Yoko & Julian Battled Over John Lennon's Estate
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When John Lennon of the Beatles was tragically murdered in 1980, his controversial widow, Yoko Ono, took charge of his legacy and his fortune … but where did that leave his two sons? As arguably the most successful songwriter of all time, what did Lennon leave behind?
And what did the King of Pop have to do with John Lennon‘s legacy?
He famously sang “All You Need Is Love.” When it came to leaving money for his first-born son, John Lennon must have had that song in mind, because he apparently didn’t believe that Julian needed money. In fact, according to Lennon’s first wife, Julian’s mother Cynthia, the man known as the “cool” Beatle was a cruel negotiator during their divorce. Cynthia says he refused to give more than 75,000 pounds for her and Julian, supposedly telling her she wasn’t worth any more.
As part of the 1967 divorce, Lennon created a trust for Julian to receive 100,000 pounds when he turned 21, but he had to split that equally with any other children born to Lennon. From then on, Lennon saw his son Julian no more than once per year, and sometimes went years without seeing him at all.
The story was much different before the divorce. Julian and Cynthia lived with Lennon for Julian’s first five years of life. Reportedly, Lennon set up a trust at that time, with about 250,000 pounds for Julian to receive when he turned 25. But when Yoko Ono came on the scene — helping to end Lennon’s first marriage — Lennon’s relationship as a father to Julian, for all practical purposes, ended as well.
Cynthia wrote in a book that Julian and his father started to become closer at the very end of Lennon’s life. But, in a 1980 interview — not long before he was shot and killed — Lennon said that Julian was born from an unplanned pregnancy. He even said Julian “came out of a whiskey bottle,” unlike Lennon’s son born later from his marriage to Yoko Ono.
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