Scandal: John Lennon and Alma Cogan

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Yoko Ono did not break up the Lennon’s marriage.


Scandal: John Lennon and Alma Cogan

Cynthia Lennon, the first wife of John, died on April 1st, 2015. Four days later, a newspaper broke the story that she had told a reporter, back in 1989, that it wasn’t Yoko Ono that had split up the Lennon marriage.

Cynthia had revealed, the newspaper said, that the breakup of the marriage was due to a once-famous but then-fading British singer called Alma Cogan (pictured).

The newspaper no doubt enjoyed its ‘scoop’ but in fact, Alma’s sister had already revealed a relationship between the singer and the Beatle and Cynthia had strongly hinted at it in her autobiography.

It’s said that the relationship was kept under strict wraps for two reasons, apart from the fact that John was married.

The first was that Alma came from a strict Jewish background. Her family, her mother, in particular, would never have accepted her daughter having a relationship with a married man.

The second was that by the time this affair was taking place, Alma was seen by the public as distinctly passé. Her career had dwindled away to nothing. To Beatles fans, she was someone your parents might have to listen to when you were just a kid.

In fact, when John and Cynthia were at art college in Liverpool, he would joke about her often as being so very square and evidently did impersonations of her.

Who was Alma Cogan?

Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia and John

At one time she was the most highly paid entertainer in the UK. But that was in the nineteen fifties. She had been born in 1932, making her nearly eight years older than John Lennon. But when the sixties arrived, those eight years represented a whole generation. Trying to revive her career she recorded a few Beatles songs but she was too seriously unhip for the Beatles generation. I imagine that most Beatles fans had never heard of her, except as a joke.

Even though her career was sliding fast, she was a great one of having parties at her London home and entertained film stars, television personalities and musicians. Including the Beatles.


This is where it gets a bit crazy for me. Evidently, John Lennon thought that Alma Cogan was his mother Julia reincarnated. Julia, you will remember, died when John was just seventeen. That was in 1958.

Alma Cogan died in 1966 at the age of only thirty-four due to ovarian cancer. It’s said that John Lennon was devastated. Two weeks later, in a vulnerable state, John met Yoko who, until that time, had been nothing more than an irritating fan. Yoko was much the same age as Alma had been. She was the sort of take-charge woman that John needed.

He had been largely brought up by a strict aunt, Mimi – Julia’s sister.

In the recent article, it’s claimed that in 1989:

“Crazed with grief, he confessed to Cynthia, she said, that Alma was a reincarnation of his late mother.

After her death, John found his new ‘Aunt Mimi replacement’ in Yoko Ono.”



Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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