Home Celebrity The Most Controversial Facts About Freddie Mercury’s Life

The Most Controversial Facts About Freddie Mercury’s Life

Monica April 27, 2023

Most everyone knows Freddie Mercury’s famous band, Queen. Some of the greatest hits that came from the incredible band, include Bohemian Rhapsody, Fat Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and We Will Rock You. People around the globe dance and sing to Queen to this very day. In that regard, they’re not any less famous than they were 30 years ago. The most famous of the bunch was obviously singer Freddie Mercury.

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody showcases Freddy’s life as we follow the star through turmoil as he fought with his family and his sexuality. But there’s much more depth to Freddie than the movie portrayed. Freddie passed away in 1991, and it almost seems as though he earned more stardom after his death than during his actual life. Mercury once said, “It would be so boring to be 70. I’ve lived a full life and if I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn.” He certainly did live a full life, though it’s full of controversy and mystery to this very day. Check out the most controversial facts of Mercury’s life right here.


He Was Born Farrokh Bulsara

Perhaps you didn’t know that Mercury was born in Zanzibar and was named Farrokh Bulsara at birth. His parents, Parasees from Insia, were named Bomi and Jer Bulsara. In 1946, the couple moved to Zanzibar following an order from the British Colonial Office. Because Freddie disliked his name and found it difficult to pronounce, he decided to rename himself. The star chose a name that would cross the lips of millions of people around the world. In June 1970, Freddie declared his new name during his first show (via Radiox).

Daily Express

No One Knows Where His Ashes Are

Only Mary, his first love, knows where his ashes are buried. Freddie purposefully kept this a secret, and Mary stayed true to her word. She kept his ashes for two years before she was able to find an ideal moment to leave her home and scatter his ashes in an unknown location. She said, “It was very hard to find the moment. One morning I just sneaked out of the house with the urn. I said I was going for a facial.” There are many theories as to where he’s buried, including that they were sent to Zanzibar or scattered on Lake Geneva in Switzerland (via Mirror).

El Mundo

Freddy Had A Mystery Nanny

Little is known about the singer’s nanny as a young boy. But Freddy’s nanny, Sabine, might have been the first person in the world to hear Freddy babbling those words that would ripple across the world. Very little is known about her, other than the fact she took care of Freddy at a very young age. His family had the funds to hire a nanny. This photograph was taken “70 years ago in Zanzibar, the island that now belongs to Tanzania and that in 1947 was still a sultanate or protectorate of the British Empire. Farrokh/Freddy was born there, the son of Bomi and Jer, of Parsi origin and coming from Bombay.” Overall, this was a mysterious moment captured in time (via El Mundo).

Far Out Magazine

Mercury Supposedly Idolized David Bowie

Music legend David Bowie was once going to give a concert but did not have the necessary equipment for the show. That’s where Freddie came in. He helped him with the performance. Then later on, Mercury and Bowie collaborated on the famous song “Under Pressure.” Both artists, thanks to their strong, unique personalities, clashed heads during the recording. Both dreamt of being famous pop stars but were worlds away from achieving their dreams (via Far Out Magazine).


His Sexuality Remains A Mystery

Mercury’s sexual orientation was always a hot topic of controversy. We’re not sure why people believe their opinion of his sexuality matters, but it happens. He’s always been perceived as gay although there’s a chance he’s more bisexual. He’s had a multitude of women in his life, and while he was living in Munch, he lived with Barbara Valentin. In 1969, he nearly married Mary Austin. Even though they never tied the knot, the two remained friends until the very end. The Sun branded the singer a “bisexual rock star.” Only Freddie really knew the truth (via BBC).

The Guardian

Postage Stamp Collection

From the age of nine years old to 12 years old, Mercury collected postage stamps from the United Kingdom and his home country of Zanzibar. In 1993, the Postal Museum in London acquired his stamp collection where it’s now on display next to the collection of John Lennon. Georgina Tomlinson, the curator of the Postal Museum, said, “The album is a surprising insight into the early life of a man who is remembered across the world for his incredible musical prowess and theatrical stage presence. (via The Guardian).

Rock Celebrities

The Other Side Of Freddie

Even though we all want to look at Freddie as being a kindhearted person, he did have an aggressive side to him. He didn’t care who you were, if you made fun of him, he made sure you didn’t get away with it. Francis Rossi, leader of the band Status Quo, made a joke about Mercury’s sexual orientation during the Live Aid concert in 1985. The hard feelings didn’t last, and in 1985, during Queen’s ‘Magic Tour’, Rossi’s band shared the stage with Mercury (via Rock Celebrities).

