The real story of Queen legend Freddie Mercury and his Irish lover

Freddie Mercury and Jim Hutton

The Irish lover of Queen superstar Freddie Mercury is portrayed in the hit movie Bohemian Rhapsody by Co Armagh actor Aaron McCusker.

While the movie has been a huge success, it has received some criticism for using a little artistic license when retelling some of the key stories from Mercury’s life.

One inaccuracy was that the movie portrayed Jim Hutton as a servant of Mercury before the two got together.

In fact, Co Carlow native Hutton was actually a hairdresser who met the star in a gay nightclub called Heaven.

They met in 1985, a year after Queen had rejuvenated their career with hits such as Radio Ga Ga, I Want to Break Free, It’s a Hard Life and Hammer to Fall.

Mercury approached Hutton at the bar and asked him if would like a drink – and whether he had a big penis!

The couple got together, and their relationship lasted for seven years, when Mercury tragically died of AIDs aged just 45, after being diagnosed with HIV four years earlier.

Their relationship was often turbulent, and Hutton once said: “I saw him with another guy in Heaven [on another occasion] and we had a huge row.

“He told me he did it to make me jealous. Then one day I saw him leaving his Kensington flat with another guy and we had an argument. I told him he had to make his mind up. And he said, ‘OK’, he wanted to be with me. Deep down I think that he wanted to be secure with someone who was down to earth and not impressed by who he was.”

Hutton was working at the Savoy hotel when they met and soon after moved into Mercury’s Georgian mansion and worked as a handyman and gardener for £600 a week.

He was backstage watching as Mercury put in the performance of a lifetime at Live Aid.

Hutton said: “I was gobsmacked. You could feel the effect his stage presence had on the crowd. Afterwards, Elton John came out and said, ‘Bastard, you’ve stolen it’.”

In 1986, rumours started circulating in the British press that Mercury had contracted HIV. Mercury would deny the rumours when asked about the subject in interviews.

However, shortly after Easter the following year, he was diagnosed with AIDs.

Hutton said: “His attitude was ‘life goes on’ He took AZT and nearly every other drug available. The doctors came to the house to treat him.”

Mercury threw himself further into his work and continued to write iconic songs that have stood the test of time.

Hutton said: “The doctors thought he shouldn’t do the Barcelona video. But his attitude was ‘I’m not going to let this thing beat me’. I noticed how skeletal he’d become only on the morning of his last birthday. Maybe I was in denial.

But I think Freddie knew when it was the time to let go. He decided to come off his medication three weeks before he died.

“The last proper conversation we had took place a few days before he died. It was 6am. He wanted to look at his paintings. ‘How am I going to get downstairs?’ he asked. ‘I’ll carry you,’ I said. But he made his own way, holding on to the banister. I kept in front to make sure he didn’t fall. I brought a chair to the door, sat him in it, and flicked on the spotlights, which lit each picture. He said, ‘Oh they’re wonderful’. I carried him upstairs to bed. He said, ‘I never realised you were as strong as you are’.

“He was dosed on morphine and in Neverland. He wet himself. I knew that if he woke up and saw that there’d be blue murder so we changed his underwear and while I was putting his boxers on I knew he’d gone. I went into my bedroom and stopped a carriage clock Freddie had given to me: the time was 12 minutes to 7.”

Hutton had also been tested for HIV in 1990 but didn’t tell mercury he had also contracted the virus until the following year.

Hutton went onto live a quiet life in Ireland until he passed away aged 61 after a short illness.

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling

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