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Cynthia Lennon detailed some of the “dark” aspects of her relationship with John Lennon, including the one time he hit her. Here’s what we learned about the Beatles member from the 2005 memoir, John.

Who was John Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia Lennon?

Musician, singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940 - 1980) of British rock group the Beatles with his first wife Cynthia during the launch of his book 'In His Own Write'
Musician, singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940 – 1980) of British rock group the Beatles with his first wife Cynthia during the launch of his book ‘In His Own Write’ | Douglas Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before he was married to Yoko Ono, the Beatles’ songwriter was in a relationship with his college classmate, then Cynthia Powell. The two met in college and even though John Lennon wasn’t “her type,” Cynthia developed a crush, which turned into a relationship. 

Because they didn’t have money, in those early days they stretched out their time together however possible. It was one of John Lennon’s first serious relationships. 

Cynthia Lennon even detailed meeting the other Beatles in John, sharing that Paul McCartney and George Harrison were younger than her then-boyfriend. At the time, they performed and rehearsed music as the Quarrymen. According to Cynthia Lennon, though, problems arose due to John’s jealousy. 

John Lennon hit Cynthia Lennon once out of jealousy 

In her 2005 memoir, Cynthia Lennon noted her college relationship with John was marked by his temper. One night, she was dancing with her friend Stuart. John found out and, the next day, followed Cynthia to the girl’s bathroom. 

“When I came out he was waiting, with a dark look on his face,” Cynthia Lennon wrote. “Before I could speak he raised his arm and hit me across the face, knocking my head into the pipes that ran down the wall behind me.”

After that, Cynthia Lennon didn’t speak to her ex-partner, saying they would sometimes see each other because of similar social circles. 

“After three months, he phoned me and asked me to go back to him,” she continued. “It had taken him that long to pluck up the courage. He apologized for hitting me and said it would never happen again. I hesitated for a whole second before I said yes.”

In 1962, the couple officially married, having their first son, Julian, shortly after. They remained married for several years, with John Lennon earning recognition for his music with the Beatles. 


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John Lennon and Cynthia Lennon divorced in 1968

After meeting Yoko Ono and beginning his whirlwind romance with her, John and Cynthia Lennon officially divorced in 1968. John Lennon and Ono were married in 1969. 

Ringo Starr informed Cynthia of John Lennon’s murder via a phone call. Yoko Ono even offered to fly Julian Lennon to New York after his father’s death. Later, Ono and Cynthia Lennon appeared in a 60 Minutes segment to speak about the late singer. 

“He’s made his mistakes, on the front pages of newspapers, all over the world,” Cynthia Lennon said (via ABC News). “But he bared his soul for everybody else to see.”