The Truth About John Lennon And Yoko Ono's Relationship

They met at one of her art shows. Yoko Ono didn't know who John Lennon was. "She'd only heard of Ringo, I think," Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971. They were both shy. She later approached him for financial backing for one of her art shows and gave him a copy of her book "Grapefruit." And in reading the book, he said, he began to fall in love with her.

"Yoko is as important to me as Paul and Dylan rolled into one," Lennon told Rolling Stone. "I don't think she will get recognition until she's dead. There's me, and maybe I could count the people on one hand that have any conception of what she is or what her mind is like, or what her work means ..."

Lennon asked her over to his place while his wife was away, and played recordings for her. They collaborated on "Two Virgins," completing the track as the dawn broke, and at that point made love. "It was very beautiful," Lennon said. According to the Australian site Who, John's wife returned to find them in robes. Divorce followed soon after. Lennon began bringing Ono to rehearsals and recording sessions with the other Beatles, and they married on March 20, 1969.

The 'bagism' period

After their marriage, Ono and Lennon began pursuing their own spirituality in their so-called "bagism" period. During this time, they hosted a series of staged "bed-ins," like "sit-ins" but from a bed, to protest war, per Vogue. In an interview with British journalist David Frost, Ono defined "bagism" as meaning a world without prejudice. Basically, the idea is that if everyone lived inside a bag, no one would be discriminated against for the color of their skin or the length of their hair or their gender expression (via Far Out Magazine).

The interviewer grabbed the low-hanging fruit and made a joke that people living in bags wouldn't be discriminated against for those things, but instead because they lived in a bag, poking some fun at Lennon and Ono's new life theory. But still, the word became famous as a big part of their peace and love campaign, per Far Out Magazine.

The Beatles break up

In 1970, one year later, the world-renowned boy group disbanded, per Vogue. The band's breakup was naturally the center of tabloid news, leading many to speculate that maybe Ono was responsible for the band coming apart (via Vogue). But Ono herself told Vogue that the band was so strongly tied together that no outside force could really be held responsible for breaking them up, according to Rolling Stone. Instead, it had to be a rift between the members of the group. In the end, Ono too suffered from the fame of Lennon, being called racist names by fans and receiving lots of hate in being blamed for the boys' breakup, per Rolling Stone.

Fed up with the drama between bandmates, George Harrison one day packed up his guitar and left, saying he was "out of here," per Rolling Stone. Later during a practice session, Ono took Harrison's place. Per Rolling Stone, Ono wanted to be a part of The Beatles with her relationship with Lennon, but the others rejected the idea of adding her into the group. This drama went on for years until one day after the release of "Abbey Road," when Lennon announced he was breaking the group up, per Rolling Stone.

Lennon's murder

The Beatles were already breaking up by the time Ono came along. Paul McCartney told Howard Stern that as early as 1968, Lennon was talking about leaving the group. As Biography quotes the conversation, "But looking back on it you think, 'The guy was totally in love with her and you've got to respect that.' So, we did. And I do."

Whether in love or not, the relationship had its difficult moments. Lennon had an 18-month "long weekend" starting in 1973, separating from Ono and engaging in an affair with May Pang, the couple's assistant (via Biography). In an extraordinary move, Ono gave the affair her blessing, telling The Telegraph in 2012, "The affair was not something that was hurtful to me. ... I needed a rest." She added, "I was prepared to lose him, but it was better he came back." Ono and Lennon reconciled and went on to have a son, Sean, born in October 1975. Ono was with John when Mark David Chapman fired the fatal gunshots on December 8, 1980, outside their New York apartment building, killing the 40-year-old Lennon.