Freddie’s devotion and deep love for his cats is already well known. The millionaire singer and songwriter also had a passionate life-long obsession with fine art and antiques. His Kensington home was a showcase for his expensive tastes. But he also loved something much less rock star when he was safely curled up at home. Peter Freestone was his PA for the last 12 years of his life and gave Express Online an extraordinary insight into the “real” Freddie that few ever saw.
Peter says there were many layers to Freddie which he revealed, depending on the situation.
The star always made sure he showed his fans what they expected: “He would go outside the gate at Garden Lodge, knowing the fans would be there. He would always strike a pose for the pictures, knowing they would run straight to get them developed and how much it meant to them.
“He had such respect for the fans because he knew everything he had came from them.”
But Peter stresses that, even then, Freddie never had a big ego: “He knew not to take himself too seriously. He left the grand person on stage. He was so down to earth.”
And even more so at home.
There was a very different Freddie at home with his partner Jim Hutton and Peter, who also lived there.
Peter says: “Freddie at home alone with us would be sitting in a mismatched tracksuit on the sofa watching Countdown.
“He loved that show more than any other. It was all about words. He loved words all his life. His whole career was built around those beautiful words he crafted and created in his songs.”
This was the golden original era of the Channel 4 show, with original host Richard Whitely and Carol Vorderman, but Freddie was not so keen on Carol’s part.
Peter adds: “He hated numbers, he wasn’t a fan of that part. He always said, ‘Darling other people can worry about them.’”
Safe in his sanctuary at Garden Lodge, Freddie showed those lucky enough to be there something he rarely revealed to te outside world.
Peter says: “In public when he laughed he would cover his teeth with his lips or bring up his hand. But at home, he relaxed.
“He let us see the real him. And he loved to laugh. He could find humous in the silliest things.
“If someone says the name Freddie Mercury to me, I still think if him at home with his friends laughing. I can still see him. I can still hear him, that big wonderful laugh.
Freddie was also fiercely, unstintingly loyal to his friends.
Peter says: “He was never cruel, even when he was gossiping or bitching. He was so protective about his friends. If he heard someone say something about his friends he would jump on them saying, ‘How dare you repeat third-hand gossip? You weren’t there.’
“Someone was talking about his former manager John Reid in the mid-80’s and Freddie just leapt on them. They weren’t in constant contact or best friends but Freddie wouldn’t have it.”
Peter was in town to promote the new box set Never Boring, which collects all of Freddie’s solo works, as well as rare and unseen photos, sketches, notes and thoughts.
NEVER BORING THE FREDDIE MERCURY BOX SET IS OUT NOW