Freddie Mercury’s first girlfriend describes the moment she realised he was gay

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

The first girlfriend of Freddie Mercury has revealed the awkward moment when she suddenly realised the singer was gay.

Rose Pearson, an artist who now goes by the name Rose Rose, opened up about the icon in a new documentary titled “A Life in 10 Pictures”.

She recalled a date to the V&A museum in London that took a surprising turn when the star’s interest in male nudes clearly went “beyond art appreciation”.

“We had been to the V&A and seen Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs of men wrestling in the nude,” she said.

“I could see he was enamoured in a way that went beyond art appreciation. Then we went to see Ken Russell’s Women in Love and he was dumbfounded by the wrestling scene. He wanted to stay in the cinema and see the whole thing again.

“My blood ran cold, not because it was a bad film but because of the implications. That was the tipping point.”

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Pearson met Mercury while studying at Ealing Art College, before Queen formed and when he was still named Farrokh Bulsara.

She described their relationship as both “physical and emotional”, admitting that she did feel “maternal” towards him.

But after seeing his reaction to the nude wrestling she knew she couldn’t keep living a lie and decided to end it with the soon-to-be star.

“I knew we weren’t the right people for each other and he desperately wanted a relationship with a man by then. I couldn’t stand by and watch that,” she told the Radio Times.

“I’d been away in Russia for two weeks and realised, when I came back, that I had to get a grip of myself and take matters into my own hands.”

Freddie Mercury was devastated by the breakup as “he didn’t see it coming at all,” Rose said.

But she believes he had already started moving on, suggesting that he was “getting ready for something without knowing what the something was”.

He didn’t know it yet, but he would go on to change the world.

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