The movie Bohemian Rhapsody revealed what Freddie was like away from the cameras. It showed a complex man, wrestling with his need to create, his sexuality and desire to be loved for who he truly was. It showed he could be as much a performer off stage as he was on it. But that did not mean he did not care deeply for the people around him. There is a particularly beautiful example of how willing he was to even look foolish just to please a small child. It reveals just how big his heart really was.
Although Freddie never had any children, he was devoted to the families of his closest friends.
The Queen legend was godfather to the son of Queen producer Reinhold Mack and the eldest son of ex-girlfriend Mary Austin, Richard.
Reinhold Mack was the producer on numerous Queen projects including the 1982 album Hot Space, which was recorded while his wife was pregnant. The album dragged on so long Mack made a bet with Freddie to be the baby’s godfather if it was born before the production was finished.
Freddie held up his end of the bargain and remain devoted to John Frederick Mack, also known as ‘Little Freddie’, and his two brothers, most notably at one of their birthday parties.
Mack revealed Mercury asked his son Julian what he wanted for his birthday: “Julian said to him, ‘All I want is for you to show up to my party in the costume from the ‘It’s a Hard Life’ video.’
Fans will remember it is one of Freddie’s most OTT outfits, a bright salmon pink bodysuit covered in giant eyes with huge feathers for a tail and massive wig.
Only Freddie could pull it off, but it was definitely something best kept in a video or concert. Even a natural exhibitionist might have doubts about wearing it at someone’s house, surrounded by adults and kids in normal clothes.
Did Freddie grant the child’s wishes? Mack says; “He did! Well, he didn’t come to the door in the costume. I heard him changing in my bedroom [muttering], ‘I can do this on stage. I can do this at this party…’”
It was just one of many precious moments Freddie shared with the family. Mack said; “He would swim in the pool and play table tennis with the kids. He was really good at table tennis. Many times they went shopping with him.”
Mack recalled movie nights with Freddie curled up on the couch (Amadeus was one of his favourites) with hot cocoa and added: “The nicest thing was when he said, ‘Oh, this is actually like a real family.’”
Apparently Freddie even liked to check up on the boy’s progress at school, calling for reports or to ask if they were eating properly.
The star’s generosity extended to Mack himself who revealed Freddie gave him a Salvador Dali picture Mack had admired hanging in his home.