John Lennon’s marriage to his first wife came crashing down after he began sleeping with second wife Yoko Ono. The Beatles star was caught red-handed by his wife when she returned home from holiday and found Yoko in her house, wearing a bathrobe and sipping on a cup of tea. The entire marriage was a dramatic rollercoaster ride.
John married artist Cynthia Powell in 1962. They had met in 1957 while they were both students at the Liverpool College of Art. When he asked her out, she told him she was engaged and he responded: "I didn't ask you to f***ing marry me, did I?" John was jealous by nature and grew to be possessive of Cynthia. He'd often terrify her with his anger and physical violence. He later said that it wasn't until he met his second wife Yoko that he questioned his chauvinistic attitude towards women.
And he said that Beatles song Getting Better told his own story through the lyrics. He told Playboy in 1980: "It is a diary form of writing. All that 'I used to be cruel to my woman / I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved' was me. "I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace.
"Everything's the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster." They married after Cynthia fell pregnant with their son Julian, but as Beatlemania took off, they were asked to keep their marriage a secret over fears that it could alienate the fans.
But it all came crashing down when Cynthia found John with Yoko when she arrived at their home in Kenwood. Cynthia, who died in 2015, left the house to move in with friends. John and Yoko had first met in November 1966 at a gallery in London where she was preparing her art exhibition. She began calling him and visiting him at his home.
When Cynthia asked for an explanation, John told her that Yoko was simply trying to obtain money for her "avant-garde bulls**t". But while Cynthia was on holiday in May 1968, John invited Yoko over and they spent the night recording what would later become his Two Virgins album.
He said that they "made love at dawn" Cynthia came home and found Yoko wearing her bathrobe and drinking tea with John, who simply said: "Oh hi". Another twist came in the tale when Alexis Mardas, also known as Magic Alex, an electronics engineer who had a close association with the Beatles, claimed to have had sex with Cynthia that night she left the house after finding him with Yoko.
Weeks later, he told her John was seeking a divorce and custody of Julian on the grounds of her adultery. After negotiations, John agreed to let her divorce him on the same grounds and the case was settled out of court in November 1968, with him giving her £100,000, a small annual payment and custody of Julian.
Alexis died in 2017. Cynthia also credited the start of the breakdown of the marriage to John's use of LSD. She felt he slowly lost interest in her because of his use of the drug. Cynthia also said once that the end of their marriage was symbolised by an incident in which a police officer didn't recognise her and stopped her boarding a train with the band in Wales.
John and Yoko then tied the knot just months later in 1969. They were married until John was tragically murdered on December 8, 1980, at the age of 40. He was gunned down by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman outside his home in New York as a devastated Yoko watched on. The star was rushed to an emergency room in a police cruiser after being shot four times, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chapman didn't flee the scene after committing the murder but sat patiently reading a copy of JD Salinger's novel The Catcher In The Rye until police arrived to arrest him. He was recently denied parole for the 11th time and remains behind bars. Yoko, who is now 87, shared son Sean with John.