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Dark Facts About The Life Of John Lennon

Updated March 16, 2020 115.9k views15 items

John Lennon's name is heavily associated with peace, love, and togetherness. However, the man behind warmhearted classics like "Imagine" was an entirely different person behind the scenes. John Lennon's dark side often took the form of adultery, drugs, and even spousal aggression. The man who is thought of as an icon for the positive energy of the 1960s was reportedly cruel and callous to those he loved the most. 

In some ways, it's not entirely surprising. The lyrics of many of Lennon's classic songs are dark enough to leave listeners wondering, "Did John Lennon hurt his wives?" Many of the lyrics were autobiographical and those closest to Lennon have confirmed that domestic cruelty occurred. Lennon had a legendarily aggressive temper and admitted to some pretty disturbing deeds in interviews throughout his career. Learning a little about John Lennon's history will leave you rethinking your notions of the esteemed Beatle. 

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  • He Abandoned Julian Early In Childhood And Barely Supported Him Financially

    According to Julian Lennon, John was not much of a father figure. John essentially abandoned Julian when he was only 5 years old. In addition to abandoning his son at a young age, John did not provide much in terms of money. Julian received relatively little from John financially while he was growing up and only received a settlement from John’s estate in 2015.

  • Photo: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0

    He May Have Done An Offensive Imitation Of A Disabled Person

    While performing on the show It Was Alright in the 1960s, John Lennon made a series of offensive gestures, including a bizarre face while moving his limbs in an exaggerated fashion. While it’s not 100% clear what Lennon was trying to convey, some viewers interpreted this as Lennon mocking the physically disabled.

  • His Relationship With Yoko Ono Began As An Affair

    Lennon carried on an affair with Yoko Ono while still married to his first wife, Cynthia. Ono would come to Lennon’s home while Cynthia was visiting the country, and his housekeeper later reported that she even walked in on the pair in bed together after returning home from a trip. Cynthia eventually divorced Lennon after Ono became pregnant with Lennon’s child, although Lennon tried to quiet the matter by settling out of court and letting Cynthia take full custody of their son.

  • Photo: Nathan Cox / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    He Neglected His First Wife

    About five years into their marriage, Lennon became uninterested in his first wife, Cynthia. He began neglecting her and frequently leaving her behind when he attended public events. He only took Cynthia to events when the pair were invited together and was rarely at home. Cynthia would sometimes ask to accompany Lennon to studio recordings, concerts, and other outings. Lennon would outright routinely refuse to bring her, making an excuse as to why she had to stay at home.