You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon’s First Wife, Dies at 75

Cynthia Lennon, first wife of the BeatlesJohn Lennon, has died in Mallorca, Spain, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 75.

Her son Julian Lennon – himself a musician – announced his mother’s death on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Cynthia, who met her husband-to-be in 1959 at Liverpool College of Art, wed Lennon in 1962 after learning she was pregnant with their son.

She was married to Lennon at the height of the Beatles’ international fame – prompting a famous subtitle, “Sorry Girls He’s Married,” during a close-up when the band appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964.

She weathered Lennon’s casual touring infidelities and escalating drug use, but push came to shove in 1968 after she discovered letters from artist Yoko Ono. She sued for divorce. The couple was divorced that November.

She published a sometimes caustic memoir, “A Twist of Lennon,” in 1978.

Born Cynthia Powell in Blackpool, England, she was 20 when she met her future husband, then a semi-pro musician and aspiring artist, in a college lettering class. Though rough-edged Teddy boy Lennon later described her as “dead snobby,” they soon became a couple.

By the time the Beatles began their first club residency in Hamburg in 1960, Powell was renting a room from Lennon’s aunt and guardian Mimi Smith. She visited Lennon in Germany during the band’s second stay in 1961.

After her pregnancy was discovered, Lennon and Powell were swiftly married in secret (at the insistence of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein) in August 1962 — the month before Lennon’s rising band recorded the hit “Love Me Do” for EMI.

Their son Julian was born in Liverpool in April 1963 while Lennon was on tour. The birth was successfully kept secret until late that year, by which time the Beatles were the biggest act in England; the couple’s cover was blown after news of Julian’s christening leaked out in the press.

Cynthia accompanied John on the early 1964 tour that broke the Beatles in the U.S., infuriating Epstein in the process. Possibly taken aback by the madness of incipient American Beatlemania, she chose to remain home – at the house known as Kenwood, in Weybridge, Surrey – during future road treks.

Initially, Lennon was a loving and generous husband, and his wife appeared with him socially in London during the apex of the Beatles’ international fame. Unlike Lennon, she was not a drug enthusiast, and did not join him on the dozens of LSD trips he took from 1965 on.

On the eve of the Lennons’ 1968 trip to India for a group retreat at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation ashram, Cynthia unearthed Ono’s letters to Lennon. A drunk and tearful Lennon confessed his infidelities to his wife during the flight back to England.

She would later discover Lennon and Ono together at their home upon her return from a trip to Greece. Upon learning that Ono was pregnant with Lennon’s child (which she miscarried), Cynthia initiated divorce proceedings. After Lennon’s and Ono’s divorces were finalized — and Cynthia received a meager settlement — they wed in Gibraltar in March 1969.

Cynthia waited nearly a decade to write “A Twist of Lennon.” The book’s candor shocked some Beatles fans; Lennon, then retired and serving as a self-described “house husband” with Ono, briefly attempted to squelch its publication. Lennon was murdered in New York in December 1980.

She subsequently penned a second book, “John,” in 2005.

She remarried and divorced three times, and also had a 17-year relationship with a Liverpool chauffeur.

Her lone attempt to enter the music business — a 1995 version of “Those Were the Days,” originated by Mary Hopkin, an artist on the Beatles’ Apple label — was not successful.

More Music

  • Lil Pump Harverd Dropout cover

    Album Review: Lil Pump's 'Harverd Dropout'

    On the cover of “Harverd Dropout,” the sophomore album from Miami rapper Lil Pump, the young MC is tossing homework papers in the air and looking rakish with his graduation cap askew, while wearing a robe emblazoned with the misspelled university name from his new full-length’s title. If this is meant to signal some sort [...]

  • Imagine Dragons - Dan ReynoldsImagine Dragons

    Imagine Dragons Topples Nickelback as World's Worst Band, Says Slipknot Frontman

    Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor has chosen Nickelback’s successor as the most reviled band on earth: Imagine Dragons. During an interview on Tuesday, February 19, conducted by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones for his  radio show, “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” on Los Angeles’ KLOS, Jones made a comment about Nickelback being the “scapegoat of rock [...]

  • Behind the Hit: How Diplo Found

    Hitmaker of the Month: How Diplo Found Dance-Pop Perfection With 'Electricity'

    The third time was a charm for super-producer duo Silk City, the first collaboration between longtime friends Diplo (A.K.A. Thomas Wesley Pentz, Jr.) and Mark Ronson, who between them have worked with everyone from M.I.A. and Madonna and Beyonce (Diplo) to Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars (Ronson). After releasing the pair of [...]

  • Jussie Smollett court

    Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Say He Was Victim of Police 'Spectacle'

    Jussie Smollett’s legal team issued a defiant statement on Thursday night, saying the “Empire” actor feels betrayed by the justice system and hinting at a political motive for his prosecution. Smollett was arrested early Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. He was released after a court hearing on $100,000 bond, [...]

  • Best Score Nominee Alexandre Desplat Is

    Best Score Nominee Alexandre Desplat to Skip Oscar Ceremony

    Best score nominee Alexandre Desplat will be unable to attend Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies because of recent throat surgery, a rep for the composer confirms. The French native, already a two-time Oscar winner (for 2014’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” and 2017’s “The Shape of Water”), is nominated this year for his Japanese-flavored score for Wes Anderson’s “Isle [...]

  • Credit: Photo by Adela Loconte/REX/Shutterstock (9788964b)Gary

    Gary Clark Jr. Finds the Right Words, as Well as Solos, on New Album

    From the scorched earth rock and anti-racist (and anti-Trump-ian) howl of its title tune to the pounding country-blues of “The Governor,” with its cynical take on social justice issues, Gary Clark Jr.’s third studio effort, “This Land,” does what none of the 35-year-old singer-guitarist’s albums have in the past: it puts his mouth where his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content