of those difficult last days and recalling the comfort Freddie took from waking to see her sitting by his bedside.
Mary said: “During those times I did really feel such love for him. They were the moments I remembered every time I looked at his bed. I would sit every day next to the bed for six hours, whether he was awake or not. He would suddenly wake up and smile and say, ‘Oh, it’s you, old faithful.'”
Although she moved into his house after he died, Mary said she didn’t touch or change anything in his bedroom for five years: “I’d spent so long with him being unwell and there were so many memories in that room. Memories of him suffering. I just saw this very frail man laying in his bed and remembered all the little things that I used to do for him. Combing his hair, because he’d lie back and all his hair would be sticking up.”
She is typically depicted as the rock who stood by his side through thick and thin, but Mary said even she didn’t realise how much it went both ways until she had lost him.
She said; “I always had Freddie to turn to and he always had me to turn to if need be. Suddenly, there wasn’t anyone to help me. It made me realise that I wasn’t as self-sufficient as I would have liked to have been. As much as I’d been a friend to him, I realised how much a friend he’d been to me – the fact of just knowing that he was there.
“He was always very protective of me. I only realised after he died, quite how protective he’d been. If something happened he’d say, ‘Oh darling, don’t worry we’ll get over that.’ He was uplifting.
“At other times, when he was aware he had AIDS and only had a limited time to live, there’d be the odd serious conversation when he’d say to me, ‘Let’s go and sit, we don’t know how long we have.'”
“I lost somebody who I thought was my eternal love. When he died I felt we’d had a marriage. We’d lived our vows. We’d done it for better for worse, for richer for poorer. In sickness and in health. You could never have let go of Freddie unless he died. Even then it was difficult.
“I’d rather it happened the other way round. I should have gone first – I’d rather he miss me than I miss him.”
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY IS OUT NOW