Cynthia Lennon

John and Cynthia LennonWhen Beatlemania broke in 1963 journalists approached Cynthia, though her friends and neighbours tried to protect her. In December she had Julian christened without John Lennon's knowledge, which angered him. Shortly afterwards news of Cynthia and Julian appeared in the national press, putting an end to their anonymity.

They moved first to a flat in Emperor's Gate, London, though attention from fans made life difficult. It became harder when she went with The Beatles on their first trip to America. In New York she was left behind when the band were swept away in a car, and in Miami she was held back by a disbelieving security guard. Lennon's reported response was: "Don't be so bloody slow next time - they could have killed you".

With The Beatles' fame becoming intense, the Lennons relocated to the stockbroker belt in Surrey, buying a mock-Tudor house in Weybridge called Kenwood for £20,000.

In the beginning when we go the flat in London then we were totally unprotected and we had no idea what was going to happen at all. We couldn't get in or get out of the flat and I used to get some terrible funny phone calls and I had a weirdo at the door one day when I was on my own with Julian. So it was decided that the only way to escape that was to get out and into the country.
Cynthia Lennon

John and Cynthia LennonCynthia was given a £50 allowance each week, with which she enjoyed shopping and spending on the family. She became close to Ringo Starr's wife Maureen, and George Harrison's wife Pattie. The Lennons also enjoyed London's nightlife, and attended film premières and special events.

In March 1965 the Lennons and the Harrisons were unwittingly introduced to LSD after their coffee was spiked at a dinner party. Although John found the experience fascinating, Cynthia described it as "horrific". With John's encouragement she reluctantly took it again on two further occasions, though he was a much more enthusiastic advocate of the drug.

Lennon's infatuation with LSD during 1966 and 1967 caused a gradual rift in their relationship. When she was left behind on the station platform in Bangor, Wales, where The Beatles had gone to see the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, she described it as symbolising their marriage: Lennon was heading off into the future while she remained on her own.

The break-up

John Lennon had met Yoko Ono in 1966 at the Indica art gallery in London. Although he initially dismissed her as a "crazy artist", Ono persistently called and visited Kenwood to speak to him.

When Cynthia flew to India to meditate with the Maharishi in February 1968, she felt the gap growing further between her and John. When they returned, he confessed that there had been a stream of other women, including Joan Baez and journalist Maureen Cleave, and thousands of groupies around the world. He claimed that he had been unfaithful from their days together at college. Cynthia was stoic in her response; she had long suspected Lennon's infidelity, but had become adept at ignoring it.

Lennon encouraged Cynthia to holiday in Greece while he was recording the White Album. While she was away he began a physical relationship with Ono. Cynthia returned to find Ono wearing her bathrobe, drinking tea with her husband. Lennon's response upon seeing her was: "Oh, hi".

Cynthia spent the night with Pattie Harrison's sister Jenny Boyd, and Alexis Mardas, a friend of the band known as Magic Alex. Mardas got Cynthia drunk and tried to sleep with her. Later, on a holiday in Italy with her mother, Mardas appeared and informed Cynthia that Lennon was divorcing her on the grounds of adultery.

The mere fact that Magic Alex arrived in Italy in the middle of the night without any prior knowledge of where I was staying made me extremely suspicious. I was being coerced into making it easy for Lennon and Yoko to accuse me of doing something that would make them not look so bad.
Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia returned to Kenwood with Julian, and Lennon and Ono first set up home together in Ringo Starr's flat in London. They had a brief meeting again, where Lennon accused her of an affair in India, saying she was far from an "innocent little flower".

Yoko Ono and Cynthia LennonShe refused to claim half of his fortune, choosing to avoid a lengthy court process. Lennon initially refused to give Cynthia more than £75,000, saying "That's like winning the pools, so what are you moaning about? You're not worth any more." She later accepted £100,000, plus £2,400 in maintenance, custody of Julian and ownership of Kenwood. The divorce was finalised on 8 November 1968.

Earlier that year Paul McCartney had visited Cynthia and Julian at Kenwood, despite Lennon's objections. On the way there he began composing Hey Jude, addressing it to Julian. He gave Cynthia a red rose, and joked: "How about it, Cyn? How about you and me getting married now?" She was touched by his gesture, and never forgot it.

After divorcing Lennon, she remarried three times, and in 1978 published her autobiography, A Twist Of Lennon, which detailed her life with John. She published a new biography of him, titled John, in September 2005.

