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Where Is John Lennon's Ex May Pang Today?

Grunge 12/4/2022 Joe Garza
May Pang smiling © Bobby Bank/Getty Images May Pang smiling

If you're more than a few years old, you probably don't need an introduction to John Lennon. He was a member of the Beatles, one of the biggest and most influential rock bands of all time. And while he left the band in 1969, as stated in Biography, that did little to diminish his popularity, as he embarked on a successful solo career that lasted until his untimely death on December 8, 1980. Today, he is still regarded as one of the most important figures in pop culture history.

While much of Lennon's life is well-known, there is a person that he was associated with during his post-Beatles era who isn't talked about very much: May Pang, with whom Lennon was in a romantic relationship while he was still married to Yoko Ono. According to Salon, this affair was the culmination of Pang's gradually increasing role in his life. She started out as the couple's assistant before working as a production coordinator on some of Lennon's albums. But who exactly is May Pang, the other impactful woman in Lennon's life?

May Pang's Early Life

May Pang with John Lennon © Keystone/Getty Images May Pang with John Lennon

Before she became an important part of John Lennon's later years, May Pang was born to a Chinese family and spent much of her early childhood in New York City's Spanish Harlem, as stated in Salon. Pang's Asian background made her a veritable outsider both where she lived and where she went to school. However, there was one thing that united her with countless other kids her age: their instant love of the Beatles when they made their American debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964. "I went into it thinking, 'I don't understand this group.' And then from their first note and just the way they looked, I was like 'Oh my God, this is it!' I was a convert," Pang is quoted in Salon.

According to the outlet, even when Pang went to college to prepare herself to get a "real" job, she never lost her love of music, and was determined to start a career in the music industry. And so, she dropped out of school and managed to get a job as a receptionist at ABKCO Records which represented three Beatles after the band had split up: George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and of course, John Lennon.

May Pang's Relationship With John Lennon

May Pang with John Lennon © Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images May Pang with John Lennon

While May Pang was working at ABKCO Records, she got the promotion of a lifetime, upgrading from receptionist to personal assistant to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as stated in Variety. Little did she know that, within a few years, she would enter a year-and-a-half long romantic relationship with a former Beatle. Interestingly enough, it was Ono herself who was instrumental in bringing them together. She and Lennon were experiencing some marriage problems and separated for a time, paving the way for Pang to become Lennon's lover.

Lennon decided to use his time apart from Ono as an opportunity to make another major change in his life. Pang told Variety, " ... John spontaneously decided to go to L.A. on his own and asked me to go with him. Yoko wasn't even aware we had gone until after we left." It was a wild period for them; Lennon indulged in a fair amount of drinking and partying, to the point that he got kicked out of the legendary venue the Troubadour for his rowdy behavior. While Pang says that the stories of debauchery were overstated by the press, she doesn't deny the craziness of life with an ex-Beatle in the City of Angels.

The End Of An Unusual Romance

May Pang speaking onstage © Rick Diamond/Getty Images May Pang speaking onstage

Of course, every party must come to an end, even for someone as famous as John Lennon. For him and May Pang, the end of their fun time together arrived in February of 1974 when they were pressured into heading back to New York City, according to Variety. The reason for their return was to take care of more sober matters, such as figuring out Lennon's immigration status and finalizing his divorce with Yoko Ono. Lennon gave Pang the impression that, once the paperwork was done, their relationship would continue. Pang said, "When John came home, he claimed, 'I'm going to be a free man in six months.'"

However, this turned out to not be the case, as stated in Variety. It seems that Ono attracted Lennon back with the promise of helping him quit smoking. Lennon initially told Pang that he would return to the apartment they shared at the time and that he'd take her out to dinner later that night. Instead, he rekindled his romance with Ono and moved back in with her, a life he would resume until he was tragically murdered in 1980.

Life After Lennon

May Pang posing with her children © Michael Brennan/Getty Images May Pang posing with her children

After her relationship with John Lennon ended, May Pang didn't exactly leave the rock 'n' roll life, as she would later marry Tony Visconti, the producer for David Bowie, according to Variety. Their marriage lasted from 1989 to 2000, and resulted in two children: Lara, who's a design director of fragrances and candles for NEST New York, and Sebastian, who's currently a consultant.

In recent years, though, Pang has largely moved away from the entertainment business. As stated on her website, she spends much of her time today as a photographer and running her feng shui jewelry business. She may have created a whole new life for herself after her rollercoaster relationship with one of the most iconic rock stars of all time, but she hasn't distanced herself from that bygone era completely, as she's written several books on her experience with John Lennon and has helped keep his memory alive through the many photographs that she took of him.

May Pang Sets The Record Straight On Her Time With John Lennon

May Pang smiling © John Lamparski/Getty Images May Pang smiling

Another recent project that May Pang has been a part of is appearing in the documentary "The Lost Weekend: A Love Story," which chronicles her time with John Lennon. Much has been said about her romance with the former Beatle — a lot of it exaggerated or fabricated — despite her efforts to tell the story as it really happened. Pang elaborated on her decision to participate in the documentary, telling Variety, "People have been taking my narrative and talking about my life as if they knew everything about me, and they didn't. I decided it was time to reclaim my own history ... I figured, if there was going to be a film about my life, I should be involved."

While it may be tempting to dismiss Pang and Lennon's affair as yet another scandalous event in the history of rock 'n' roll, what she and the others who appear in "The Lost Weekend: A Love Story" reveal is just how complicated that time was for everyone involved. Salon notes that the documentary gives everyone a chance to share their perceptions of what happened, including Yoko Ono, Elton John, Julian Lennon, and others, giving audiences a fascinating glimpse into a brief yet fiery tale of romance between two people going through major life changes.

Read this next: The Messed Up Truth About The 1970s Music Industry

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