Many have viewed Cynthia Lennon as the clueless girl who met a pre-Beatles John Lennon when she was 18, and snared him into marriage when she became pregnant with their son, Julian.
In her new book, "John," Cynthia Lennon tells a much different story, painting the picture of a young couple madly in love until drugs, fame and the spell of a formerly unknown artist named Yoko Ono tore them apart.
"I have read so many books and seen so many films, and it's like we don't really exist. We are like walk-on parts in his life," Cynthia Lennon told "Good Morning America." "We did spend 10 years together."
Cynthia and John met in an art class in Liverpool in the 1950s. At first, Cynthia dismissed the would-be Beatle as not her type. That soon changed.
"You couldn't resist being around him," Cynthia Lennon said. "You couldn't resist watching what he was up to. I mean, he was a total rebel. Everybody was amazed by him."
Cynthia and John were married in 1962, but their relationship was sometimes rocky. On one occasion, she claims her husband struck her.
"He was a very jealous young man at the time, and he had a lot of pain inside," Cynthia Lennon said. "He wanted to trust me and he thought by seeing me dancing with a friend of his that I was being disloyal or messing around. So he smacked me, but that was the only time."
This is Cynthia Lennon's second book. In the late 1970s, she published "A Twist of Lennon," which told much of the story of their marriage from 1962 to 1969. In "John," Cynthia fleshes out the details of John's relationship with Julian after the Lennons' divorce, as well as Julian's story after John was slain on Dec. 8, 1980, in New York. John Lennon would have been 65 on Sunday.
"Near the end, before his tragic death, of course, they (John and Julian) were getting close on the phone; they were connecting," Cynthia Lennon said. "It was just coming back and it was wonderful. Then, of course, his life was cut very short."
You can read about Cynthia and John's first meeting at an art school in Liverpool in the excerpt from "John" below.
The late fifties was a wonderful time to be young and setting out in the world. The grim days of the war and postwar deprivation were over; national service had been lifted and teenagers were allowed to be youthful and unafraid. It was as though the gray austerity of the forties had been replaced by a brilliant spectrum of opportunities and possibilities. Britain was celebrating survival and freedom, and the time was ripe for dreams, hopes and creativity.