Pattie Boyd and George Harrison fell in love quickly, and she felt swept up in the romance between them. After several years of marriage, though, this dynamic began to sour. Harrison was icily distant from her, and she grew increasingly concerned that he was having an affair. She explained that she wasn’t sure how to fix things between them, making her feel helpless.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison married in a small ceremony
After two years of dating, Boyd and Harrison married on Jan. 21, 1966. Due to Harrison’s level of fame, The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein insisted that they have the wedding at a register office in Surrey.
“It was not the wedding I had dreamed of — I would have loved to be married in church, but Brian didn’t want a big fuss. He also said it had to be secret — if the press found out, it would be chaotic,” she wrote in the book Wonderful Tonight. “I had always thought I’d have a big white wedding, as all little girls do, then have children and live happily ever after — not be divorced like my mother.”
Still, Boyd was happy with the wedding they had.
“But there I was, at twenty-one, marrying George, who was all of twenty-two,” she wrote. “But I was so happy and so much in love, I didn’t care.”
She began to feel helpless in their relationship
In later years, the romance between Boyd and Harrison had faded a bit. She explained that The Beatles were fighting more and more often, and Harrison brought his frustrations home with him. She also began to worry that he was having an affair, as he started coming home later and later, and sometimes not at all.
“When he wasn’t recording, he would be at the Apple offices, which I knew were full of pretty girls — and George was sexy, good-looking, witty, and famous, an irresistible combination,” she wrote. “George had never used aftershave or cologne in the past, but since we had come back from India he had taken to wearing sandalwood oil, which I imagined was to attract other women. But if I accused him of anything he would deny it. He made me feel I was being unreasonable, nasty, and suspicious.”
She said that she felt increasingly helpless in the situation.
“My diary is full of entries about my unhappiness and the disintegration of our relationship,” she wrote. “On July 24 it simply says, ‘Silence reigns and my cheeks get wet.’ I felt so helpless.”
Boyd explained that at Harrison’s insistence, she had all but given up modeling, her pre-marriage career. She thought he wanted her to do this so they had more time together, but as he was now out of the house most nights, she felt isolated and alone.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison divorced in 1977
Ultimately, Boyd’s concerns about Harrison’s infidelity were not unfounded. She explained that the “final straw” in their marriage was the revelation that he was having an affair with Maureen Starkey, Ringo Starr’s wife. Harrison denied the affair for a while but eventually admitted to Boyd and Starr that he was in love with Starkey.
“Ringo worked himself up into a terrible state and went about saying, ‘Nothing is real, nothing is real,'” Boyd explained. “I was furious. I went straight out and dyed my hair red.”
Boyd and Harrison’s relationship effectively ended in 1974, and they officially divorced in 1977.