What are ur thoughts on yoko ono? I'm researching her art and I'm thinking abt her as a person I can't remember any actually real like bad things she did I guess but u seem to know the dirt I just wanna know b4 I say I'm a fan ya know? Or just to know about her all around character and it's hard to look it up bc ppl mostly say she evil bc she"broke up the beatlez""". You know? Anyways thank u.
Ye I gotchu. The thing is, when people say they hate her because she broke up the beatles, what they are seeing is that she’s not a very likable person. But they won’t put in the time or effort to figure out why. “She broke up the beatles!!!” is a lazy excuse for an underlying problem. Kudos for doing some research first. GET READY FOR A SHITBOAT OF INFORMATION.
How do you define a really bad person? She certainly didn’t kill anyone, but I definitely don’t like her. Many many many many people she has interacted with have given accounts of her manipulative and obsessive behavior, and she was a lost cause to me once these behaviors began to affect John and his family.
Ironically enough, she was actually our commencement speaker at Pratt a few years ago.
The first thing I feel I have to say is that I don’t believe she broke up The Beatles. Ringo had already left once and George walked out during the recording of Get Back. John had previously expressed his desire to leave but Paul was insistent on keeping the group together, and I’m glad that was the case. Otherwise we wouldn’t have Abbey Road.
If I want to be nice about her relationship with John, I would say half of it was unhealthy because they fueled each other’s bad habits, and the other half was unhealthy because they were actively abusive to one another. I would never say that they didn’t love one another, but I would say that their relationship was harmful. Here is a timeline of their relationship [x]
Let’s start with how Yoko met John. The popular story is that John was invited to one of her shows by a third party. The reality is that she had been… basically stalking him (while they were each married to other people), and persisted even after receiving no response.
“On many levels she was very manipulative. I think she knew exactly what she was doing from day one. She played it innocent, but I think she had it all planned.”
-Julian Lennon [x]
This is a passage from Peter Brown’s book (Brian Epstein’s second hand man, who was also featured in a line from The Ballad of John and Yoko), The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles. [x]
John and Yoko were both addicted to heroin from the late 60s to early 70s. John stated that it was because of the lack of acceptance Yoko was receiving from friends and the general public. Although this turmoil affected the both of them, it is a prime example of the bad habits they shared, and not a nurturing environment for a healthy relationship.
“Heroin. It just was not too much fun. I never injected it or anything. We sniffed a little when we were in real pain. I mean we just couldn’t - people were giving us such a hard time. And I’ve had so much shit thrown at me and especially at Yoko.”
-John Lennon, Lennon Remembers, Jann S Wenner [x]
In 1972, John met one of his longtime idols Chuck Berry. While they were performing together, Yoko started screeching into a mic and freaked Chuck Berry and pretty much everybody else the fuck out. John was embarrassed in front of his idol, and the video became infamous. Look at Chuck’s face, that is the face of FEAR. [x]
They were also intense dieters. John’s troubles with food were no secret. His self esteem fell into a downward spiral after a reporter called him “the fat beatle” in 1965. While I don’t believe he had an eating disorder, he was very obviously underweight and struggling with his image. Yoko was nothing but encouraging of this endeavor, and even joined him on some of his diets.
“We had a picture of Orson Welles in the control room as “Don’t do this,” because he was enormous. So yeah, John was conscious of his image. And he always thought of himself as the fat Beatle.”
-Flipp Brynn [x]
“John and I were having a heart-to-heart, then all of a sudden John went off about how powerful men had ravenous appetites and wanted to swallow the world whole. And he thought that was why he had this horrible problem – being hungry all the time and overeating.“
- Harry Nilsson [x]
The Lost Weekend 1973-1975: even when Yoko wasn’t with John, she needed to be in control of who was. In ‘73 she suggested that John move to LA to build sexual relationships with other women. Little did he know that she had been setting him up with their receptionist May Pang all along. May had this to say about it;
Yoko said John would start seeing someone new and she wanted it to be “someone who would treat John well”. I now sensed a bombshell coming. I was thinking: “If they split, who will I be working for?”
Yoko continued: “You don’t have a boyfriend.” I dropped my pad and pen. Did I just hear right?
I assured her I wasn’t interested in John, if that’s what she was thinking, but Yoko didn’t stop there: “I think you should go out with him.”
I was dumbfounded and kept telling her no, but apparently her mind was made up.”
-May Pang [x]
’…. the relationship between May and John was essentially initiated, controlled and then terminated by Yoko Ono.‘
-May Pang, forward for Loving John
While the initiation of their relationship was forced, May Pang had a positive influence on John. She encouraged him to re-engage with old friends (including Paul McCartney), and even arranged the first visit he’d had with his son Julian in over four years. Being with Yoko seemed to have disconnected him from the world.
