When John Lennon Admitted Abusive Behaviors Towards Cynthia Powell

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The Beatles released their eighth studio album entitled ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on May 26, 1967, and it was one of the most popular and commercially successful records of the band. The record reached number one on the charts all around the world. It was considered as another remarkable work that was created as a part of the Lennon–McCartney partnership along with a great example of British psychedelia.

One of the tracks from the album, ‘Getting Better,’ was written by the late Beatle John Lennon, and later he revealed that it’s based on his own life and relationships with different women. The lyrics, ‘I used to be cruel to my woman /I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved/ Man, I was mean but I’m changing my scene /And I’m doing the best that I can (fool, you fool)’ shows that Lennon was abusive toward some of his lovers; let’s look at one of the inspirations behind this song, Cynthia Powell.

The Relationship Between John Lennon and Cynthia Powell

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John Lennon and Cynthia Powell met while they were studying at the Liverpool College of Art in 1957, and they began dating shortly after that. However, Powell decided to break up with Lennon after he hit her because he was jealous. The woman unveiled that Lennon became furious when he saw her dancing with Stuart Sutcliffe. Lennon regretted his behaviors and wanted to reunite, so Powell accepted the singer’s apology.

Here’s what Powell said about their marriage:

“It was a bizarre marriage by comparison to any others. There was no photographer. We don’t even have a photo from the day, and the guy who married us looked like he was doing a funeral, never mind a marriage.”

After Lennon found out Powell was pregnant, they decided to tie the knot on August 23, 1962, but the wedding was kept as a secret for a while for the sake of public relations. She defined it as a very bizarre wedding and almost like a funeral. They later had a son named Julian but their happiness didn’t last long. The problems started to arise between the couple especially when Lennon got heavily addicted to LSD, but this was just the beginning.

John Lennon Abused Cynthia Powell During Their Relationship

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Cynthia Powell decided to break up with Lennon when she saw him with Yoko Ono while they were sitting on the floor at their house at Kenwood. She was so shocked and humiliated that she left the house. Then, Powell learned that Lennon wanted to divorce because of on the grounds of her adultery with Roberto Bassanini, but she denied this accusation. Finally, they reached a settlement in 1968 and Powell took the custody of their son Julian.

Moreover, in one of the previous interviews that he joined, Lennon admitted that he was cruel to the women in his life for a very long time by describing himself as a ‘hitter.’ His confession made everyone remember that he hit Powell too when they were lovers so he had abusive behaviors toward her. Lennon’s ex-wife clearly stated that it was just an instant reaction and never did that again, but it can still be said that Lennon felt guilty about it.

In Lennon’s words, he said:

I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.”

Powell added:

“It was just an instant and he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t do it again, and I wouldn’t have been with him if he had. It was the first and last time he lifted a finger to me.”

However, their son Julian Lennon was not as forgiving as his mother and targeted his father saying that he can’t talk about love and peace after he had cheated on his wife and never taken care of his son along with calling Lennon a ‘hypocrite.’ Consequently, even though Powell didn’t define her ex-husband as an abuser, Lennon didn’t forget himself about it so he wrote ‘Getting Better’ to open up about himself and state that he’s changed.

Their son Julian responded:

“Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces — no communication, adultery, divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”

You can listen to the song below.