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John Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, was likely more familiar with the musician’s caustic side than most. The couple did not separate on good terms, and Cynthia dealt with his coldness and infidelity throughout their marriage. After their divorce, Cynthia learned that musician Terri Hooley punched Lennon. She told Hooley he should have hit him harder.

Cynthia Lennon joked that musician Terri Hooley should have punched John Lennon harder

In 1970, Hooley met Lennon in London. They were looking for radio equipment, but Lennon, incorrectly believing they were members of the IRA, offered to give them weapons.

“Me and a few friends had just set up a pirate radio station in the Craigantlet Hills and were in London to get equipment for it when I met Lennon,” Hooley told the Belfast Telegraph. “I can clearly remember that one of Lennon’s friends brought us to a garage and showed us guns and asked us if we wanted to bring them back home. They obviously thought we were ‘the lads.’ We were ‘the lads,’ just not the ones they thought we were.”

Later that night, Hooley confronted Lennon about not being a pacifist. 

“Later that night I met Lennon himself and got in an argument with him, about not being a pacifist,” he said. “There was some talk of money being sent to the IRA and I chinned him. He hit me back.”

The two musicians stopped fighting when Hooley’s glass eye fell onto the floor. Later, he talked about the disagreement with Cynthia.

“We were doing the Gerry Anderson show and one of the producers told her I’d met John,” he said. “She asked me how that had gone and I told her we hadn’t got on. She wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear that and said he’d been very difficult to live with.”

Hooley added that Cynthia seemed disappointed her ex-husband hadn’t walked away in worse shape.

“He was stoned so it wasn’t my proudest moment,” he told the Irish Times. “When I met Cynthia [Lennon’s first wife] and told her, she said, ‘You should have hit him harder!'”

John Lennon and Cynthia Lennon did not end their marriage on good terms

Cynthia had good reason to feel unhappy with Lennon. Their marriage ended on poor terms because of his infidelity. Not long before they split, Lennon admitted to having cheated on her with hundreds of women. While he insisted he wanted to make their marriage work, she soon found him in their home with Yoko Ono

George Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Maureen Starkey wear formal wear and stand in a line in front of a crowd.
George Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Maureen Starkey | Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images

George Harrison Shared Why He Felt Closer to John Lennon Than Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr

When Cynthia got news that Lennon wanted a divorce, she also learned that he was seeking full custody of their son and had hired a detective to follow her.

The Beatle got into many fights in his life

The fight with Hooley was one of many Lennon got into in his life. He admitted to fighting a great deal while he was in school.

“I did a lot of swearing and shouting, then got a quick punch,” he said in The Beatles Anthology. “If there was a bit of blood, then you packed in. After that, if I thought someone could punch harder than me, I said, ‘OK, we’ll have wrestling instead.’ I was aggressive because I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be the leader.”

Lennon said he swore off fighting after a friend sued him, though the incident with Hooley happened long after this.