Wednesday 25 April 2018

John Lennon's first wife Cynthia dies aged 75

John Lennon with Cynthia in 1968
John Lennon with Cynthia in 1968

John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, has died at the age of 75.

She was the mother of his son Julian. Their 10-year relationship began before he was famous and endured through the early days of the Beatles, but foundered when he met Yoko Ono.

She was Lennon's first real love and was with him, as Julian Lennon pointed out, for half his adult life .

He resented pop historians relegating his mother to "a puff of smoke in Dad's life" which was, he added, simply not true.

While John Lennon was rapidly becoming one of the wealthiest men in the history of rock, Cynthia was left comparatively little and had to work to support herself and her young son.

Certainly the bell-curve of Cynthia Lennon's career as a Beatle wife peaked early, and even before she was confronted by the bleak reality of her husband's infidelity with Yoko Ono - walking into her own house in 1968 to find them sitting cross-legged on the floor, gazing raptly into each other's eyes - Cynthia knew that her marriage was doomed.

Too often she had found herself at the explosive end of Lennon's fearsomely short fuse; he once shunned her for three days for having her hair restyled without his permission, and he was furious when he found out that, in his absence, she had had their infant son christened at the parish church in the middle-class Merseyside suburb of Hoylake.

As well as the torments personified in Yoko Ono, Cynthia also endured Lennon's serial affairs, the one-night stands with groupies but also the encounters with the singer Joan Baez, the journalist Maureen Cleave and - as Lennon himself claimed, "thousands of women" around the world.

In her post-Lennon life, Cynthia ran her own bistro, worked as a television interviewer, and designed bed linen and paper products, an echo of her early art school training in Liverpool. Her relationship with Yoko Ono always remained strained. The truth about her rock superstar husband, as Cynthia herself wrote in 2005, was that "if I'd known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to, I would have turned round and walked away."

She was born Cynthia Powell at Blackpool, Lancashire, on September 10, 1939, exactly a week after the outbreak of the Second World War.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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