It may seem extraordinary, but the unapologetically flamboyant star never shared his sexuality with his family. Even though he clearly lived for many years in his West London mansion with a succession of boyfriends. As Bohemian Rhapsody hinted, Freddie kept his family a little apart from his real life. In a frank and emotional interview in 2006, Jer spoke about her son, his legacy and his life – even the parts he kept from her. She also shared how selflessly devoted and caring he remained, even as he was dying.
The interview took place at Jer’s modest home outside Nottingham, with Freddie’s brother-in-law Roger Cook, sitting by Jer’s side for support.
The living area was decorated with photographs of Freddie on the walls next to paintings he had done of wild horses and his posthumous Hall of Fame statuette.
Although Freddie and the music of Queen have never been absent from popular culture, this was long before the heady revival generated by last year’s mammoth blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody.
Jer rarely spoke to the media but said she wanted her son “to be remembered and celebrated.”
Jer said it was clear early on that Freddie “always wanted to be a showman”.
Although she and husband Bomi did not understand his increasingly outrageous fashions or painting his fingernails black, they assumed it was part of his new musical career/
Jer said; “It’s what a performer has to do to please the audience. As a parent, you worry but you have to let your child get on with their life.”
Even son, after all those years, why did he never discuss his most private life or relationships.
Similarly, Freddie remained concerned to protect his mother until the very end.
He did not tell his family about his AIDS diagnosis, Roger Cook said, but they figured it out: “We gradually became aware he had an illness but we had no idea what it was or how serious it was. Then in August 1990 Kash and I saw a mark on his foot. It was Kaposi’s sarcoma (a dark tumour that was visible on the surface of the skin and was a clear indicator at the time of AIDS).
“Kash asked what it was, whether it was getting better. Freddie said: ‘You have to understand that what I have is terminal. I’m going to die.’”
In his final days, Freddie had one last chat with his mum and remained most concerned about how she was coping.
Jer described the emotional scene at his West Kensington home.
“(It was) very emotional, very hard. He asked, ‘Are you all right? Did any of the media worry you?’
“We said: ‘Don’t worry about us, dear’.
“He was so ill and still he was being so caring.”