On April 1st, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon’s first wife and mother of their son Julian, passed away from cancer at the age of 75. The couple first met in art school in 1957 and married in 1962, divorcing six years later. “Our love story was very low key,” Cynthia once said, but her impact on her husband and those around the Beatles was undeniable. In this exclusive commentary for Rolling Stone, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s second wife, relates her thoughts on Cynthia, her life and her legacy.
Cynthia was a Hoylake girl, which meant she was from a district of Liverpool a notch above where the members of the Beatles all came from. John met her in the Art School, and was immediately taken by this straight-A student, who also had a warm mischievous smile. A professor who was always in a tweed jacket with a pipe in his mouth, as John put it, gave a “friendly attention” to her which irritated John to no end.
Indeed, one could not help noticing Cynthia’s zest for life, and the beam of sunshine coming out of her eyes. She already embodied love and peace in her quiet manner. The “boys” as they were called forever, behaved differently when she was in the room. I wonder how much her presence encouraged the group to go all the way to the top.
Since my son Sean is also a mom-and-son boy, my pain of Cynthia’s sudden departure is very deep. It was a big shock to everyone. You never know what deal life cuts for us.
It seems like only yesterday, when we four met, Cynthia, Julian, Sean and me. I thought she was looking like a young girl with strong love and pride for her son, Julian, who managed to have his photo exhibition in New York City, known for being a difficult place for artists to be successful. We were a family.
Being a single parent of a strong and intelligent boy is never easy. Cynthia and I understood each other in that way, wishing well for our sons and their future. It’s hard to imagine what this totally unexpected turn means to her only child. I don’t want to go there.
Please join me in giving love and support to Julian at this very trying time for him. Thank you.