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John Lennon‘s widow, Yoko Ono, warned George Harrison‘s wife, Olivia, about what would happen following George’s death in 2001. The visual artist knew a thing or two about being a widowed Beatle wife.

Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Yoko Ono understood the pain George Harrison’s wife Olivia went through when George died in 2001

In the special edition of Rolling Stone, “Remembering George,” Yoko said she knew what George’s wife, Olivia, went through after George died in 2001. They share a connection being the only widowed Beatle wives.

“I received a call at three o’clock in the morning from Olivia,” Yoko wrote. “I immediately knew what it was about. It reminded me of the calls I made when John passed away. It also reminded me of the sense of propriety and responsibility all of us Beatle women quietly share.

“Olivia is an intelligent and strong woman. But that doesn’t mean that she can take an enormous parting such as this,” she continued. “There are things you can never take, no matter how strong you are.”

In 2013, Yoko explained on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour (per Ultimate Classic Rock) that being married to a Beatle is “the most difficult thing to be.”

“That’s why I have so much respect and love for the other Beatles’ wives. I think it’s more difficult than being a politician’s wife, because it’s endless. We have a position that is endless.”

Yoko warned Olivia about how life was going to be following George’s death

Following George’s death, Olivia “got very busy managing lots of things and the gardens and business and the people that, you know, change,” she told The Sunday Times.

Olivia didn’t mean people had dropped out of her life. “I think more the people who came in,” she said. “I did have to jettison a few. Yoko actually said to me, ‘You don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do.’ And she was right. There were people who had other ideas about how I should live my life. And I was pretty shocked by that.”

The Times writes she’s talking about a “series of protracted legal battles she had to fight in order to gain independence.”

Olivia continued, “That took years. And after George died I was still doing it. I thought, no, you can’t let people just walk all over you. That’s not a good message for other people … I had more than one person tell me, ‘Well, Mrs Harrison, you’re not going to want your business in the papers.’

“And I said, ‘Well, you know what? I’ve been in the papers, I don’t care. But do you want your business in the papers? Go ahead, make my day.'”


John Lennon and George Harrison Sailed Through the Greek Islands, Chanting Until Their Jaws Ached

The two women are close friends

As The Times points out, Yoko had been a widow for more than 20 years by the time George and Olivia discovered his cancer was terminal. Being the only widowed Beatle wives has bonded the two soft-spoken women for decades.

On being friends with Yoko, Olivia says she still is “though I haven’t seen her in a long time. She’s not been very well recently, but she always befriended me … We didn’t spend a lot of time together, but she’s just magnificent.

“You know, we would sit in a board meeting together [the Apple Corps board, of which they are both directors], and she would take everyone completely out of this realm into another realm, which I loved. She’s the most disarming person.”

George and John might’ve had their ups and downs, but they’d be proud that their wives have looked after one another over the years since their deaths.