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Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono did not get along, a fact that John Lennon knew well. He resented the way McCartney and George Harrison treated Ono and they grew frustrated with her presence in the studio. Despite this, McCartney said he maintained a level of respect with her because she was his bandmate’s partner. He found it impressive that Lennon didn’t hit someone who didn’t show her any respect.

Paul McCartney was proud of the way John Lennon reacted to teasing

Lennon and Ono met in 1966 and married in 1969, shortly after Lennon’s divorce from his first wife, Cynthia. Lennon’s bandmates had their problem with Ono, but so did people outside The Beatles. McCartney recalled watching footage of someone being openly rude to Ono in front of Lennon.

“If you watch some of the great footage in Imagine you see the cartoonist Al Capp,” McCartney said in The Beatles Anthology. “He comes into the bed-in and he’s really bitter. He’s a wicked old git, but John’s brilliant with him. John really wants to deck him but you can see he controls himself.”

McCartney was impressed that Lennon controlled himself, particularly because he would have understood if he hit Capp.

“I think John behaved very well there, because the guy is actually slagging off Yoko — and that’s one thing you don’t do,” he said. “You don’t slag off someone’s missus — that’s tribal time, isn’t it? I think John was very good. It was: ‘Let’s not sink to his level.’”

John Lennon hated the way Paul McCartney and George Harrison treated Yoko Ono

While McCartney took note of Capp’s rude behavior, Lennon paid more attention to the way his bandmates treated his new wife.

“You can quote Paul, it’s probably in the papers, he said it many times at first he hated Yoko and then he got to like her,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971. “But, it’s too late for me. I’m for Yoko. Why should she take that kind of s*** from those people?”

He said he wished he hadn’t punched Harrison for the way he treated her. After The Beatles broke up, he said he wasn’t sure he could ever forgive either of them for their behavior toward her.

“Ringo was all right, so was Maureen, but the other two really gave it to us,” Lennon said. “I’ll never forgive them, I don’t care what f***in’ s*** about Hare Krishna and God and Paul with his ‘Well, I’ve changed me mind.’ I can’t forgive ’em for that, really. Although I can’t help still loving them either.”

He started pulling away from The Beatles when he met Yoko Ono

Though many factors contributed to The Beatles’ break up, Lennon said he began pulling away from the band when he met her.

A black and white picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono sitting on a mattress together. Lennon holds a flower up to his nose.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono | Bettmann/Contributor via Getty

John Lennon Said His Relationship With Beatles Manager Brian Epstein Was ‘Almost Like a Love Affair’

“I had already begun to want to leave, but when I met Yoko is like when you meet your first woman,” he told Playboy, adding, “You leave the guys at the bar. You don’t go play football anymore. You don’t go play snooker or billiards. Maybe some guys do it on Friday night or something, but once I found the woman, the boys became of no interest whatsoever other than being old school friends. ‘Those wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine.’”