Jane Asher

McCartney and Asher often went on holiday together, when their busy schedules allowed. In September 1963 they spent two weeks in Greece, where The Beatles were still relatively unknown, with Ringo Starr and his future wife Maureen. Later on the pair tended to have weekend breaks in the countryside, to escape from the mayhem of life in the public eye.

I think we expected Paul and Jane Asher to get married. They were lovers, they were together, and it seemed a natural thing to do. I don't know in the end what actually broke them up. We'll have to ask him about that, or ask her - that's probably more interesting!
Ringo Starr

Another holiday, again with Ringo and Maureen, was spent yachting in the Bahamas. There McCartney wrote Things We Said Today about his relationship with Asher. He also wrote And I Love Her, You Won't See Me, We Can Work It Out and Here, There And Everywhere about her.

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher, 1967

Despite the heady days of life in London and beyond, Asher's main passion was for acting. She was independent-minded and wanted to have a profession in her own right, rather than merely be a Beatle's partner. She was opinionated and refused to sacrifice her career for McCartney, which caused some friction in their relationship.

My whole existence for so long centred round a bachelor life. I didn't treat women as most people do. I've always had a lot around, even when I've had a steady girl. My life generally has always been very lax, and not normal.

I knew I was selfish. it caused a few rows. Jane left me once and went off to Bristol to act. I said OK then, leave, I'll find someone else. It was shattering to be without her.

Paul McCartney
The Beatles, Hunter Davies

Asher helped him find the house in Cavendish Avenue, London, which they moved into in 1966. It has been claimed that while spring cleaning one day, she inadvertently threw away a notebook containing the handwritten lyrics to a number of early Lennon-McCartney songs.

Also in 1966 she persuaded McCartney to buy High Farm in Machrihanish, Campbeltown, Scotland, suggesting that they should have a place to retreat from the public eye.

We had a good relationship. Even with touring there were enough occasions to keep a reasonable relationship going. To tell the truth, the women at that time got sidelined. Now it would be seen as very chauvinist of us. Then it was like: 'We are four miners who go down the pit. You don't need women down the pit, do you? We don't have women down the pit.'
Paul McCartney

In 1967 she embarked on a five-month tour of America with the Bristol Old Vic, appearing in Romeo And Juliet in Boston, Washington and Philadelphia. McCartney flew over to America to celebrate her 21st birthday; during the trip he is said to have had the idea for Magical Mystery Tour.

When I came back after five months, Paul had changed so much. He was on LSD, which I hadn't shared. I was jealous of all the spiritual experiences he'd had with John. There were fifteen people dropping in all day long. The house had changed and was full of stuff I didn't know about.
Jane Asher
The Beatles, Hunter Davies

Still an unreconstructed chauvinist in the mid 1960s, McCartney continued womanizing throughout his relationship with Asher. His attitude was that it was allowed since they were unmarried.

He had a relationship with actress Jill Haworth during The Beatles' February 1964 visit to America, which he took care to keep from reaching the press. He also had an affair the same year with Peggy Lipton, another American actress, and scores of groupies across the world.

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher, 1968

The press, meanwhile, carried frequent predictions and rumours of McCartney and Asher getting married. Despite the problems in their relationship, they were engaged on Christmas Day 1967. Shortly afterwards, in February and March 1968, she accompanied The Beatles to India.

Their five-year relationship came to an abrupt end shortly afterwards. Jane returned unannounced to Cavendish Avenue from Bristol. There she discovered Paul McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz, an American girlfriend and employee at Apple.

Jane walked out and sent her mother Margaret to Cavendish Avenue to collect her belongings. Although she and McCartney subsequently tried to mend their relationship, by July 1968 it was over. She announced that their engagement was over on the 20 July edition of the BBC television show Dee Time.

I haven't broken it off, but it is broken off, finished. I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn't worked out. Perhaps we'll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we're about 70.
Jane Asher
Dee Time

Since their split, Jane Asher has since consistently refused to publicly discuss her time with McCartney, possibly uniquely among members of The Beatles' former inner circle.

Asher met the political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe in 1971 at the 10th anniversary party of Private Eye magazine, of which she is a shareholder. Their first child Katie was born in April 1974; they married in 1981, and had two sons: Alexander in 1981 and Rory in 1984.

