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Episode 81: Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia and John Lennon, 1960 Photo Credit Unknown

When Cynthia first met John Lennon he was an 18 year old teddy boy more interested in being class clown and playing his guitar then focusing on school work. Both students at the Liverpool College of Art, Cynthia soon found herself looking forward to seeing him, laughing at John’s sharp wit and swooning when he’d play a tune or two after classes. It wasn’t long before they became a couple, but right from the start Cynthia realized life with John would never be simple. “He wanted me with him for as much of the time as possible which meant that very early in our relationship I had to choose between him and my other needs and responsibilities.”

Cynthia chose to put John first even with all that meant. Within 5 years they would marry, Julian would be born and Beatlemania would become a worldwide phenomenon. While fame and fortune opened many doors it also came with a significant price. Fans of The Beatles were now camping outside their home, the press followed them everywhere they went and the loneliness of having John away most of the year was difficult for Cynthia. Even when they were together, attending swanky events and partying with all the hottest celebrities Cynthia could never shake the feeling that she didn’t belong.

When John discovered psychedelic drugs, Cynthia began to feel an even greater distance growing between them. Cynthia also had increasing suspicions about John’s fidelity, especially after catching him lying about his relationship with an artist named Yoko Ono. John would continually deny he had any sort of contact with her, so you can imagine Cynthia’s shock upon returning home one day to find them lounging in bathrobes together. “I could feel a wall around them that I could not penetrate. In my worst nightmares about Yoko I had not imagined anything like this. Their intimacy had been so powerful I had felt like a stranger in my own house.”

Tune in to hear Cynthia’s story and make sure to check out her memoir, John.

For more Beatle Muses check out our episodes on Yoko Ono, Chris O'Dell & Astrid Kirchherr!