John Lennon had a child with his first wife, Cynthia. After this, he left Cynthia for his second wife, Yoko Ono, with whom he had a second child, Sean. So did Julian, his first son, receive anything in John Lennon’s will?
After John’s death in 1980, it was revealed all of his wealth had been left to Yoko Ono and Sean.
In comparison, in the original divorce settlement between John and his first wife Cynthia, Julian’s mother, Julian would receive £2,400 a year in maintenance before inheriting a £50,000 trust fund when he was 25-years-old, compared to his younger brother, who would be the main beneficiary of John’s huge earnings.
As a result, it turned out Julian was not left much after John’s death, and in fact, he had to go to court to try and receive something from the will.
In an interview with The Telegraph in 1998, Julian said of his father: “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.
Did John Lennon leave anything to Julian?
“How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces – no communication, adultery, divorce?
“You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.”
Clearly, the father and son had a difficult relationship, compounded by the fact Julian and John’s first wife, Yoko, were not necessarily close.
Speaking directly about Yoko Ono in the same interview, he called her “a hardball, a very strong woman. I admire her – she’s a tough cookie – but I don’t necessarily agree with her”.
Julian Lennon and Sean Ono
Speaking out about the will in the same interview, Julian said: “I don’t think it was necessarily fair, but I’m OK.
“The last thing I wanted was a court battle because there’s much more money on the estate side than my side.
“A court case could have gone on for five years. The slanderous remarks would have been horrific.
“There would not have been a private life for either Sean or me. I just wanted to resolve it, to get the hell out of there; a chapter in my life finished, over with.”
Julian Lennon and Sean Ono with their mothers
Despite these sentiments, there was a well-publicised battle from Julian to attempt to gain a further settlement from the John Lennon estate, which was once estimated to be around £220million.
Julian eventually secured a further settlement from the estate in 1996, but the number was never revealed, and the battle saw Julian go up against the main executor of the estate, Yoko.
In the end, Julian used a great deal of this to buy back some of his father’s possessions, including an Afghan coat worn by John on the cover of the Magical Mystery Tour, and scribbled notes about the song Hey Jude, which is written about him.
It is very difficult to try and work out why this might be, though one interview John gave could reveal quite a bit about his feelings for his two children.
Julian and John Lennon
In an interview with Playboy, he said: “Sean is a planned child, and therein lies the difference.
“I don’t love Julian any less as a child. He’s still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn’t have pills in those days.
“He’s here, he belongs to me and he always will.”
Clearly there were some familial tensions between the father and son, though relationships seem to have softened between Julian and his step-mother, Yoko.