Asher's acting career continues successfully today. She has also written three novels and more than a dozen books on lifestyle, cake decoration and costuming, and has developed the best-selling Jane Asher range of cake mixes.

She is the president of Arthritis Care, the National Autistic Society, the Parkinson's Disease Society and the West London Family Service Unit, and vice president of the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

She is also a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association, and patron of Bowel Cancer UK, the Scoliosis Association and the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Unit at University College London Hospital.

I don't remember the breakup as being traumatic, really. I remember more one time when she was working at the Bristol Old Vic and she'd got a boyfriend in Bristol and was going to leave me for him. That was wildly traumatic, that was 'Uhhhh!' Total rejection! We got back together again but I had already gone through that when we eventually split up. It seemed it had to happen. It felt right.

I liked her a lot and we got on very well. She was a very intelligent and very interesting person, but I just never clicked. One of those indefinable things about love is some people you click with and some people who you should maybe click with you don't. Whatever.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

40 responses on “Jane Asher

    1. Barb

      Jane didn’t give in to him, when he was wrong, he was wrong. Besides, he cheated on her all the time, and in the end it was why she dumped him. Paul was a chauvinist who was used to subservient northern women who let him have his way. Jane was educated, and he learned a lot from her. But he jinxed it up. To her credit, she has never written a tell all and will not to this day discuss Paul McCartney.

      1. aerialkate

        “subservient northern women”. What a load of tripe – where are you from Barb? Stop swallowing whatever line you’ve read in a ‘Beatles’ biography written by those who never made it north of the Watford gap. Met any “subservient northern women”? Having been a northern woman all of my life I can tell you most of us are the polar opposite of “subservient”. Marianne Faithfull has said she’d wished she hadn’t all but given up her career for Mick, as she did for much of the sixties – she was an upper class woman from the Home Counties. Patti Boyd (another southerner) gave up her career for George. Apparently not “subservient” enough for ‘Barb’ though. Yoko devoted her life to look after John. None were “subservient northern women”. Watch that tendency towards credulity and demeaning, contemptuous bigotry. Not a good look.

    2. Michelle

      And I’m sure she’s plenty happy with her doodler Gerald Scarfe, and Paul’s happy to be rid of her and is very lucky to have found his soul mate Linda. While she is gone, he still loves her and always will. He should thank God Jane and he weren’t married or he would’ve never married Linda and he would’ve never found the true love of his life.

  1. Jane

    They weren’t right for each other. The story of Paul and Francie is not confirmed; Francie Schwartz denies it to this day, and Jane refuses to say anything. I think it’s quite absurd that everyone keeps telling that story when we don’t know if it’s true. I can’t stand the woman, honestly. Even though we share a name.

  2. Barb

    Love her, always have and I do think Paul always loved her even when he was married to Linda, I heard that Linda was jealous of Jane years later and Paul would mention Jane to Linda. I think Linda was a rebound, actually. So were the others.

    1. aerialkate

      How on earth do you know Jane “still dislikes” him? She hasn’t said a word about him. She has repeatedly said to interviewers that it is “insulting” to be asked about an ex-boyfriend she dated shortly after her 17th birthday and she’s absolutey correct. It’s patronising to her and it’s insulting to her husband, to whom she’s been married for over thirty years. Perhaps what’s eating so many people is the fact that she genuinely moved on and was happier with another man. Their lasting union would seem to suggest this is the simple truth.

  3. PaulListro

    A lucky escape for Jane. McCartney was screwing women all over the place and got sprung by Jane with another girl in her bedroom at her home when she came home early from the U.S. The Ashers kicked him out and immediately Paul hooked up with a groupie he was screwing on the side. It was Linda Eastman . A bedroom hopping pot smoking social climber just like Paul. Jane was far to good for him besides Paul was always attracted to someone who could at times mother him, prepared to stay in the background and not challenge him if he wanted a bit on the side. In this respect Linda was perfect.

    Source. FAB an intimate life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes.