Cynthia was told about John Lennon's death by Ringo Starr, who phoned her in London from America.

I don't remember getting out of bed and going down the stairs to the phone. But Ringo's words, the sound of his tearful voice crackling over the transatlantic line, is crystal clear: 'Cynthia, I'm so sorry, John's dead.' In my stunned state I had only one clear thought. My son - our son - was at home in bed. I had to get back to Ruthin so that I could tell him about his father's death.
Cynthia Lennon

In later years Cynthia Lennon lived with her husband Noel on the Spanish island Majorca. She died on 1 April 2015, with Julian by her side, following a "short but brave battle" with cancer.

37 responses on “Cynthia Lennon

  1. Cameron McIntosh

    There was something about Cynthia I always liked. She seems (and I am sure she is) like a very sweet person. I was very disappointed when they got divorced. I felt Cynthia got the short end of the stick she deserved more. I would love to meet her someday.

  2. carl anthony sole

    I watched just now the real john lennon story, and i have to say that i was very touched listening to Cynthia and all of John’s family on this program. It’s just sad that he didnt make it back from U.S. to the homeland of good England to be with is family and friends once again. Cynthia is so nice and sweet lady.

  3. Louise Joles

    The fans always loved Cynthia. I often wondered if John ever loved her or just thought he was doing the right thing in marrying her because of the baby. The records show he did not treat her well. Cynthia is a lady of intelligence, beauty and class, but just like Paul and Jane Asher, infidelity tore the union apart.

  4. Barbara

    Hard for any marriage to last between a very famous person and a person from their former life, before they were famous. How could anyone compete with all that adulation, and people throwing themselves at your partner on a daily basis.I remember being really disappointed when John and Cynthia split, even though it was really none of my business. Cynthia was the ‘girl next door’ after all, a bit like me…

  5. Leonard Meyer

    Cynthia comes across as very sweet, endearing, and relatable. That was a very kind of Paul to offer his support to both she and to Julian for whom he composed the immortal Hey Jude. I wonder if Paul continues to have contact with her. I would like to think that he does but have come across no evidence that he does.

    1. Lew Levin

      He did. His early love songs were for Cynthia. There was jealousy in some, such as “You can’t do that”. He wrote about whatever he was experiencing at the time.

  6. David D. Cadena

    It’s really sad that it ended up the way it did between John, Julian and Cynthia.

    Julian seems like he’s finally trying to put it all behind him which I’m sure is not an easy task after so many years of neglect.

    I’m sure you’ll be ok Jules…keep your head up!

    Dave Cadena- Tucson, Arizona- U.S.A.

      1. Fer

        After John and Yoko’s son, Sean, was born, John spent all his time with them and almost entirely forget about Julian. It wasn’t until years later that Julian and John began to reconcile their relationship, but soon after that John was killed.

  7. judith

    Ron Howard will be directing a documentary on the early Beatles…he says he will be interviewing Paul, Ringo, Georges wife and Yoko…….this documentary is on the very early Beatles..Cynthia Lennon would be the one to interview…..NOT Yoko……..enough said

  8. Silvia

    I agree with Judith that guy should definitely interview Cynthia and perhaps, Pattie Boyd since they were the Beatles’ early wives. He should try Jane Asher as well. Yoko? Why?!

  9. Deb

    Yoko wants to be the center of attention and does not want the world to acknowledge that John had another life, another wife, and another son. And she still is that way.

  10. Sarah

    I recently read Cynthia’s 2005 autobiography and was so moved by it. She seems such a lovely beautiful person. So loving and caring to John and the total opposite to Yoko. I find it so sad that they split up and of course that the tragedy of what happened to John prevented them ever becoming close again. I do think John would have come to realise how badly he’d treated Cyn and that they could have been great friends at least.

  11. Hitolo Bua

    When John was alive I always used to play Beatles songs when I was a kid, their songs are very good. I read a book about John and Cynthia who was very beautifully then, if John and Cynthia were married they are here today…

  12. Niky

    I’d like to see a biopic, they really need one, done right. Nowhere Boy was good but it wasn’t quite accurate.
    You can tell John loved Cynthia but was really insecure.

