New Memoir Reveals John Lennon Had Dark Side



The first wife of the late John Lennon has written a candid and gripping memoir of their life together while the Beatles were formed and achieved worldwide fame in the 1960's.

The new book by Cynthia Lennon, simply titled John, may anger some John Lennon fans who believe their idol was only a kind and gentle musician who promoted world peace.

Cynthia portrays John as both loving and cruel, prone to violent outbursts and drug taking binges, but also tender and romantic. As she puts it, "John was part angel and part devil."

The book is coming out just months before the 25th anniversary of Lennon's assassination on December 8, 1980, outside his apartment building in New York City.

Cynthia Lennon says she is not trying to cash in on the anniversary, but felt a need to explain her life with John for the benefit of their son, Julian. She spoke about it with journalists at London's Foreign Press Association.

"I really wanted Julian to feel more about his father, because he has been very, very scarred in life because of his neglect," she explained. "I hope and pray that when he reads this book, and when I am not here anymore, it is in writing how his father felt about him and how much he was loved."

Among the never-before-told anecdotes in her book, Cynthia recalls how John went into a jealous rage after she danced with one of his friends when they were still dating.

"He just appeared out of nowhere, and smacked me in the face, which banged my head against the pipes and dazed me, and then (he) walked away," she recalled. "So I walked away. I said: 'I can handle verbal abuse. I can handle jealousy. But I would not cope or put up with any kind of physical abuse. So I finished with him at that point, only to last three months."

She blames much of John's violent behavior on his upbringing, when he was abandoned by his father, taken away from his mother and put in the custody of an aunt she describes as cold and manipulating.

The books delves into the early days of her marriage in 1962 after she became pregnant. The Beatles manager, Brian Epstein, kept her hidden, thinking fans would not accept the idea of John being married and a father.

Cynthia also describes how she came home from a short vacation abroad in 1968 to discover John with the woman who would later become his second wife, Japanese artist Yoko Ono.

"I have got this woman sitting next to my husband, and both in toweling robes. It is obvious she has been there for the night," she recalled. "I said: 'Oh, hi John. How about coming out for dinner?' I did not know what to say. And he just looked at me. They both looked at me. And he just said: 'No thanks.' I just did not know what to do. I had to walk away from the situation."

John and Cynthia divorced on November 8, 1968. In the settlement, the multi-millionaire pop star gave her only $240,000 for Julian's education.

Cynthia went on to marry three other men, saying the legacy of Lennon has put a strain on all of her subsequent relationships.

And on the last page of her book, Cynthia admits that she regrets ever getting involved with John. As she put it, "If I had known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to, I would have turned around right then and walked away."

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs