Also known as Rose Rose, she was Freddie Mercury's girlfriend from 1969-70 when both studied at Ealing Technical College and School of Art. A red haired woman, she says: 'I think of my life as starting after Freddie,'. It was a conscious decision to edit him out of her life - a decision stemming from her inability to reconciler her love for him with his fascination with men.
When they first met, what Rose loved about the Zanzibar-born, Mumbai-educated Freddie was the fact that he was 'a terrific clown, a great laugh and very caring. I did find him attractive.' She remembers, even now, that the young Freddie spent most of his time rehearsing with his then rock band, Smile. He would burst into song in the street, wear theatrical clothes, and practise everywhere. 'I just thought he was obsessed with what he wanted to do.It was theatre, a visual expression.' Slowly, Rose realised his homosexuality would drive them apart. It did. 'Eventually I went round to Freddie's flat one Saturday afternoon and told him it was over. He sobbed like a little child. I left and never saw him again.' In the years that followed, she married, had three daughters, changed her name, married again, had a son, and now lives in Sheffield with her partner of eight years, practicing Ayurvedic medicine.
What prompted Rose to break her long silence was a film by Derek Jarman called Blue, in which Mercury faced up to his impending death from AIDS. He died in November 1991. It made her think not just of his death, but also about her feelings towards gay men. They were feelings compounded by her discovery, years later, of her second husband being gay. Rose looks back at 1970 as a time when she was passionately in love with Freddie Bulsara. 'I have been in denial of this for over 30 years,' she says. 'It was so painful to know that this love could never be reciprocated because of his interest in the gay male.' She thinks he loved her too, but in a manner that was too ambiguous. 'He was true to me, he didn't look at any other women. But we couldn't carry on.'