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 consistently refused to publicly discuss her time with McCartney, possibly uniquely among members of The Beatles’ former inner circle.

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher, 1968

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.

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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
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