The first week of the year marks both the birthday (January 4) and the day of death (January 1, 2010) of the man who loved and later lived with Freddie Mercury for the last six years of his life. Hutton was born in Carlow, Ireland in 1949, and was working as an apprentice hairdresser at The Savoy when they met in March 1985 at Heaven nightclub. He flatly rejected the Queen legend at the time, but changed his mind when they met again 18 months later. He eventually moved in with the singer and posed as Freddie’s ‘gardener’ whenever the star’s parents came to visit his Kensington mansion. They called each other husband and exchanged rings, and Jim always maintained that he was promised One Garden Lodge in London’s prestigious Logan Place, not Mary Austin.
Fans have always been divided on whether Freddie really loved Mary or Jim. He certainly wrote the song “Love of My Life” for Mary and called her his “common law wife” years after they split in 1976. Three months after the Queen legend died in November 1991, Jim was “evicted”. from his partner mansion, One Garden Lodge in Kensington.
What exactly did Freddie leave him in the will and promise him more, as he claimed? The Express spoke to the star’s longtime friend and PA Peter Freestone to find out the truth.
Peter, Jim, and Joe Fanelli, Freddie’s ex-boyfriend and chef, lived together at Garden Lodge. During Freddie’s final months, the three looked after him around the clock, along with Mary and Queen legend’s friend Dave Clarke.
Freddie loved to make big, sweeping comments about everything in his life, but when he was serious, he always kept his promises.
The star declared his devotion to Mary, years after they split, saying: “If I go first, I’ll leave everything to her. No one else gets a dime except my cats.”
But this was before she settled into domestic life with Jim. Could she have changed her mind?
Peter Freestone was also asked to leave Garden Lodge along with Jim and says he has no doubt in his mind what Freddie’s intentions were all along.
Asked if he believed Freddie had ever formally promised Garden Lodge to Jim, Peter told Express Online: “No. I doubt that ever happened.
“It’s something that Freddie could have said at one point, but he was always very particular about writing everything he really wanted to happen, especially in his will. Anything verbal means nothing.
“I think it’s significant that, in the end, he gave Mary the house and half of all his future earnings from Queen. That’s how he felt about her…”
Peter also talked about Mary’s decision to ask everyone to leave the house they had shared with Freddie for years.
Peter said: “Before Freddie died, he verbally wished that Jim, Joe and I could stay at Garden Lodge until we were ready to face the ‘outside world’. He knew that none of us would want to stay forever, and even then thinking of others before him.
“It was a very nice idea, but not a very practical one. As everyone knows, in his will he left the Garden Lodge and all its contents to Mary Austin. This did not include three grown men. So that Freddie’s written will could be probated.” . It was necessary that we were no longer in the house and they gave us all three months to make our arrangements.
“We weren’t evicted onto the streets as Freddie had made sure we all had somewhere to go.”
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