George Harrison’s Wife Olivia Has Never Considered Herself a Beatle Wife

George Harrison‘s wife Olivia says she’s never considered herself a “Beatle wife.” When Olivia met George in the early 1970s, he hadn’t been a Beatle for years. He was a completely different person.

However, since George died in 2001, Olivia has taken her husband’s place in The Beatles’ affairs.

George Harrison, his wife Olivia, and their son Dhani, at LAX Airport in 1988.
George Harrison, his wife Olivia, and their son Dhani | Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

George Harrison’s wife Olivia isn’t technically a Beatle wife

Technically speaking, Olivia is right. She has never been a Beatle wife in the literal sense. That role went to George’s first wife, Pattie Boyd. George met Boyd on the set of The Beatles’ A Hard Days’ Night in 1964. They married in 1966, but they had some pretty big bumps. Boyd got sick of George’s infidelities and left him for his friend Eric Clapton.

When George met Olivia in 1974, he said he had “no voice and almost no body at times.” In a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone, George said, “Yeah, well after I split up from Patti [Boyd, Harrison’s first wife], I went on a bit of a bender to make up for all the years I’d been married.”

George wasn’t ready to join Alcoholics Anonymous, but he did do “all the other naughty things that fly around.”

Olivia told Yahoo Entertainment that George was “having a bit of a little bit too much fun” when she met him, referring to George’s “bender.”

However, when she started working for George’s record label, Dark Horse Records, in 1974, George recognized a kindred spirit in Olivia. Even though Olivia “definitely had some trepidations” about getting romantically involved with a Beatle, they started dating. Clapton, who remained George’s friend despite their drama, warned Olivia that she’d better “pull your socks up” if she was serious about George.

He was right. Being Mrs. Harrison was not an easy job. However, Olivia was up to the task. She took on one of the hardest jobs in the world with strength.

In Martin Scorsese’s documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Olivia said, “When I first met him, he said, ‘I don’t want you to think you’ve discovered something about me I don’t know. I’m not claiming to be this or that or anything. People think they found you out, when I’m not hiding anything.’

“I thought he was really somebody who was saying something that I connected with. He was really a very captivating person… I liked the music, I liked what he was doing. We just seemed like partners from the very beginning.”

George and Olivia married in 1978, shortly after having their only son, Dhani. They connected through spirituality, although they didn’t always agree on everything.

“We had our differences,” Olivia said. “I might have done a different technique than he did, but we both had the same goal, and I think that was really the key to everything in our lives.”

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Olivia didn’t consider herself a Beatle wife

In a recent interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Olivia said she’s never considered herself a Beatle wife because she wasn’t with George during his time with The Beatles. By the time she met George, he’d already changed course in his life and had become a completely different person. Olivia had never met Beatle George.

“I always say I wasn’t a ‘Beatle wife,'” Olivia said. “You might say an ex-Beatle wife. The thing is, when I met George, we sort of changed lanes. We went off and had a more normal, quiet life. It wasn’t too quiet — we had fun! — but we were pretty private, and family really made him happy…

“He always said, ‘I gave my nervous system for the Beatles.’ I suppose anybody would be a bit tired of all that screeching in their ears and stuff. He had a good time, no doubt about it, but then, you know, with [the murder of] John [Lennon]… enough is enough.”

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She has a vote in Beatles affairs

Olivia might not see herself as a Beatle wife, but she is now that she and her and George’s only son, Dhani, have taken George’s place at Beatles boardroom meetings. They sit at the table with surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow.

While they discuss The Beatles’ business, Olivia and Dhani look after George’s legacy.

“Dhani and I are really there to look after George’s legacy,” Olivia told the Associated Press. “On some things, we’re more opinionated. But on other things, I’m like, ‘it’s their music, it’s their images … they know what they want to hear and see. It’s great to shepherd and provide George’s material and help them in any way we can.”

Olivia has fun with Beatles projects, whatever they may be. She also admitted that George was warming to them before he died. When The Beatles made Anthology, George was more comfortable with the group’s legacy.

“He said, ‘I guess it’s not going away.’ I said it’s not. He was so funny. I said, no, it’s not and he said, ‘Good, maybe I’ll get some respect around here,'” she said.

Olivia told AARP that she wants everything about her husband’s legacy to be in top shape before she “kicks the bucket.” So far, Olivia has been an excellent Beatle wife and more.

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