Cynthia Lennon, first wife of Beatles sensation John Lennon, passed away at her home Wednesday following a short battle with cancer. Lennon was 75 and was surrounded by family, including her son Julian, while on her death bed in Spain.
Her early life was very secluded. She grew up in a middle-class section of Hoylake, England, which was known as a “posh” area to those of Liverpool. She was inclined to art at a young age and she joined the Junior Art School at the age of 12. She first met John at Liverpool College of Art in 1957. The two were complete opposites, but soon grew very close. At the age of 22, before the Beatles hit super fandom, Cynthia became pregnant with Julian. In light of this news, John and Cynthia were married in a small ceremony, before the birth of their child. The Beatles manager Brian Epstein was the best man and Paul McCartney and George Harrison were in attendance at the Liverpool register office wedding in Mount Pleasant. Missing from the event was the women that raised John, his Aunt Mimi, who disapproved of the relationship.
The marriage was very secret, so much so that the Beatles had a show to perform after the ceremony. Cynthia spent her early marriage hidden in the shadows raising Julian, while her husband was becoming a superstar. Many fans did not know about Cynthia and that was how management wanted to keep it, so their success would not be depleted.
In 1968, after Cynthia discovered her husband’s affair with Japanese artist Yoko Ono, after coming home from a trip and finding the two together in their family marital home, they separated. Cynthia made sure that John knew she was on her way home and she walked in to find them in matching bath robes. Yoko Ono discovered she was pregnant and Cynthia filed divorce proceedings. Cynthia and Julian received £100,000 from the divorce. John did create the song, “Hey Jude,” for Julian that was about what divorce could do to him. The song’s lyrics were changed from, “Hey Julian,” to, “Hey Jude,” because it flowed better. Cynthia Lennon will always be known as the first wife of the Beatles.
After her marriage was over with John, Cynthia remarried several times and wrote many memoirs of the time she spent with him. In an interview in 2005 for a memoir entitled John, Cynthia told Good Morning America, “I have read so many books… seen so many films, and it’s like we don’t really exist. We are like walk-on parts in his life. We did spend 10 years together.”
Although Cynthia Lennon changed her name to distance herself from his distant past, she come to realize that she will always be seen as the first wife of the Beatles. She was a young women at the time of her marriage and she stuck with it while raising her son. Cynthia did change her last name back to Lennon, as she knew it would always be a part of who she was.
By Kaylynn Charbonneau
Picture by poppy – Creativecommons Flickr License