Yoko Ono Called John Lennon 15 Times a Day When They Were Broken Up, His Ex Says
May Pang opens up about her romance with the late Beatle in a new documentary.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono's relationship is a very well-documented one, considering they collaborated on music, hung around with the Beatles, and famously protested the Vietnam War together. But, though they were married for 11 years, until his death in 1980, there was a year-and-a-half of that time during which they were not together. For 18 months, beginning in 1973, Lennon was in a relationship with May Pang, who was the couple's shared assistant.
Pang has spoken out about their romance over the years, including in her 1983 book Loving John. Now, she's sharing more of her story in the documentary The Lost Weekend: A Love Story. The movie takes its title from the phrase—a reference to the 1945 movie—that was applied to this period in the Beatle's life, when he was partying and heavily using substances. "People don't understand that the phrase wasn't about our relationship," Pang told The Guardian.
The now 72-year-old has also revealed in the past that Ono was the one to encourage her and Lennon to date when she and the musician were on a break. And in a new interview, Pang shares just how much Ono was still involved in the relationship once it began. According to her, Ono called Lennon repeatedly when they were split up—sometimes up to 15 times a day. Read on to find out more.
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Pang says Ono set her up with Lennon.
In a new interview with The Guardian about the documentary, Pang recalled Ono's request. The Japanese artist asked Pang if she had a boyfriend, and she said no.
"Then she said: 'You're nice and you don't want him to go out with somebody that's not going to be nice to him, right?' I said: 'Of course not.' So, she said: 'You're perfect.' I said 'no' and she kept saying 'yes,'" Pang remembered. "Then she walked out the door. Later, John told me that she went to him after and said: 'I fixed it for you.'"
She added that neither she nor Lennon were sure about starting a relationship at first but that he eventually made a move, and she became interested.
"I didn't know where it was going to lead," Pang told People. "I was like, 'What's going to happen?' I was very content in working. [But] he kept saying, 'I don't know where this is going to lead, but let's just do the jump.'"
At the time, Pang was 23 years old while Lennon was 33. Ono was seven years older than Lennon.
Ono called Lennon repeatedly, Pang claims.
Pang told People that though she was with Lennon and they spent much of their time in Los Angeles far away from Ono in New York, his wife was still a presence in their relationship. She claimed that Ono sometimes called Lennon 15 times per day, according to People.
Speaking to The Guardian, she said that Ono would "call a million times a day … It was over nothing. She would say: 'I just wanted you to know that I took a walk around the block.'"
According to Philip Norman's Lennon biography (via the Daily Mail), both Ono and Lennon would call each other often, with Lennon asking if he could return home. The biography also claims that Lennon was encouraging Ono to have sex with other men during their break.
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Ono and Lennon rekindled their relationship.
According to Pang, she and Lennon had a great time together and bonded over their love of music. She went on to become a music executive herself.
"He was just an interesting person," she told People. "He really loved everything, and wanted to explore. He loved to get up, have his coffee in the morning. He loved blueberry pancakes, he loved swimming. He was just an awesome person who wanted to discover things."
She says that she encouraged him to spend more time with his son, Julian Lennon, and to start writing with Paul McCartney again. In fact, she and Lennon were planning to go visit Paul and Linda McCartney right before he got back together with Ono, she told Variety. Instead, Lennon took Ono up on an offer to see a hypnotist she said would help him stop smoking.
"You just know," Pang told People of realizing their relationship was over. "He was not the same when I saw him [again]."
Ono has said Lennon was calling her just as often.
In a 2012 interview with The Telegraph, Ono discussed her separation from Lennon. She explained that it became hard to deal with the hate directed at her for her relationship with the musician. She also said that they had grown too close.
"The affair was something that was not hurtful to me," the now-90-year-old said of his relationship with Pang. "I needed a rest. I needed space. Can you imagine every day of getting this vibration from people of hate? You want to get out of that."
She continued, "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. May Pang was a very intelligent, attractive woman and extremely efficient. I thought they'd be OK."
As for the phone calls, Ono said they were not one-sided. "We missed each other," she said. "We were calling each other every day. Some days he would call me three or four times. He lived in LA, but that was fine. I was prepared to lose him, but it was better he came back. I didn't think I would lose him."
Pang and Lennon kept seeing each other.
While their public relationship ended, Pang and Lennon occasionally met up and continued their affair.
"He'd secretly come over to see me. He would say, 'You know, I still love you,'" she told People. "He said things to me that were really very intimate and you could sense there was something still. It was gnawing at him. It was not a finished situation."
She added, "The beginning was still raw. Now, I see it as a gift. Our relationship was a gift and it was meant to be," she says. "I was happy I could give him something that he felt good about, that he never felt before."
As for Lennon and Ono, they went on to welcome their son, Sean Lennon, together in 1975. They remained married until Lennon was killed in 1980 at age 40.