John Lennon’s first wife has died at the age of 75. Cynthia Lennon had been suffering from cancer for a short time and passed away in Spain on April 1, 2015. According to her son, Julian, he was by her side when she slipped away. Between 1962 and 68, Cynthia was married to The Beatles’ frontman. The couple divorced in bitter circumstances.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Was With John During the Height of His Fame
She was married to John Lennon during the height of the Beatlemania, from 1962-68. Famously, during the band’s performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, when John’s face was shown a caption read, “Sorry girls, He’s married,” referring to Cynthia. The Guardian wrote on the day of her death that “at the height of the Beatles’ early success, she was kept so far in the background that many of Lennon’s female fans were not even aware of her existence.” She later remarried three times after John Lennon left her for Yoko Ono, but retained the Beatles’ name. Her maiden name was Powell. In 1970, she began seeing Italian businessman Roberto Bassanini and the two were married the same year. That marriage lasted until 1973. In 1976, she wed John Twist, that too ended in divorce in 1983. She then spent 17 years in a relationship with Jim Christie but the couple were never married. She was wed for the final time in 2002 to Noel Charles. That marriage last until his death in 2013. The couple lived together on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where Cynthia also died.
2. A Letter Detailing Her Marriage to John Recently Sold at Auction for $10,000
A letter from the Lennon’s former housekeeper Dorothy Jarlett fetched $10,000 at auction on March 24. The Times of London reported that it details John’s abusive behavior towards the couple’s son as well as his constant cheating on Cynthia. It was written in 1968, just as John was about to leave the family. Jarlett wrote that she discovered John and Yoko in bed together prior to him leaving Cynthia.
3. Her Father Died of Cancer
Cynthia and John met each other at the Liverpool College of Art. Like him, she was a native of Liverpool, but her family had moved out of the city during World War II due to the German air raids. She returned to the city to attend college 1957, despite her family being short of money following her father’s death from lung cancer.
4. Her Son, Julian, Was By Her Side When She Died
She is the mother of Julian Lennon. On his website, a section for his mother first announced her dead, a brief message reads, “Cynthia Lennon passed away today at her home in Mallorca, Spain following a short but brave battle with cancer.
Her son Julian Lennon was at her bedside throughout. The family are thankful for your prayers. Please respect their privacy at this difficult time.”
5. She Wrote 2 Books About Her Time With John
Cynthia wrote two books about her time being married to John. Her first, in 1978, was a light-hearted take on her life with the band, called A Twist of Lennon. John Lennon tried to block the publication of that book. Then in 2005, she published a more intimate memoir that she simply called John. She told ABC News at the time of the release of her second book that “I have read so many books and 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.”