John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent 18 months of their marriage apart during his “lost weekend”, which saw him embark on an affair with their assistant May Pang, but apparently their relationship was “obviously” on the rocks before.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono fell madly in love after meeting in London in 1966. Though they were both married at the time, the avant-garde artist to her second husband Anthony Cox and The Beatles star to his first wife Cynthia Lennon, with whom he had one son, Julian Lennon, they soon started corresponding and later began their famous romance. In 1969, the couple tied the knot at a 10-minute ceremony in Gibraltar.
However, the intensity of their relationship combined with the vicious backlash they faced from angry Beatles fans after the band split shortly after they married (a move many blamed on Ono) soon began to take their toll on Lennon and Ono.
In 1973, he embarked on an affair with their assistant May Pang and moved out of the New York home they shared together to set up house with her in Los Angeles.
The pair had a year-and-a-half romance but he had continued contact with Ono throughout.
Asked if, prior to their temporary separation in 1973, it was clear to those around Lennon and Ono that their relationship was “on the rocks” or it was a shock, Pang simply said: “It was obvious to those of us who worked with them, yes.”
Pang also opened up on Ono’s continued presence in Lennon’s life throughout her relationship with him, revealing her side of the many daily phone calls between the husband and wife while he lived in Los Angeles with her.
“The problem was 99 per cent of her calls weren’t, ‘Hello, how are you?’” she explained. “First they were directives to keep out relationship quiet, which was fine with me.
“Then John ‘announced it to the world’ by kissing my for Time Magazine and crisis mode kicked in.
“She would call with instructions of what to say, that she had thrown John out,” Pang said. “She’d call every day to remind us of what to say. One drama after another.”
Elsewhere, Ono shared her recollections of her phone calls with Lennon during his affair with Pang in an interview with The Telegraph in 2012.
“We missed each other,” she told the publication. “We were calling each other every day. Some days he would call me three of four times. “He lived in LA, but that was fine. I was prepared to lose him, but it was better he came back,” she added. “I didn’t think I would lose him.”
Ono previously explained the situation which led to her husband’s well-publicised affair with Pang, saying it was “not hurtful” to her.
“I needed a rest. I needed space,” she said. “Can you imagine every day of getting this vibration from people of hate? You want to get out of that.
“Also, we were so close John didn’t even want me to go to the bathroom by myself. ‘I will come with you,’ he would say. And this would be in public places like the EMI recording studios,” she continued.
“I started to notice that he became a little restless on top of that, so I thought it’s better to give him a rest and me a rest.
“May Pang was a very intelligent, attractive woman and extremely efficient,” Lennon’s artist wife added. “I thought they’d be okay.”
In 1974, Lennon returned to Ono and they welcomed their son Sean Lennon the following year.