Notorious for the public perception as an orgy of drink and drugs, the Lost Weekend also found Lennon regaining his musical creativity after an early 1970s lull, reconciling with Paul McCartney and rebuilding his relationship with his son Julian, both of which were encouraged by Pang. In March 1974 she took the last known photograph of Lennon and McCartney together.
-Beatles Bible [x]
There were instances where Yoko would call and ask about everything John had done that day, but refused to talk to him when May would offer. Yoko had closed the door on their relationship, and turned it into a one-way mirror.
VG: With Yoko telephoning daily it must have felt like a third party in the relationship. What was it like for you and John?
MP: The problem was 99% of her calls weren’t “Hello, how are you?” First they were directives to keep our relationship quiet, which was fine with me. Then John ‘announced it to the world’ by kissing me for Time Magazine and crisis mode kicked in. She would call with instructions of what to say, that she had thrown John out. She’d call everyday to remind us of what to say. One drama after another.
VG: Did you and John ever discuss marriage or having children together?
MP: Only when Yoko threatened to divorce him, John told me, “Soon I’ll be a free man…” One thing I learned being with John was to live spur-of-the-moment. There was always some new, unplanned adventure, almost on a daily basis.
VG: Did yours feel like a permanent relationship, or was there always a feeling that John would eventually go back to Yoko?
MP: Sometimes it would feel permanent, but he could be jerked back into Yoko’s mind games very easily. Also, as our relationship began so strangely I suppose it would have had to end just as strange, this was at the point when he was making moves to make a complete break from her. We were about to buy a home in Montauk, John had cemented a closer relationship with Julian as well as with Paul and plans for us to visit him and Linda in New Orleans too.
-May Pang and Viv Goldberg, Beatles Bible [x]
Now I can’t say that the lost weekend is 100% Yoko’s fault, but she went to excessive lengths in order to control it. John cheated on her, and there’s been evidence of her cheating on him as well. This is what happens when you have a relationship founded upon infidelity.
In 1975, Paul convinced Yoko to take John back (funny how that works, or maybe Paul is just a good person), and they had Sean less than a year later.
But wait a minute! Yoko had a daughter too! This is a sad story and could be a factor of sympathy for many readers. What ever happened to her? Her name was Kyoko Chan Cox (raised under the name Ruth Holman) and she was born in 1963 of Yoko’s second marriage. Yoko and her husband Anthony Cox were having trouble with their relationship. They ultimately divorced in 1969. Yoko ended up losing the custody battle and was deemed an unfit mother due to her drug use and mental history. Unfortunately, Cox disappeared with then 8 year old Kyoto during the battle and sadly Yoko didn’t see her again until 1998.
I feel like I need an entirely new post, or maybe even a book, for Julian. Yoko was very cruel to him. If Julian called their house, not only would she prevent him from talking to John, she would also pretend the phone call had never taken place. When John died, Julian was seventeen years old. There was a very sad article I read awhile ago which explained that when John passed away, Julian and Cynthia were anxious to get to New York to attend his funeral. Yoko initially prohibited either of them from coming, but eventually struck up a deal where Julian was allowed to visit but Cynthia had to stay behind in Wales. Cynthia recalled how worried she was in the airport while she was seeing him off. Her son’s father had just passed away, and she wasn’t able to stay with him to make sure he was okay. I can’t find the article at the moment, but if anyone knows about it please add a link.
Immediately after he passed away, Yoko auctioned many of John’s things to private buyers without offering any of them to Julian. He spent most of his inherited estate buying his father’s possessions back from these buyers, including a postcard he had written to his father when he was a young boy. [x]
Yoko had even withheld Julian’s trust fund for 16 years.
“In the original divorce settlement, Julian was to receive £2,400 a year in maintenance and to inherit a £50,000 trust fund when he was 25. After a long legal wrangle, he secured a further settlement from the estate in 1996, the details of which he is forbidden to discuss. “No,” he says, “I don’t think it was necessarily fair, but I’m OK. The last thing I wanted was a court battle because there’s much more money on the estate side than my side.”
He didn’t much care about the money, he says wearily; it was the principle of the thing. He’s not after a sympathy vote, but what he found really sad was the lack of any personal mementoes, “seeing nothing offered to me at all, having to go out and buy back Dad’s stuff with his money”.
He recently paid £30,373 for the Afghan coat John Lennon wore on the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour album in 1967; £17,246 for a black velvet cape (worn in the Beatles’ film, Help!), and £25,000 for the scribbled notes of the song Hey Jude, written by Paul McCartney for Julian when his parents were splitting up.
-Julian Lennon interview with Elizabeth Grice, 1998 [x]
I think I’ve linked this interview with Julian twice already, but it’s a really great video and you should definitely watch it. [x]
There’s a lot of stuff here, but there’s also a lot more. If I wanted to be short about it I could have just mentioned how Yoko had John calling her “Mother.” With what we know about John and his mother, that nickname made Yoko out to be an invaluable person in his life.