The Beatles’ Assistant Told Pattie Boyd That George Harrison Hadn’t Deserved Her Loyalty

TL;DR:

  • George Harrison and Pattie Boyd’s relationship was marred by extramarital affairs.
  • A former assistant to The Beatles said Pattie Boyd made the right decision when she left George Harrison.
  • George Harrison and Pattie Boyd had a friendly relationship later in life.
George Harrison sits with his arm around Pattie Boyd's shoulder on their wedding day.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison | Fox Photos/Getty Images

After her divorce from George Harrison, Pattie Boyd was left feeling incredibly guilty. Both were involved in extramarital affairs, and Boyd said that Harrison barely spoke to her toward the end of their relationship. Still, she wondered if she’d made a mistake. After running into The Beatles’ former assistant, though, she felt more assured that the separation was a good idea. 

The Beatles’ George Harrison and Pattie Boyd both had affairs while they were married

Boyd and Harrison married in 1966. While Boyd said they were very much in love, the connection between them began to wilt as time passed. Harrison conducted multiple affairs, and after dedicated pursuit by Eric Clapton, Boyd began an affair with him. 

Harrison grew increasingly distant and cold, but Boyd said the final straw came when he started an affair with Maureen Starkey, Ringo Starr’s wife. To add insult to injury, they conducted the relationship at the home Boyd and Harrison shared, sometimes even while she was home. 

“I stood outside banging on the door and saying to George, ‘What are you doing? Maureen’s in there, isn’t she? I know she is,’ but he laughed,” she wrote in the book Wonderful Tonight. “He was supposed to be in the studio and everyone was waiting for him. Eventually he opened the door and said, ‘Oh, she’s just a bit tired so she’s lying down.'”

The couple ultimately divorced in 1977.

The Beatles’ former assistant told Pattie Boyd that she made the right move in getting a divorce

Though Boyd recognized that her relationship had problems, she felt incredibly guilty about leaving Harrison. She married Clapton, one of Harrison’s close friends, which made her feel even worse. A chance encounter with Peter Brown, the Beatles’ former assistant, assuaged a bit of her guilt, though. 

“In Los Angeles one night, standing with Jenny [Boyd] at the side of the stage, I spotted Peter Brown in the wings on the other side,” she wrote. “It was wonderful to see him after so long, and at the party afterward we sat on a swing on the beach and talked all night. To me, Peter was a father figure — the only one I had left. It was such a relief to be able to speak freely to someone who knew George about what I had done. Peter understood the situation, and it wasn’t the sort of conversation I could have had with my mother.”

Brown told her that he understood her motivation behind leaving Harrison and said that she was right to have done it. 

“Peter knew about George’s infidelity, the chanting and everything else,” she wrote. “He thought I was right to have left him. He said I had been too loyal and that George hadn’t deserved it. It was comforting to hear that, particularly from someone whose views I respected.”

The former couple had a much friendlier relationship after their divorce

Though their split was acrimonious, Harrison and Boyd had a much friendlier relationship in later years. He visited Boyd and Clapton one Christmas, and Boyd stopped by to visit Harrison, his new wife, Olivia, and their son. 

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Boyd explained that in the years after Harrison’s death, she still dreams about him. 

“You never know with grief how long it will last, but I think I’ll miss him for the rest of my life,” she wrote.