Genetic Literacy Project

His Amazing Voice Remains A Mystery

After Mercury died, scientists wanted to study his voice and the range of octaves that are nearly impossible for a human being to have. He also had a unique, peculiar tone of voice that aided in his fame. All they came up with is that he was a baritone capable of tenor, and a powerful vibrato that superseded those of numerous opera singers. He was able to use a body part that’s typically not accessed, which is the “false” vocal cords. Even though he had a rare prevalence of extra teeth, they did not help with his incredible singing (via Genetic Literacy Project).

The Times

Pens Always On Hand

Freddie Mercury’s brain was always working. Inspiration could strike him at any moment, so there was no knowing when he needed a pen or paper to write down a new lyric. Considering he was the main composer of Queen’s songs, he was the one always working to create, though he was open to receiving recommendations from the band. His assistants carried pens and notebooks at all times. People called him an experimental genius because of his ability to write a song and create a new tune of the music with no clear goal in mind (via Medium).

The Mirror

An Artist At Heart

Freddie Mercury wasn’t only a singer, dancer, and songwriter, but he was also a painter. His home was a museum within itself, full of an abundance of paintings from famous artists like Picasso. He would purchase art at auctions and especially loved Japanese antiques. Some of his songs were inspired by famous paintings. At the age of 17, he enrolled in art school where he spent the majority of his time painting Jimi Hendrix portraits (via Mirror).

Bored Panda

His Favorite Animal Was Supposedly A Cat

Freddie loved stamps, music, art, and apparently, cats. Throughout his life, he always had many cats. Supposedly, his love for felines began in the 1970s when Mary Austin bought them two cute cats named Tom and Herry. Peter Freestone, who would care for his cats when Freddie was on tour, said “He’d get to a hotel, we’d dial through, and he really would talk to his adorable cats. Mary would hold Tom and Jerry in turn up to the receiver to listen to Freddie talking. This continued throughout the years with succeeding feline occupants of his houses.” Freddie truly had a soft spot for his cats (via Bored Panda).


His Vague Past

During interviews, Freddie was always reluctant to talk about his past and childhood growing up in Zanzibar. It was clear he had little affection for his birthplace, and even though people pressed him to confess about his youth, he never gave any concrete facts. He wanted to keep his past separate from his current artistic career. In private, Mercury was incredibly shy, a stark contrast to his outlandish character on stage. No one is sure if this is because of his strict religious upbringing. According to Roger Taylor, Queen’s bandmate, “He was shy, gentle, and kind. He wasn’t the person he put over on stage.” The star was notorious for his parties and lavish lifestyle (via Leth Bridge News Now).


The Mysterious Phoenix

Freddie Mercury designed the band’s logo. He wanted to unite one image of the zodiac sign for each of the members. According to Smooth Radio, “The logo combines the zodiac signs of all four members: two lions for Leo (John Deacon and Roger Taylor), a crab for Cancer (Brian May), and two fairies for Virgo (Freddie Mercury).” However, there’s one sign that doesn’t belong to the zodiac: the phoenix. The theory has it that Freddie added this to symbolize being reborn, neverending life, and passion, as a phoenix can rise from the ashes (via Smooth Radio).


He Had A Rare Set Of Teeth

Only a small portion of the entire population has an extra tooth, let alone two extra teeth. Freddie Mercury had four extra teeth, which is why he had huge, protruding teeth out of his mouth. They were called mesiodens, or supernumerary teeth. At first, Freddie disliked his look and often covered his mouth with his hand to try and hide his mouth. His overjet became a part of his look and something that aided his way to fame (via Toothology Dental).

Irish Mirror

The Heartwarming Gift

Freddie Mercury loved calling his close friends by feminine nicknames. Elton John was a close friend of Freddie Mercury, who called him Sharon. After Freddie’s death, Elton John received a heartwarming gift in the mail. He said, “Freddie had passed on November 24, 1991, and weeks after the funeral, I was still grieving. On Christmas Day, I learned that Freddie had left me one final testament to his selflessness. I was moping about when a friend showed up at my door and handed me something wrapped in a pillowcase.” It was a pillow that belonged to Freddie, with the note, ‘Dear Sharon, I thought you might like to have it. Love, Melina. Merry Christmas.’ (via Irish Mirror).


