In a slightly bizarre twist, Yoko Ono published a gushing tribute in Rolling Stone to John Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia Lennon, who died of cancer on April 1st at age 75. Yoko — who already had issued a brief and tasteful statement regarding Cynthia’s death — had hardly been in the same room with Cynthia since she and John hooked up in 1968, keeping Lennon’s English relatives at arms length while he was alive and even further after his 1980 murder.
The relationship between John and Cynthia’s son Julian Lennon and Yoko has grown warmer since his late-’90s lawsuit against her won him a multimillion dollar settlement from John’s estate and a small percentage of his publishing copyrights. In 2010, Julian, the Lennon wives, and John and Yoko’s son, Sean Lennon, posed together awkwardly at Julian’s Manhattan photo exhibit.
Although Julian has in the past been very open about his strained relationship with his father and Yoko, we asked him if today he now feels more comfortable keeping the family’s dirty laundry closer to the hip: “Yeah, very much so in certain respects depending on what the subject matter is. I’ll say, ‘Those thoughts are personal and they’re for me, or within the family. That’s it, that’s how it stays — none of your business.”
Yoko Ono’s Rolling Stone tribute to Cynthia Lennon reads:
“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.”
Photo Courtesy of Apple Corps.