John Lennon and Yoko Ono are possibly one of the most famous power couples of all time. They came together during the time of The Beatles, the hottest band in the world at the time, and arguably even still so. So of course a relationship of one of the members of the group would be covered heavily. It was also noteworthy that Lennon was dating an Asian woman, an act which was pretty novel at the time for someone in the spotlight.
Of course, the high-profile relationship was not without its controversy. Lennon and Ono were always together, an act which many Beatles fans believe to have been at least a huge, if not the contributing factor in the breakup of the band. Her loud voice pushing her musical influence on the band backed by Lennon is believed to have factored into tearing the band apart.
Regardless of whether any of this is true, there are a lot of interesting facts about their relationship, some of which are well-documented and others which aren’t known by too many people these days. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about their relationship that you may not even be aware of.
12. Yoko Was Absolutely Obsessed With John In The Beginning
Yoko Ono was reported to do anything and everything possible in order to be with John. She wasn’t able to let him go, even while he was recording. She would often force herself into Abbey Road studios or wait outside amidst the screaming girls called the Apple Scuffs. It was also reported that she once forced herself into John’s limo between him and his wife. She was indeed quite the aggressor in initiating a relationship with John. Her constant presence is often cited as a contributing factor to the Beatles’ downfall, either truthfully or not. While John was still married, she would even call his house, which John would have to play down to his wife, telling her she was seeking money for some “avant-garde bullsh*t.”
11. Ono Was The Only Non-industry Person Ever Allowed Into The Beatles’ Closed Recording Sessions
Due to her consistent nagging and need to be by John’s side at all times, which some could say was true love and others would say was obsession, she would often force her way into recording sessions. Finally, around the time The White Album was being recorded, she was allowed a permanent spot in the recording sessions, often seen sitting by John’s side as they recorded. She was such a permanent presence, Lennon had a bed brought into the studio after Ono suffered a traffic accident in 1969, so she could still attend recording sessions while she laid and recovered from her injuries.
10. After Their Marriage, Ono Was The Subject Of Much Racial Discrimination From Lennon’s Fans In The UK
Somewhat to his surprise, Lennon has gone on the record saying that the press and fans in the UK were not very receptive to his marriage of Yoko Ono. Many would have preferred him to marry an English woman. Yoko herself struggled with the realization that she was not liked by many, having been considered among the most beautiful and intelligent women in Japan. Lennon wrote, “It was hard for Yoko to understand, having been recognized all her life as one of the most beautiful and intelligent women in Japan. The racism and sexism were overt. I was ashamed of Britain.”
9. They Hosted Two Week-Long “Bed-ins” To Protest The Vietnam War
After they were married in 1969, they decided to honeymoon in Amsterdam. They understood that it would be an impossible task to escape the press, however, so they decided to use their honeymoon as a platform to protest the Vietnam War. They would allow the press into their room between 9 am and 9 pm. During this time, they would talk about peace, sing some songs, and just chill out. The press were reportedly a little disappointed since at first they assumed they were being allowed into their room to film them getting hot and heavy. Oh well, better luck next time.
8. There Are Conflicting Stories About How They Met
There isn’t actually one accepted factual story about how they met. One account states that they met on Nov. 9th, 1966 at Indica Art Gallery in London. Ono was holding an art exhibit called “Hammer A Nail” which Lennon attended. At this exhibit, guests were supposed to hammer a nail into a board. As Lennon went to take his turn, Ono told him to pay five shillings, to which he responded: “I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.”
The other account comes from Paul McCartney, who claims Ono wanted original Beatles music scores for a book by John Cage. McCartney declined and referred her to Lennon, who helped her acquire what she wanted.
7. Ono Had 3 Memorials Built In Lennon’s Honor After His Murder
Ono funded several memorials after the death of Lennon, proving she still respected and had feelings for him at the end and beyond. She directly funded a memorial constructed in New York City in 1985, called the Strawberry Fields memorial. It was named after the iconic Beatles song written by Lennon. She also founded the John Lennon Museum built in Saitama, Japan, in 2000. Finally in 2007, she dedicated a new memorial to Lennon called the Imagine Peace Tower, which was constructed in Iceland. Additionally, she has held tributes amongst other things dedicated to the memory of her departed husband.
6. Lennon Reportedly Wanted To Try A Relationship With Another Man
It was believed by many that John Lennon had sexual intercourse with Beatles manager Brian Epstein, on a trip the pair took to Barcelona. Ono, however, didn’t believe anything ever occurred. She claimed John was “too inhibited” to actually go through with anything, but she does admit that the two had a powerful relationship and that Lennon was definitely attracted to him. On the issue, she said: “Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship.” She went on to say he couldn’t go through with it because the other man would have had to be “mentally very advanced, too. And you can’t find people like that.” She believed that was necessary for Lennon to overcome his inhibitions.
5. Lennon Was A Pathological Liar
Lennon was believed to be a pathological liar. He lied about many things which were easily disproven by his peers or members of the press. For instance, he told the press after the birth of his son Sean, that he had been spending time as a stay-at-home dad. He actually had been spending his time doing a lot of drugs. The controversy about the meeting of Ono and Lennon is believed by some to also be a lie crafted by Lennon because it’s more interesting than the actual story posited by McCartney.
4. Lennon Cheated On His Then-Wife With Ono
Lennon was actually married when he and Ono got together. The first time Ono and Lennon were actually together was when she came over to his house following him begging his wife Cynthia to take a trip to Greece with 2 friends. Yoko came over, where they proceeded to drop acid and record a bunch of “music” that would later become Lennon and Ono’s Two Virgins album. Cynthia came home to find Ono wearing her bathrobe, to which John reportedly said “Oh, hi.” She filed for divorce some time later, on August 22, 1968, after she learned that Ono was pregnant with John’s child.
3. Lennon Is Believed To Have Beaten Yoko
With both his first wife Cynthia and second wife Yoko Ono, John Lennon was believed to have engaged in acts of domestic violence, including physical beatings. Some allegations even extend abuse to his oldest child, Julian. It may be difficult to believe, since Lennon had a record of being all about the peace and love and anti-violence. It does seem clear from this and other issues though, that Lennon suffered from some deep psychological problems. Some people believe that others were also subject to his violence. Others actually believe it was this violence that caused him to be so into peace. He felt regret that he had these violent outbursts and felt he had to make it up to the world. Still others just label him a hypocrite. The debate rages on to this day.
2. Ono Brought Lennon and May Pang Together
Strains in their relationship divided the power couple in 1973, leading to a brief separation in their marriage. At this time, Lennon began a relationship with assistant May Pang, which would last for 18 months. After it ended, Lennon began to refer to this period as his “Lost Weekend.” It’s believed that this name comes from the well-documented hard partying and alcohol abuse he engaged in with Pang during this time. Many people don’t know, however, that Ono didn’t only agree to this relationship, she brought the two together with her blessing. She stated “The affair was something that was not hurtful to me. I needed a rest. I needed space.”
1. Yoko Didn’t Actually Break Up The Beatles
It’s so fashionable to blame Yoko Ono for breaking up The Beatles. Just about everyone does it. It’s pretty stylish. It, however, is a gross oversimplification of what actually happened. Tensions within the group at the time would likely have torn the group apart anyway. The death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and the other members of the group feeling they were walking in Paul McCartney’s shadow, were all aggravating the band at the time and leading to an inevitable demise. Yoko Ono was actually seemingly just a convenient scapegoat for the real problems that were plaguing the band in the ‘60s.