Cynthia Lennon - Beatlemania


Around the time of Julian's birth, the Beatles became a pop sensation across Britain, a phenomenon which became known as Beatlemania. That one of the members was married and had a son was not publicly known at the time; a 1963 "Lifelines of the Beatles" page in the New Musical Express detailed over 25 biographical facts about each member of the group, but never gave any hint Lennon was married, even reporting "girls" as one of his hobbies.

The press heard rumours about Lennon's wife and child at the end of 1963—after Beatlemania had already swept the UK and Europe—and descended on her mother's house in Hoylake (where mother and son were staying), in November and December. Friends and neighbours protected their anonymity, but she was often approached by journalists. In November she had her son christened at the Hoylake parish church, but didn't tell Lennon (who was on tour at the time), because she feared a media circus. She told him two days after, and he was angry as he hadn't wanted his son to be christened, even though Epstein had asked to be Julian's godfather. Not long after the christening, every newspaper was full of the story about Lennon's secret wife and baby boy. Epstein told the other Beatles to make the best of the situation, and hoped that newspapers would not mention that Cynthia was pregnant before marrying him. After living at Lennon's aunt's house for some months, the couple moved to London and found a three-bedroomed flat in Emperor's Gate, off Cromwell Road. The top floor flat was the third of three, which were each built over two floors. This meant climbing six flights of stairs, as the building had no lift. Cynthia firstly had to carry Julian up to the flat, and then go back down to collect shopping bags. The Beatles' fans soon found out where they were living, and she would find them camping out in the hallway, and would have to push through them when leaving or arriving.

She accompanied Lennon to America on the first Beatles' tour there, with Lennon allowing the press to photograph them together, which infuriated Epstein, as he had wanted to keep their marriage a secret. On the tour, she was left behind in New York when Lennon and the other Beatles were quickly ushered into a car, and in Miami she had to ask the help of fans to convince a security guard who she was. Lennon's response was, "Don't be so bloody slow next time—they could have killed you". It would be the only time Cynthia would go on tour with them. At the Emperor's Gate address the situation grew worse, with fans sticking chewing gum in the lock of the flat and tearing at any article of clothing when she or Lennon were leaving or arriving. American girls would write her letters proclaiming their desperate love for John; the women in the lives of the other Beatles would get equivalent missives. As late as 1967, Beatles' wives were still dealing with occasional physical danger from female Beatles' fans, with Cynthia being kicked in the legs by one who demanded that she "leave John alone!"

As Lennon was either touring or recording, supposed family holidays in 1966 were skiing in St. Moritz, with producer George Martin and his girlfriend, or staying at a castle in Ireland, with George Harrison and Pattie Boyd (Harrison's wife). Even these were subject to being discovered by fans, with Cynthia and Pattie having to escape the Irish location by being dressed as maids. As a result of the long recording sessions and tours, Lennon would usually sleep for days afterwards. When Lennon started filming How I Won the War in Almeria, Spain, he promised his wife and son that they could join him there after two weeks of filming. The small apartment they were allocated was swiftly replaced by a villa when Starr and his wife joined them.

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