Cynthia Lennon, the first Beatle wife of John Lennon has died at the age of 75. She died after a brief struggle with cancer in her home country of Spain according to sources close to her son. Lennon was married to John for six years beginning in 1962 soon after she became pregnant with son Julian.
Lennon, born Cynthia Powell, met her soon-to-be famous husband at Liverpool College of Art as she was renting a flat from his aunt. The two quickly became a couple. She visited John during his stays in Germany as the band was just beginning to garner critical praise. When she became pregnant with Julian, the two were married in a secret 1962 ceremony at the arrangement of band manager Brian Epstein. With the band on the rise in popularity, the ruse was designed to prevent damage to the youthful single persona associated with the Beatles. In autobiographical writing, Lennon claimed that she spent her wedding night alone as the Beatles performed in Chester.
Similar to the secretive wedding plans, Julian’s birth in Liverpool in 1963 was kept clandestine while the Beatles were on tour and was not publicly disclosed until later in the year. By this time, the band was enjoying much notoriety in England and abroad. The secret birth was exposed to the press after the baby was christened.
Lennon was reportedly intimidated by the voracious public appetite for all things Beatle. She accompanied John on his first legendary trip to America, which featured their storied Ed Sullivan performance. Band manager Epstein was angered by her accompaniment that resulted in interesting subtitle “Sorry Girls He’s Married” during a close camera shot of the band on the first U.S. televised appearance. This was her first and last tour with the band as she chose to subsequently remain at their home in Surrey after the ill-fated 1964 trip that exploded the Beatles in the United States.
The death of Cynthia Lennon, the first wife to be taken by a member of the Beatles marks the end of a colorful life that had significant influence on the early life of her famous ex-husband. She was reportedly a very stable influence in the life of the aspiring rock star as Cynthia was not known to use hallucinogenic drugs or engage in the party oriented lifestyle. The couple appeared together regularly on the London social scene. Although Mrs. Lennon was initially patient with his road antics and alleged infidelities, upon discovering his affair with Yoko Ono in 1968 she filed for divorce. In spite of the global success of the band, she received a small settlement.
Almost a decade later, Cynthia would publish her first memoir entitled “A Twist of Lennon” which offered a scathing depiction of their relationship and subsequent failed marriage. Although the ex-Beatle initially attempted to prevent its publication, John would sadly be killed outside his apartment in New York City in 1980. Lennon wrote a second book simply titled “John” in 2005 that described the exciting whirlwind life that had defined her Beatle marriage tempered with the difficulty it placed on the couple as well as their son.
She would be married and divorced on three other occasions. Her fourth husband, Noel Charles, passed away in 2013. With her own death, the first Beatle wife Cynthia Lennon is survived by her son Julian.
By Chris Marion
Photo by poppy – Flickr License