John Lennon’s affair with May Pang started when he and Yoko Ono started to smother each other in their relationship, she revealed. The 18-month romance, during which The Beatles star and his artist wife led separate lives on opposite sides of the US, wasn’t exactly without Ono’s blessing, but how did she really feel about her husband’s affair?
In a 2012 interview with The Telegraph, Ono opened up matter-of-factly about Lennon’s time with Pang, recalling how it started.
Bearing the brunt of animosity from fans who accused her of breaking up The Beatles, she remembered being “very aware that we were ruining each other’s careers”.
“I was hated and John was hated because of me,” she said.
The affair between Lennon and their assistant Pang started in 1973 and ended a year-and-a-half later, when he moved back in with his wife in New York.
“I started to notice that he became a little restless on top of that, so I thought it’s better to give him a rest and me a rest,” Ono revealed.
“May Pang was a very intelligent, attractive woman and extremely efficient. I thought they’d be OK.”
However, despite moving to LA and setting up with Pang, Lennon missed his beloved wife and called her multiple times a day, she said.
“I was prepared to lose him, but it was better he came back,” she said. “I didn’t think I would lose him.”
The Beatles legend Lennon first met Ono at a gallery in London back in 1966 while she was preparing for an exhibition.
Three years later, they tied the knot and would go on to collaborate on a number of albums and works of art.
In was only a year their wedding that The Beatles broke up, with fans’ anger being channelled largely towards Ono as speculation spreads that she was behind the group’s split.
Lennon was shot dead my Mark Chapman outside their New York home at The Dakota, Manhattan, on December 8, 1980.
In his new autobiography, Me, Lennon’s friend Elton John recalled his clash with Ono a couple of years after The Beatles star’s assassination.
“She said she needed to see me, it was urgent. I had to come to New York straight away,” John recalled. “So I got on a plane.”
John said Ono had discovered tapes full of unfinished songs Lennon had been working on before he died and asked him to complete them so they could be released.
However, he felt it was “too soon”, adding: “Actually, I didn’t think the time would ever be right. Trying to work out how to finish songs John Lennon had started writing — I wouldn’t be so presumptuous.”
He continued: “Yoko thought she was honouring John’s legacy, trying to fulfil his wishes, and I was refusing to help.
“I knew I was right, but that didn’t make it any less depressing.
“In the end, she put the songs out as they were, on an album called Milk and Honey.”