John Lennon: Son Julian discusses Yoko Ono in 1999
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John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia Lennon had their son Julian in 1963, just a year after they married. In the years which followed, The Beatles’ fame morphed into Beatlemania and their relationship began to break down. In 1966, John met avant-garde artist Yoko Ono and the pair began corresponding.
He and his first wife officially split in 1968 when she returned from a holiday with Julian to find The Beatles star in their home with Ono.
John’s relationship with his son was distant and, after he moved to New York with his new love Yoko, it was several years before the two saw each other again.
In 1973, Julian began to visit his dad regularly during the Beatle’s affair with May Pang, and John encouraged his son’s interest in music.
While the mythology surrounding the pair was that they were beginning to build a relationship right at the time John was fatally shot in 1980, Julian painted a different picture.
In a newly unearthed interview with The Telegraph from 1998, the singer-songwriter criticised his famous father for the way he handled the break-up of his first family.
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“I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite,” he said. “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.
“How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces — no communication, adultery, divorce?” Julian asked.
“You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”
Asked whether he thought it was fair to blame John for being a poor father, he replied: “Yeah, I do.
“If you bring a child into this world, whether it’s planned or an accident, you’d better make sure you can care for it.
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“You have to be around. You make time. It’s as simple as that,” he continued.
On the subject of the relationship he had with Imagine hitmaker John by the time he died, Julian recalled: “It was still very distant.
“I probably knew him as much as I know you,” he told the interviewer. “That’s about how warm it was. There were cuddles now and then but there was always an uneasy tension.”
Shortly before he died, The Beatles legend John opened up about the difference between Julian and Cynthia and his second marriage to Yoko and their young son Sean Lennon.
“Sean is a planned child, and therein lies the difference,” he said. “I don’t love Julian any less as a child. He’s still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn’t have pills in those days.
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“He’s here, he belongs to me and he always will.”
He went on to say he was working on rebuilding a relationship with Julian, who was 17 at the time, adding: “Julian and I will have a relationship in the future.”
After John was killed, it was revealed little had been left to him in the will.
Yoko was the executor of his will and Julian only received a share of the estate many years later.
Many years of arguing over the estate followed his father’s death for Julian as he battled with Yoko.
In a 2009 interview with CBS, Julian spoke out about his previous anger towards John and the way he had left him and his mother Cynthia.
“With Dad running off and divorcing Mum, I had a lot of bitterness and anger I was living with,” he said.
“In the past, I had said I had forgiven Dad, but it was only words.”
Speaking about Lucy, a song he penned after learning of the death off his childhood friend Lucy Vodden, who inadvertently inspired The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Julian added: “It wasn’t until the passing of my friend Lucy and the writing of this song that really helped me forgive my father.
“I realised if I continued to feel that anger and bitterness towards my dad, I would have a constant cloud hanging over my head my whole life.”
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