The Two Mrs. Lennons: Cynthia Lennon was John's first wife; Yoko Ono was his second wife, who he married on March 20, 1969.The Two
Mrs. Lennons

What Was It Like To Have Been Married To John Lennon?

Courtesy of 60 Minutes

Mike Wallace Talks to Cynthia Lennon and Yoko Ono About the Man They Both at One Time Called "Husband."

The following interviews are from the 1987 60 Minutes feature ”The Two Mrs. Lennons.” The interviews were conducted by Mike Wallace. (This isn’t the whole transcript, so there is some missing text in certain sections.) ~ladyjean

Mike Wallace & Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia Lennon: He’s [John Lennon] made his mistakes on the front pages of newspapers all over the world. He’s no saint, never was.

Mike Wallace: What is it’s his music? It’s his persona?

CL: It’s everything about the man’s his vulnerability, it’s his cheek. It’s the fact that he bared his soul. Foolishly, stupidly, but he bared his soul -- for everybody else to see.

MW: He said that he changed, and you didn’t. And that that is what eventually led to the breakup.

CL: [Nods] I think we both changed. But I did not want to go down the road that John was going.

MW: Which road?

CL: Which was the road of ”enlightenment” as far as drugs were concerned. John was in a more trapped situation than I was.

MW: Trapped?

CL: Trapped in his own mind, and in the Beatles’ situation and the pressure of the music and the pop world. And I think he’d had enough and wanted to escape that. I had nothing to escape. I wasn’t looking for anything else. I wasn’t searching in my mind for new experiences on a mental state.

MW: And he was?

CL: Yeah.

MW: And LSD was his road to self-discovery?

CL: That was the beginning. He was always searching, John. Always looking for the truth, an ideal, a dream. And I suppose once he’d got hooked on that situation and the mental state, he thought he’d found something new in life that nobody else had.

MW: Was it very destructive of your marriage?

CL: Well, yes. I think that any drugs are destructive of anything and everyone. But the reality of life was slipping by John. He wasn’t aware anymore. He became less interested in the original dream of becoming famous and becoming wealthy, and that didn’t matter to him anymore. He had that, he had it all.

MW: Was he writing music at this time?

CL: No, no. It was a period of great, great change in John’s life. He didn’t know which direction he was going to take. The direction was chosen for him, anyway.

MW: By?

CL: Well, by his meeting with Yoko. That was it.

Wallace voice-over: Cynthia says it was after an acid trip that John first met Yoko Ono at a London art gallery and became intrigued with Yoko’s avant-garde art.

CL: That was the first contact. And then we had a few letters from Yoko asking for help, you know, with her cause and her art, and then it just...

MW: And you were not suspicious?

CL: [Sighs] It’s very hard to be suspicious under those circumstances. John was just surrounded at the time by very weird people.

MW: So she was just another nutty person?

CL: Well, at the time, yes. [Smiles]

MW: And then the time came when she threw herself into the back seat of the limousine in between the two of you?

CL: Well, that was an occasion, it was something to do with the Maharishi. We went to a meeting, and Yoko happened to be at the meeting. And she asked for a lift to wherever it was she was living and she got in the car. I said to John, ”Why?” He said, ”I don’t know.” And that was it.

MW: She was “determined.”

CL: Well, only Yoko can say that, not me. It happened, these things happen in life. I knew at the time there was nothing I could do to stop what was happening. He was hell-bent on something. And it happened to end up he was hell-bent on Yoko.

MW: What was her appeal? What was it he found in her that was so compelling? She seemed to cast a kind of spell.

CL: What he was looking for was a woman and a man combined. Someone he could call a pal, someone who was a woman, someone who encompassed everything in his life. He wanted to thin down his life with one person that he could put his trust in and believe in.

MW: When you saw the two of them doing their bed-ins for peace in Amsterdam and Canada, what did you think?

CL: I was sad. I was truly sad. Because I saw a man that I knew in the early days...I had seen a boy change into a man...and had suddenly become a laughingstock. Seeing this man, who wasn’t John anymore, doing the wildest things. But then again, it was in the name of peace, so everybody sort of tried to understand.

Mike Wallace & Yoko Ono

Mike Wallace: What attracted you to John, John to you?

Yoko Ono: Well, it’s very difficult. You can write a book about that. But um, and then again, maybe you can’t. Because it’s the kind of magic that you can’t express in words maybe. But we didn’t know it was going to be like this.

MW: You sent him letters. You sent him flowers. And finally you even put yourself into the limousine in between him and Cynthia.

YO: [Shifts] Well, that’s not how it happened.

Wallace voice-over: Yoko insists that she did not pursue John Lennon. But she does acknowledge their affair began in earnest when Cynthia was off in Italy and Yoko’s husband was in France.

MW: The bed-ins for peace, first in Amsterdam and then in Montreal, what did they accomplish, aside from making you look...

YO: Ridiculous?

MW: Oh. Ridiculous. Yeah.

YO: Well, we were just clowns. And we knew about that. That we were clowns. And through clowning, we thought maybe we could communicate to the people about uh...importance of world peace. Give peace a chance.

[Footage of John and Yoko staging a bed-in is shown.]

YO: We went through some very tough times because, um, the press was not very kind to us. Especially to me. And I think they were...

MW: Why? Why were they so angry at you? Because they were
not kind to you.

YO: Oh, I know! Well, ask them. I mean, I don’t know why they weren’t kind to me.

MW: You were an intruder...

YO: Well, um...

MW: That was the perception, I think.

YO: [Nods] Probably. I mean, I didn’t really think that I was such an intruder.

Wallace voice-over: But the Beatles’ record producer and other members of the band found her presence irritating and she sat in on their studio sessions.

YO: But to me it was nothing for me to be sitting there. In fact, I think that there were moments that, um...uh...I felt that, um, I was repressing my own creative instincts, just sitting there.

MW: Really?

YO: But there was something that, um...I felt that we were doing it because we loved each other.

MW: He seemed to be always searching, whether it was drugs -- a lot of them -- or vegetarianism, or the Maharishi.

YO: I know, he was always searching. We were always searching. Together we went through macrobiotic, we went through vegetarian. And, um...we went...we went into all sorts, actually. Primal therapy.

MW: In the search for what? And what did you find?

YO: In the search for truth and health and...

MW: Health through LSD? Health through drugs? Vegetarianism I can understand.

YO: Well, health can be mental health as well. I mean, we wanted to find the true wisdom

MW: John admitted he had a problem with violence. He said, ”I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I’m always on about peace. You see, it’s the most violent of people who go for love and peace.”

YO: He’s very right.

MW: Was he a hitter when you lived with him?

YO: No he wasn’t.

MW: He never hit you?

YO: No.

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