The first week of the year marks both the birthday (January 4) and the day he died (January 1, 2010) of the man who loved and then lived with Freddie Mercury for the final 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 turned the Queen legend down at the time but changed his mind when they bumped into each other again 18 months later. He eventually moved in with the singer and masqueraded 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 over whether Freddie truly 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 actually split up in 1976. Three months after the Queen legend died in November 1991, Jim was “evicted” from his partner’s mansion, One Garden Lodge in Kensington.
What exactly did Freddie leave him in the will and was he promised more, as he claimed? The Express spoke to the star’s long-term friend and PA Peter Freestone to get the truth.
Peter, Jim and Joe Fanelli, Freddie’s ex-boyfriend and chef, all lived together at Garden Lodge. During Freddie’s final months, the three cared for him around the clock, along with Mary and the Queen’s legend’s friend Dave Clarke.
Freddie loved to make grand and sweeping flippant comments about everything in his life but when he was serious he always carried out his promises.
The star famously declared his devotion to Mary, years after they split up, saying: “If I go first, I’m going to leave everything to her. Nobody else gets a penny, except my cats.”
But this was before he settled into domestic life with Jim. Could he have changed his mind?
Peter Freestone was also asked to leave Garden Lodge along with Jim and says he has absolutely no doubt in his mind what Freddie’s intentions were all along.
Asked whether he believed Freddie had ever formally promised Garden Lodge to Jim, Peter told Express Online: “No. I doubt that would ever have happened.
“It is something Freddie might have said in a moment but he was always very particular to write down anything he really wanted to happen, especially in his will. Anything verbal doesn’t mean anything.
“I do think it is significant that, in the end, he gave Mary the house and half of all his future earnings from Queen. That is what he felt for her…”
Peter also spoke about Mary’s decision to ask everyone to leave te home they had shared with Freddie for years.
Peter said: “Before Freddie died he expressed verbally his wish that Jim, Joe and I could stay in Garden Lodge until we were ready to face the ‘outside world’. He knew none of us would want to stay forever, and was even then thinking about others before him.
“It was a very kind thought, but not very practical. As you all know in his will he left Garden Lodge and all its contents to Mary Austin. This did not include three adult males. So that Freddie’s written will could go through probate it was necessary that we were no longer in the house and we were all given three months to make our arrangements.
“We were not evicted onto the streets, as Freddie had made sure we all had somewhere to go.”