Cynthia Lennon, Ex-wife of Beatle John Lennon, Passes Away at 75
Cynthia Lennon, artist, business woman, writer and former wife of John Lennon, passed away today at her home in Majorca, Spain. She died, according to son Julian Lennon, who was by her side, “following a short but brave battle with cancer.” She was 75.
Lennon was born Cynthia Powell on Sept. 10, 1939, in Blackpool, Lancashire, in the northwest region of England. The baby of the family, which included two older siblings, Powell’s artistic ambitions led her to the Liverpool College of Art where she met fellow student John Lennon.
Somewhat antagonistic toward Cynthia at first, John eventually asked her out. Despite the fact that she was engaged and he had a girlfriend, the two began a physical relationship that ultimately led, in 1958, to them breaking away from their respective partners and becoming exclusive. She was 19 and he was 18.
Though Cynthia eventually moved in with John’s Aunt Mimi in her Liverpool flat, their relationship was kept secret as per orders from Beatles manager Brian Epstein, so as not to upset the growing number of female fans swooning over the Fab Four.
This “secret” relationship became more difficult to maintain when, around the same time Beatlemania hit America, Cynthia became pregnant with son Julian. John, as a result, proposed marriage. If a Beatle with a girlfriend was a no-no, then the idea of a Beatle with a wife and child was definitely out of the question.
Eventually, the press found out about Cynthia, John and Julian, resulting in jealous female fans hounding Cynthia both at home and on tour with the Beatles.
Cynthia endured marriage to one of the world’s biggest rock stars – and all the drugs, crazy schedules and other women that entailed – until 1968, when she returned early from a trip to Greece to discover John (who’d stayed behind) had been carrying on an affair with artist Yoko Ono. The couple divorced that same year.
Cynthia retained custody of Julian in the divorce and, in the ensuing years, married three more times: to Roberto Bassanini (an Italian hotelier, married from 1970 to 1973), John Twist (a British engineer, married from 1976 to 1983) and Noel Charles (a nightclub owner, married from 2002 until his death in 2013).
She also auctioned a number of items from her relationship with John over the years, openly pointing to the fact that often she simply needed money.
After John’s passing, she noted, “I would say I’m sorry he didn’t make it … And I don’t mean that in a flip way. I’m sorry he didn’t get to see everything that happened because of him and to have enjoyed this part of this life. He would have had a great relationship with his sons.”
According to ImaginePeace.com, in 2010, Cynthia attended a photo exhibition of her son Julian’s work in New York, along with Julian, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and May Pang – a girlfriend of John’s during his brief separation from Ono –believed to be the first time all five “have all been in the same room together.”
In addition to creating and displaying her artwork, Cynthia’s post-Beatle years saw her open two restaurants, make an attempt at her own musical career (with the help of Paul McCartney) and write two memoirs – both of which focussed heavily on her time with John. She also appeared at various Beatles and John Lennon-related events and honours.
Cynthia Lennon is survived by her only child, Julian.