When George Harrison Had an Affair With Ringo’s Wife Maureen

If you like a heavy dose of drama with your classic rock, then the late period of The Beatles has it all for you. Before the breakup, there were near-fistfights between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and an actual scuffle between John and George Harrison.

By 1969, you had George quitting the band during the Let It Be sessions, John saying he was leaving for good, and Paul falling into a deep depression. Indeed, there was enough drama to fill hundreds of books, and writers have been on the job ever since.

Yet before the arrival of Yoko Ono on the scene in ’68, you could argue the band mostly avoided drama having to do with women. To that point, John had been married to his first wife Cynthia; Ringo married his first wife Maureen in 1965; and George also tied the knot (with model Pattie Boyd) in ’66.

The three Beatles wives became friends and even went on holidays together. It was a remarkably placid domestic situation for twenty-something members of the world’s most famous band. But that changed after the band’s breakup — that’s when George had an affair with Ringo’s wife.

George’s affair with Maureen began in the early ’70s.

Beatles George Harrison with Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen are pictured in the audience at a Bob Dylan concert. Yoko Ono sits in the background. | PA Images via Getty Images

In a book about her time married to George, Pattie Boyd described how the couple’s relationship started to disintegrate as tensions grew between the band members. Boyd noted how George became unfaithful around this time.

By 1973, George had definitely lost his way and had begun to pursue Ringo’s wife Maureen. In an article published in the Montreal Gazette years later, the writer described several crazy situations. It began with George confessing his love for Maureen in front of Ringo and both women.

Following that event, Boyd reportedly found George and Maureen in bed together. (Ringo and Maureen had been experiencing problems for some time at that point.)

Though Boyd did not confirm that, she did tell the Starts at 60 website that she’d notice late night visits from Maureen — someone she had considered a friend for the better part of a decade.

Boyd described overnight stays by Maureen to her and George’s home.

Hollywood: George Harrison, with Beatles Ringo Starr and John Lennon, is shown a moment after he has thrown his drink at a photographer at “Whisky-a-go-go” in 1964. | Getty Images

With a group as famous as The Beatles, social lives had to be more guarded, and the band members and their wives became like family. So it wouldn’t be strange for one or the other to turn up late at someone’s house. However, Boyd noticed a change when Maureen began staying overnight.

“I became aware [of the affair] when she would turn up at midnight and she’d still be there the next day,” Boyd told Starts at 60. “I’d have to be pretty stupid not to notice! Some girls … It was towards the end of our marriage.”

Soon after, Boyd left George and took up with Eric Clapton, who had been in love with her for years. (He wrote “Layla” for her in 1971.) They got married in 1979.

Ringo and Maureen’s marriage didn’t last much longer, either. By 1975, after Ringo had engaged in a number of affairs and developed a drinking problem, the two finalized their divorce.

All things considered, the marriages and divorces were par for the course for rock ‘n’ roll bands in the ’70s. But most would agree George’s move on his old friend and bandmate’s wife was out of line.

See also: Why John Lennon and George Harrison’s Friendship Fell Apart