Legendary Birthday Parties

Freddie Mercury liked to go all out during celebrations, especially his infamous 39th birthday party. At the party, he requested everyone to wear black and white. He was the only one who wore color, so he shone against the crowd. According to Dangerous Minds, “Mercury flew 700 of his pals to the island off the coast of Spain” to help him celebrate his 41st birthday. The “party to end all parties” was such a hit that it gained legendary status.” The hotel still has a party every year celebrating Mercury’s birthday. When Queen released their fourth album “Jazz,” the waiters walked around named and handed out illicit substances to those attending the party. Freddie didn’t seem to mind his controversial way of partying and was known for his use of illicit substances (via Cheat Sheet).

Freddie Mercury Museum

There’s A Museum Dedicated To Him

Despite his controversial way of living, the love for Freddie Mercury has lived on even after his death. In November 2019, the first museum in the world dedicated to a star opened in Zanzibar. It’s called The Freddie Mercury Museum and portrays the early years of the singer. According to the museum, “It showcases a detailed accord of Zanzibar starting from the late 1800s, the birthplace of Farrokh Bulsara, his roots with the Zoroastrian Religion, his childhood, and upbringing in Zanzibar, followed by his schooling in Panchgani, India, and then his extraordinary journey to becoming one of the greatest stars of all time.” If you’re a Freddie Mercury lover, then you’ll need to head to this museum (via Freddie Mercury Museum).

The Guardian

Queen Tried To Hide Freddie Mercury’s Sexuality

It was only after Freddie’s death that the world found out about Freddie’s sexuality. But Freddie’s songs had been telling us the truth the entire time, and it was his band members that were trying to censor his sexuality. “Don’t Stop Me Now” is, quite clearly, a song about Freddie’s promiscuity and sexuality. Better yet, the simple name of the song is likely aimed at his bandmates, though Freddie might be the only one in the world who knows that (via The Guardian).


Freddie’s Odd Microphone Use

One of the most notable features of Freddie’s performance on stage is to see him walking around with a stand microphone with the base detached. This allowed him to walk around the stage more easily and perform to his highest potential. Legend has it that Freddie broke the base of a microphone during a performance in college when he struggled to get the microphone free. Since then, he’s kept his microphone exactly as is. For anyone less confident than Freddie, breaking the microphone wouldn’t have gone over well. But for Freddie, he used it as a trademark (via History By Day).

La Tercera

An Unlikely Collaboration

Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury collaborated on two songs throughout his career, “State of Shock” and “There Must Be More To Life.” Considering the two were infamous stars of their time and got along, it’s surprising that there weren’t any more collaborations. There’s no saying what irritated the two or what went on behind closed doors regarding their friendship which may have influenced why they didn’t work together more often. The two bonded over their love for music, but during interviews, neither spoke about their friendship (via Smooth Radio).


A Rare Religion

Freddie’s parents have Parsi origin, and he and his entire family followed Zoroastrianism. The central figure is Zoroaster, a prophet. It’s one of the oldest monotheistic religions n the world and has had influences on Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It focuses on the dualistic nature of good and evil, where there’s an ultimate conquest of evil by good. Nowadays, the practitioners of religion are virtually non-existent, but they’re still out there. Freddie deeply respected his parents and their practices and was fiercely protective of them (via PBS).

The Mirror

Inspiration In Atypical Places

Every artist goes through a period where they doubt their talent. This stems from a lack of confidence and self-worth. But Freddie didn’t suffer from this lack of confidence and used his odd, eccentric personality to his advantage. Whenever Freddie had a piano in front of him, he used it to his advantage. He had a piano next to his bed, and rumor has it, he composed “Crazy Little Thing Called Loved” in the bathroom, with a piano over the bathtub. Even though he wasn’t a superb pianist, he still used his skills to captivate his audience (via The Mirror).

Ultimate Classic Rock

Nose, Teeth, And Hair

When you put too many talented people together, it backlashes. It might come as a surprise, but if you have all the famous singers of all time in one band, they likely wouldn’t come out with what we’re expecting. One night in the 1980s, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, and Rod Stewart almost created a rock band together. They wanted to call their band “Nose, Teeth, and Hair.” When they realized they couldn’t sing with each other, they passed on the idea (via Yahoo).

