Everything We Know About Freddie Mercury’s Last Relationship

Freddie Mercury's relationship history is complex, but his relationship with Jim Hutton brought him happiness for the last seven years of his life. Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton crossed paths long before entering into a relationship, but once they bonded, the two men remained devoted to each other until Mercury's death in 1991.

The details of Mercury and Hutton's relationship remain somewhat hidden, leaving many to ask who Jim Hutton really was. According to many observers and Hutton himself, the rock legend and the hairdresser had a normal relationship, full of ups and downs like any other.  

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  • When Mercury First Asked Hutton Out, Hutton Said 'No'
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    When Mercury First Asked Hutton Out, Hutton Said 'No'

    When Jim Hutton, an Irish hairdresser, and Freddie Mercury first met, it was anything but love at first sight. Mercury approached Hutton at a gay club in London in 1983, but Hutton didn't know who Mercury was. According to Hutton, who was dating a man named John Anderson at the time, Mercury wasn't his type so he turned the singer down for a drink. Mercury persisted, asking him about the size of his male anatomy. Hutton responded by telling him to "f*ck off."

    Hutton remained in a relationship with John Anderson until the spring of 1984. He saw Mercury out at one point while eating dinner with Anderson, but there was no real contact between Hutton and Mercury. Hutton and Mercury crossed paths again at Heaven, a London night club, where the singer again offered Hutton a drink. He accepted this time, and joined Mercury's group of friends for dancing and drinking into the morning hours. 

  • Mercury And Hutton Used To Rub Each Other's Feet
    Photo: Bloomsbury

    Mercury And Hutton Used To Rub Each Other's Feet

    Hutton recalled some of the quiet moments he and Mercury shared together. Hutton and Mercury would watch television or watch old movies, sitting side by side or laying in opposite directions next to each other while Hutton rubbed Mercury's feet. Hutton continued working as a hairdresser at The Savoy Hotel in London for a time. He remembered how much Mercury "loved his cats," saying, "I’d get in from work. We’d lie together on the sofa. He would massage my feet and ask about my day." 

    After Mercury passed, Hutton explained to a reporter that the couple was content in their private domesticity. According to Hutton, "He might have worried about how coming out would have affected him professionally but he didn't say that. We both thought our relationship, and being gay, was our business."

  • Hutton Claims He Was Thrown Out Of Mercury's Home After The Singer Passed
    Photo: Dave Hogan/Contributor / Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Hutton Claims He Was Thrown Out Of Mercury's Home After The Singer Passed

    According to observers, there was growing tension between Mary Austin, Mercury's common-law wife, and Jim Hutton as Mercury's health faded. At one point, Mary suggested that Mercury remove the wedding ring he wore as a symbol of his union with Hutton. She claimed it would cause discomfort if his hand swelled. Moments like this foreshadowed the rift between Austin and Hutton that fully formed after Mercury's passing.

    In his will, Mercury left Mary Austin half his fortune, as well as his home, Garden Lodge, and all of its contents. His parents and sister received the other half of his wealth. His live-in staff and friends, Jim Fanelli, Peter Freestone, and Jim Hutton, all got £500,000. Hutton claimed he was evicted from Garden Lodge, despite Mercury's wishes that he stay. Fights ensued and many of the couple's friends refused to believe Mercury would have wanted Hutton ousted. Hutton left Garden Lodge in March 1992.

  • Hutton Had To Pretend To Be The Gardener When Mercury Had Visitors
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    Hutton Had To Pretend To Be The Gardener When Mercury Had Visitors

    At times, Hutton's exact place in Mercury's life was difficult to understand. After months of dating, Hutton moved into Mercury's Kensington mansion, Garden Lodge, but was introduced as the gardener. When Hutton first met Mercury's parents, Bomi and Jer, in 1988, it was under this pretense. If anyone asked, Jim slept in his own bedroom and there was no mention of a relationship.

    Hutton was in a precarious position as an employee of Mercury who was also sleeping with him. His circumstances were made more awkward by the fact that he was paid for his work through Mercury's companion, former fiancée, and Queen organization associate, Mary Austin. 

  • Mercury Treated Hutton Like A Husband But He Also Had A Common-Law Wife

    Freddie Mercury was open about the fact that he never loved any of his partners the way he loved Mary Austin, even Jim Hutton. Mercury said, "All my lovers asked me why they couldn't replace Mary, but it's simply impossible... I couldn't fall in love with a man the same way as I did with Mary."

    This didn't stop Mercury from referring to Jim Hutton as his husband. Mercury once told a German reporter, "Piaf did it, so did Streisand. Now I have a hairdresser husband!" The men wore rings to symbolize their love and devotion to one another. 

  • During Mercury's Final Days, Hutton Attended To His Lover And Friend

    As Mercury's health declined in 1991, Hutton and Mercury's other live-in friends, Peter Freestone and Jim Fanelli, would take turns tending to the ailing star. Hutton protected Mercury on one occasion, threatening to beat up a reporter who got too close to Garden Lodge. Hutton also kept his emotions to himself, claiming, "I often used to cry on my own, but I made sure Freddie never saw me upset." He added, "Throughout the day, for him I'd be strong, but his dying face haunts my nights, and I'd always end up crying myself to sleep." 

    On of one of Mercury's last days, Hutton offered to carry Mercury down the stairs so he could look at his elaborate collection of paintings. Mercury made his way down the stairs on his own, with Hutton close by to prevent him from falling. When Mercury glimpsed the works of art, he simply stated, "Oh, they're wonderful."