Although Freddie embraced his sexuality in later life, he mainly slept with women in his younger years. His first girlfriend at college revealed he was an “ardent lover”. Apparently, when Mary Austin sensed their relationship was ending, she thought he was leaving her for another woman. So, it is no surprise that when he had a brief alleged affair in 1973 it was with an actress, someone who would go on to have her own similarly complicated love-life as she searched for happiness.
The biography Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds: Princess Leia & Unsinkable Tammy in Hell is by film historians Danforth Prince and Darwin Porter.
In it, they recount the fleeting encounters Carrie had in 1973 with two of the world’s greatest rock stars, Freddie and David Bowie.
The claims are based on accounts from contemporaries, including actress Joan Hackett, a friend of Bowie.
Carrie was in London at the time, studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She had already starred on Broadway with her mother that year in the musical Irene.
Apparently, Reynolds took her daughter to a party in London thrown by Mick Jagger, where she met Bowie and Freddie.
Carrie would have been 17 at the time, but already well-travelled and used to being around her mother’s friends and other stars.
The biography states that Carrie knew Freddie was in a relationship with Mary and did not want to come between them.
Freddie had been dating Mary since 1970 and they would officially break up in 1976.
It says: “Carrie said she didn’t want to interfere with his ongoing love affair, but he dismissed her concerns.” Apparently Freddie told her “A bloke like me needs extra”.
Considering Freddie’s usual florid and colourful use of language, this sounds rather blunt but was perhaps paraphrased.
It is completely impossible to know whether the anecdote is true or not. Carrie made no mention of it in any of her memoirs, where she famously and fearlessly recounted her tumultuous on-set affair with Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford.
Hilariously, years later in 1980 during Queen’s the Works Tour, Freddie would often come on stage riding on the shoulders of Darth Vader.
As for Carrie, the book also says she had an affair with Bowie which stopped and started across six weeks.
Bowie was married to Angie Barnett at the time.
Apparently Carrie later said she had woken up naked in bed with the star but had taken so many drugs she did not know whether anything had happened.
The book quotes Carrie saying: “I think we had sex.”