The Guardian

Fans In The ’80s Didn’t Like Freddie’s Look

The 1970s and 1980s were a different world. People looked down on homosexuality and cross-dressing, and there was nowhere near as much acceptance for it as there is today. In 1984, Queen dressed in drag for their video “I Want to Break Free,” which sunk their career. Following the release of “The Game,” fans threw razors on stage to try and tell Freddie to shave off his mustache to look less gay. Freddie stood his ground and didn’t care, and as John Deacon put it in a Rolling Stone interview in 1981, “Some of us hate it. But that’s him and you can’t stop him.” There was no stopping Freddie, and his ability to stay true to himself is admirable (via The Guardian).

Gold Radio UK

Queen vs. The Sex Pistols

Freddie dealt with a lot of backlash from other rock bands because of the way he dressed. The most notable, heated rivalry began in a recording studio, between Freddie and Sid Vicious. During the recording, Vicious said, clearly inebriated, “Have you managed to bring ballet to the masses yet?” Freddie wore ballet slippers, but Vicious was also alluding to his effeminate mannerisms. After the comment, Freddie walked over and said, ‘Aren’t you Stanley Ferocious or something?'” and then grabbed him by the shoulders and dragged him out of the studio (via Gold Radio UK).

Smooth Radio

Finding True Love

Even through all of Freddie’s controversial behavior, he still found true love in the end. Before Jim, Freddie’s first love was Mary Austin. The two almost got married. She was the one woman Freddie truly loved, and Freddie often referred to her as his soulmate. Freddie once said he would love her “Until I draw my last breath. We’ll probably grow old together”. But his last partner was Jim Hutton, and when Freddie confessed he had HIV, he also said he’d understand if he wanted to quit. Hutton said, “I love you, Freddie, I’m not going anywhere.” Eventually, Hutton also contracted HIV and died of lung cancer in 2010. The two wore wedding rings while they dated one another, even if gay marriage seemed impossible. After Freddie died, Jim published a memoir about his time with Freddie, titled Mercury and Me (via Smooth Radio).


Freddie Left His House To Mary, Not Jim

After Freddie’s death, Mary and Jim’s relationship turned sour, and quickly. Freddie left his house to Mary, and when he died, she kicked Jim out of the house. She also didn’t give him access to his ashes, since he left his ashes for Mary. Freddie was able to love both Mary and Jim equally throughout his life. But no one knows what happened or why their relationship went downhill (via History By Day).

Daily Express

Princess Diana’s Infiltration

Legend has it that Princess Diana infiltrated a gay bar in 1988 wearing only a leather jacket and hat, to watch the famous series, ‘The Golden Girls,’ with Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett. Even though there’s no saying that this happened, the anecdote is quite believable. Comedian Cleo Rocos spoke about it, saying, “When we walked in… we felt she was Princess Diana and would be discovered at any minute. But people just seemed to blank her. She sort of disappeared. But she loved it” (via Smooth Radio).


No One Believed In Bohemian Rhapsody

When Freddie first came up with Bohemian Rhapsody, no one knew it would be one of the greatest hits of all time. Before going out to dinner, Freddie played the opening ballad piece for Producer Roy Thomas Baker. He said: “He played the beginning on the piano, then stopped and said, ‘And this is where the opera section comes in!’ Then we went out to eat dinner.” It seems extremely nonchalant for a piece that would break news titles and be one of the most-played songs in history (via History By Day).

Entertainment Weekly

No One Knows What Bohemian Rhapsody Is About

As much as we’d love to know what this famous song is all about, Freddie never succumbed to telling the truth about the meaning behind the song. Mercury said, “It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their minds as to what it says to them… “Bohemian Rhapsody” didn’t just come out of thin air. I did a bit of research although it was tongue-in-cheek and mock opera. Why not?” And now, we’ll never know. It’s up to us to make our theories (via History By Day).


Mercury Lived A Full Life

As controversial as Freddie’s life was, he lived a full life in his 45 years on Earth. He did whatever he wanted to, dressed as he wanted even when the world disagreed, and made music that inspired and touched the hearts of millions around the world. As Freddie once said, “I’m not going to be an Eva Perón. I don’t want to go down in history worried about, ‘My god, I hope they realize that, after I’m dead, I’ve created something or I was something.’ I’ve been having fun.” That’s a life motto we can all strive to live by (via The Guardian).