    1. aerialkate

      A deeply misogynistic take on Linda and one that’s trotted out far too often. Who cares if she had a good time in the 60s? Linda was better for Paul because Jane refused to give up her career. I’m glad Jane took that route, she was ahead of her time. Despite McCartney’s fame and wealth, Asher ended up with the far better man, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. pattie

    Jane vs linda well Paul didn’t cheat on linda he cheated on jane asher a lot so linda Louise Eastman McCartney wins again p.s. I love wings

    1. aerialkate

      Linda v Jane (grow up) – but since you brought it up: There’s a reason for that “they never spent a night apart” shtick we always heard. Linda knew damn well Paul had a roving eye and she kept her eye on his at all times. She told several band members she didn’t enjoy touring with (or even being in ) ‘Wings’. Jojo Laine (Denny’s wife) said that Linda was extremely wary of groupies. Paul didn’t cheat on Linda because she never gave him the opportunity. The difference between the marriage proposals between the two women is that Asher wasn’t pregnant when McCartney asked her to marry him. Asher won by walking. For me, as a human being (and not just a Beatle) McCartney was no prize.

  5. Muriel

    I loved Jane Asher. She was so beautiful. She just was’nt the right one for Paul. When he met Linda I think he just knew she was the one. they were married for 29 years, so i guess she was. They went everywhere together.

  6. Glen

    No it is in fact true. The funny thing is when Jane came back from 5 months in the US she said “he was like a different person…” Anyway she went with the real Paul and then with Sargent Pepper, the imposter I still love now, who, with the help of the Beatles, Epstein, and who knows who else, has managed to pull off the most amazing conspiracy of the 21st century. She had to know….right ?

  7. Stan Shall

    She is a pretty good actress for sure. I like Ringo’s quote about how he thinks Jane’s explanation of why they broke up would be more interesting. She is not talking and probably for good reason. There are a lot of lies being told. There are a lot of secrets being hidden, and the Double Fantasy continues…

    1. aerialkate

      Women who have less than glowing things to say about their time with Beatle members get savaged online and in the press. They habitually get called “whores”. Every woman is a “liar” and a “publicity seeker”. Jane Asher’s not stupid. She doesn’t fancy millions of Beatles fans giving her grief online. I doubt she harbours any resentment – she’s been happily married for nearly forty years. But if asked to look back about McCartney, in terms of her memories and experiences, she’d probably have some good things and some bad things to say about him. Too many fans can’t brook any criticism of McCartney.

  8. Seeking Truth

    Yes Jane Asher and the Paul McCartney who died in 1966 were the perfect couple just as Billy Shears and Linda Eastman were the perfect couple. That makes better sense. I’m amazed that Jane could keep up the pretense.

  9. Liam

    Paul, was a young handsome guy in his 20s at the height of his fame with more temptations that any of us will know in 100 lifetimes. Had he met her after 70 they might be together still.

  10. Sunita Parui

    Jane asher is a true beauty. What happened with them was a simple twist of fate. The fruits of adversity are the sweetest. So I think they are much happier with their own separate lives.

  11. Leave YoKo Alone

    I remember seeing her in some British funeral film. She aged well and was a total English Rose in the day. I wonder why she is so quit about her data with Paul. I would love to hear her story.

  12. Sarah St.Martin

    Meh never cared for her. And besides I think Paul looked much better than whatever she thought about George. Linda said she thought Paul was beautiful and even took a photo. Not that its about looks but he sure did last longer with Linda otherwise.

  13. Steve Ivins

    They just grew apart, that’s all. I suppose many don’t realize how hard it was for both of them to be true blue with those careers,at that age,in those times. Not many celebrity couples go the distance,right? We lifelong Beatle fans project our own fantasies at times about the other fab four, Cynthia,Jane,Pattie and Maureen…but again, none of them went the distance. We can all read about the juicy details regarding Beatle women in hindsight, but in the end no one but THE BOYS and their women know why some things clicked and others didn’t. We have the music,words,and books…that’s good enough.

  14. Jay

    It is amazing that so many of us are still intensely interested in the private lives of the Beatles, fifty years later, but we are. I visited Liverpool, and 20 Forthlin Road, and Mendips in 2008, and it was magical… When you consider the 60s, and the insane level of fame that the Beatles achieved, it is unsurprising that their first marriages (or first serious relationship, in Paul’s case) suffered as a result. What young guy, in his 20s, could resist the temptations that the Beatles had? What is amazing is that Paul, John, George and Ringo all found long-lasting happiness in their respective second marriages/relationships. Does anyone doubt that Paul and Linda would still be together? or John and Yoko? or George and his second wife? if not for death itself causing their separation? For that matter, Jane Asher–still beautiful and successful, aged 70–has been with her man since 1971. So let go of your fantasies about Jane and Paul already–they both did, a long, long time ago.

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