  13. Victoria

    I know John is no saint and i’m not saying he was blameless but I bet Yoko was whispering poison into John’s ear about Cyn cheating on him with just as many blokes as he has been with women. Adding fuel to the fire knowing John’s jealousy issue. Yoko always wants the spotlight. Sorry but it will always be John and Yoko not Yoko and John. She also can’t stand that John had a life before her and she wants to delete it. To her there is no Cyn and Julian. Yoko is and always will be poison.

  14. Maggie Rae

    Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but believe John loved Cynthia deeply. I don’t think he ever stopped loving her; however, he was such a complex person with many unresolved issues until he was just incapable of understanding his own feelings. So sad. But I believe Cynthia knew and understood John completely; she, till this day, knew and knows that John did love her the same way that she loved him.

  15. ForgetScowl

    John was an emotionally bitter & battered boy by the women in his early life upon which begat his years of misogynistic treatment back at toward women. After all that damage, I think it took a lot of LSD and Yoko to turn John Lennon around to the honor & beauty of women to which he found to be true.

  16. Chantelle Adlington

    Some people do say that John never loved Cynthia and that he only married her because she got pregnant. These are both Un true.
    John said himself in 1974 that he did love Cynthia by saying “It was said I never loved Cyn. That’s far from the truth. We were young, big headed and got into physical relationship too soon. Perhaps if we took things slower we would have made it. I know we would have made it”. Yes John did say that so he even admitted that he loved her.
    Secondly about the marriage because of pregnancy thing again this is false because when he was telling Mimi that he was going to marry Cynthia He said “You don’t understand, Mimi. I love Cyn and I WANT to marry her”. Also in 1961 while in Hamburg a whole YEAR before she got pregnant John said to her “perhaps we should get engaged” but Cyn said to wait longer because their relationship was going good.
    I truly believe that John always loved Her even when they weren’t together anymore as she was his FIRST TRUE love so how could he not love her?
    And in 1967 John wanted to try and make their marriage work and have more children with her but no Yoko had to ruin it. Why couldn’t she just accept that he was married and had a child instead of trying to take John away from Cynthia and makde Julian fatherless when he was 5 years old? I think that what she did was really unfair to Cyn and Julian, lets face it. Cynthia was and always will be John’s best wife. She cared for him deeply and loved him unconditionally unlike yoko who Manipulated John and told him what to do and only wanted his money. It’s Cynthia and Julian I feel sorry for. Sorry this is so long haha By the way I may sound like an old person typing this but I’m actually a 16 year old girl. I know I should have other things to worry about but I have very strong opinions over this. I wil always love John and Cynthia as a couple.

    1. Julian

      Chantelle, I read your comment. The biggest thing I’m taking from it is that you seem to have some assumptions against Yoko.
      Now, there’s no doubt that John & Cynthia loved each other “like mad” the first couple of years they were together. But over time as The Beatles got more popular and as John got more into drugs the relationship became more distant. Cynthia still might’ve felt big love for John, but I think that wasn’t reciprocated.
      When he met Yoko, he felt like he met his artistic equivalent. She opened him up to so many things. Without Yoko we wouldn’t have the song “Imagine”, as it was inspired by her book “Grapefruit”. When you think about it in hindsight, John & Cyn’s relationship simply became too conventional, too normal. There was no fresh challenge for John to keep him interested. That was a thing with all four of the guys. When they did one thing, they quickly became bored & wanted to move on.
      In many ways, Yoko was a more perfect fit for such a multi-faceted character like John.

  17. castironshore

    I really think cynthia thought she could help john, she knew all about the pain he was in… god knows she bore the brunt of it at times. But i believe their love for each other was genuine.

    I just think lennon outgrew her…. these were a very unusual set of circumstances for 2 people to live in. Not everyone is cut out for hard drugs,meditation,crazy diets and radical politics.

    Cynthia seemed a lovely woman,and she was devoted to julian. I was sorry to hear of her passing.

  18. Richard

    Both Cynthia and Yoko are written into the Beatles story (which, oddly enough, continues to mushroom). We all love Cynthia and many vilify Yoko, but I don’t. Their stories must be taken in context with the times we all shared. My sympathies for rejection and loss lay with Julian and Sean, yet I see Cynthia as having borne the brunt of abusive behavior. Keep in mind, Yoko suffered loss as well, and while she has a fortune in cash to use as she sees fit, she has the title of widow as well.
    In short, we can sympathize with Cynthia and Julian, but include Yoko and Sean in our grieving.

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