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John Lennon Was Disgusted With the Nicknames the Press Gave His Wife and Son

John Lennon didn't want the press to find out about his wife and child. When they did, they gave them a nickname that Lennon hated.

A black and white picture of John Lennon and his wife Cynthia Lennon looking over their shoulders toward the camera. They stand in front of several photographers.

John Lennon was the first Beatle to have both a wife and a child. He married Cynthia Lennon just before the explosion of Beatlemania because they discovered she was pregnant. He wanted to keep their relationship private, but news of their nuptials leaked. The press quickly gave Cynthia and the couple’s son, Julian, nicknames, much to Lennon’s disgust.

John Lennon didn’t like the nickname the media gave his wife and child

Lennon and Cynthia married in 1962 after several years of dating. He didn’t have plans to propose to her, but they quietly tied the knot after learning about her pregnancy. He didn’t want people to know he was married, and Cynthia worked to keep her pregnancy under wraps.

A black and white picture of John Lennon and Julian Lennon sitting on a bed between a large stuffed koala and stuffed panda.
John Lennon and Julian Lennon | Keystone Features/Getty Images

“If … the main man in the group, John, was found to be married, then it might take away from that particular success,” Cynthia said in 1985, per NPR. “So I walked around pregnant for quite a long time, hiding it. I’d wear very big, blousy clothes. In fact, I was asked many times if I was John’s wife, and I had to refuse and say, ‘No, no. I’m somebody else.’”

Their relationship came out into the open when The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show added the caption “Sorry girls, he’s married” when Lennon appeared onscreen. From there, the media began referring to Cynthia as “Mrs. Beatle” and Julian as “Baby Beatle” (via The Guardian). Given Lennon’s desire to keep his wife and child a secret, he was disgusted by the nicknames that attached Cynthia and Julian to the band.

John Lennon was embarrassed to have a wife

Lennon admitted that he found marriage and fatherhood embarrassing.

“I did feel embarrassed, walking around married,” he said, per the book John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman. “It felt like walking round with odd socks on or your flies open.”

While he didn’t say why exactly he found it embarrassing, he likely worried that women would no longer be attracted to him. He’d frequently cheated on Cynthia while they were dating, but marriage was far more official. This became of particular concern as The Beatles rose to prominence.

Ultimately, though, his marriage did not keep women away from Lennon, nor did it keep him away from them. He reportedly cheated on Cynthia hundreds of times over the course of their marriage.

Cynthia Lennon shared the difficulties of being married to a Beatle

If it wasn’t challenging enough being married to a man who found her embarrassing, Cynthia had to deal with Beatles fans. Once they knew Lennon had a wife, they turned jealousy and frustration on her. They insulted her when they saw her and could even grow violent. She said that even well-meaning fans put a strain on her home life.

Cynthia Lennon and John Lennon sit on a boat. They wear white shirts and sunglasses. Lennon strums an acoustic guitar.
Cynthia Lennon and John Lennon | Icon and Image/Getty Images

“We woke one morning to find teenage girls, with the de rigueur beehive hairstyle and black eyeliner, camped on the pavement outside,” she wrote in her book John. “After that they were always there, day and night. If any of the residents in the flats accidentally left the front door open they would grab their chance and slip in. We’d find them camped on the lino in the hallway, with sleeping-bags and Thermos flasks.”

As a result, Cynthia and Lennon never had a normal marriage. They faced constant public scrutiny and could rarely go out in public as a family.

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