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Why Julian Lennon was forced to buy the letters he wrote to his father

It is well known that John Lennon and his son Julian had a complicated relationship. Julian is John’s son from his first wife, Cynthia and is named after his father’s mother, Julia, who died when he was only young. 

Famously, Julian Lennon inspired three of the most beloved Beatles songs, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Good Night’. However, John and Julian found themselves growing apart after his parent’s divorce in 1968 following his affair with Yoko Ono. 

After John was murdered in December 1980, Julian expressed his confusion and resentment towards his father: “I’ve never really wanted to know the truth about how dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me … like when he said I’d come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that.”

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He continued: “You think, where’s the love in that? Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit … more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad”.

Notably, Julian was also cynical about his father’s ‘peace and love’ message, as the character he knew was the complete opposite of the one that is so iconic.

“I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite”, he told The Daily Telegraph. “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. 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”.

Julian clearly has a strange relationship with his stepmother Yoko, and it seems that after John’s death, things got even more bizarre. The story goes that Julian was excluded from his father’s will after his death. However, John had created a trust valued at £100,000 that was to be shared by Julian and his half-brother Sean. In response to this, Julian decided to sue his father’s estate in 1996, and eventually, a settlement was reached for £20 million, authorised by Ono herself. 

Allegedly, this wasn’t the first time that Ono was horrid to Julian. He had to buy back letters and postcards that he had written to his father, and the ones he’d recieved in return because Ono refused to hand them over. 

Julian revealed during a 1999 interview on The Dini Petty Show, that the money he got from the settlement he has used to buy back other belonging of his father’s.

He said: “The most ironic thing is with the settlement that I did receive, is that I’ve been buying his stuff back with that, so, I’m buying his stuff back with his money, which is absolutely insane.”

Watch the interview below. 

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