John Lennon’s First Wife Once Revealed He Hired a Detective to Track Her in Their Divorce: ‘God Only Knows Why’

John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia, were married before the height of Beatlemania. But after she discovered his romance with Yoko Ono, things took a turn for the worse. And she claimed he eventually hired a detective to follow her, though she didn’t know why.

What did Cynthia say marriage to a Beatle was like? Plus, how did she feel about John after their marriage fell apart and he hired a detective to try and help him win custody of their son?

John Lennon and his first wife, pictured in 1964, had a bitter divorce
Cynthia Lennon and John Lennon | Icon and Image/Getty Images

John Lennon’s first wife said being married to him was like being a ‘fly in the ointment’

John and Cynthia Lennon married in 1962, and she was by his side through the height of Beatlemania. They had one son, Julian Lennon, and she was often home with him while the Beatle worked. She compared being the wife of a Beatle and dealing with groupies at the time to being a “fly in the ointment.”

Cynthia had an epiphany when she once entered a room with John and the rest of the group to find “about five beautiful model ladies all draped ’round” (per NPR‘s Fresh Air). “… We all walked in and looked at them and looked at each other and wondered what on earth we were supposed to do in a situation like this,” she explained, “because it was obvious, you know, what they were there for.”

She concluded, “… It was embarrassing for them, and embarrassing for me. And it was a situation that clicked with me. I mean, I realized then what it was going to be like, you know, in the future. I mean, obviously, that was what it was going to be like, just women throwing themselves at them the whole time.”

John Lennon’s first wife said he hired a detective to try and get custody of their son, Julian

Lennon’s relationship with his “teacher,” Ono, was a significant catalyst for the divorce. But Cynthia claimed he accused her of adultery and hired a detective to follow her. “This is the crazy, the madness of it all — to this day I don’t understand that,” she shared with NPR in 1985, “but it’s almost as though … John’s attitude in life was: The best form of defense is attack.”

“He was guilty of letting me down in public, and I was on holiday when the information about John and Yoko came out in the newspapers. I didn’t know it was open to the world, this situation. I was on holiday, and somebody showed me a newspaper,” she explained.

She added, “Then an emissary of John’s came over to visit me in Italy and said, ‘John wants a divorce, and he wants Julian, and there’s a detective.’ Now, I was on holiday with my mother and uncle and Julian, so God only knows why there was a detective put on me. It was one of those situations I will never understand.”

John Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia Lennon, died of cancer in 2015

Despite being granted a divorce on the grounds of adultery in 1968, Cynthia told NPR she could never turn off all of her feelings for her ex. She continued to follow news about him and “was looking after his interests, in [her] own little way,” which was “caring about his future and hoping that he was happy.”

Julian later said he could count the times he saw John Lennon after he started a relationship with Ono. Therefore, memories of his father are scarce for him. But he was close with his mother, who died of cancer at 75 in 2015. He was “at her bedside throughout,” according to a statement made to ABC News.

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