Jane Asher announces her separation from Paul McCartney

Saturday, July 20, 1968

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On this day, Jane Asher was invited on the BBC Television show Dee Time, and publicly announced that her engagement to Paul McCartney had been called off, an announcement that surprised McCartney himself.

I haven’t broken it off, but it is broken off, finished. I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn’t worked out. Perhaps we’ll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we’re about 70.

Jane Asher, interviewed by Simon Dee, on the BBC Television show Dee Time

She would repeat the same message to the London Evening Standard’s Ray Connolly:

I know it sounds corny but we’re still very close friends. We really are. We see each other and we love each other, but it hasn’t worked out. That’s all there is to it. Perhaps we’ll be childhood sweethearts and meet and get married again when we’re about seventy.

Jane Asher

At this date, Paul McCartney was still having a relationship with Francie Schwartz (she would join the Beatles during the “Mad Day Out” photo session some days later) and had already met Linda Eastman, who would become his wife in March 1969.

About the relationship between Jane Asher and Paul McCartney, from Wikipedia:

[…] On 18 April 1963, the 17-year-old Asher interviewed the Beatles at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney. In December 1963, McCartney took up residence at Asher’s family Wimpole Street town house and stayed there until the couple moved into McCartney’s own home located in St John’s Wood in 1966. McCartney wrote several Beatles songs inspired by her, including “And I Love Her“, “You Won’t See Me“, “I’m Looking Through You” and “We Can Work It Out“. McCartney and Asher announced on Christmas Day 1967 that they were engaged to be married, and in February and March 1968, Asher accompanied the Beatles and their respective partners to Rishikesh to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation training session with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In mid 1968, Asher returned to London from an acting assignment in Bristol earlier than expected and discovered McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz. A fan who frequently loitered around Paul’s Cavendish Avenue home claims to have witnessed the incident, saying: “Paul brought this American girl home… [and a little while later]… another car turned into Cavendish Avenue—it was Jane. She’d come back… earlier than she was supposed to. Jane went into the house. A bit later on, she came storming out again and drove away.” Shortly after, Margaret Asher drove to Cavendish Avenue to collect her daughter’s things.

On 20 July 1968, Asher announced publicly to the BBC that her engagement to McCartney had been called off, an announcement that shocked many people, including McCartney himself. At the time of Asher’s announcement, McCartney was at his father’s home with Schwartz by his side. Though Schwartz confirmed that Asher did see them in bed together, she claims that she was not the sole reason for the breakup, and that the couple were on the verge of separating prior to Asher’s walking in. Authors Hunter Davies and Barry Miles state that the relationship always had several problems, one of them being that McCartney wanted Asher to give up her acting career after they married, which Asher refused to do. Another prevalent problem in the relationship was McCartney’s drug use and frequent womanising. After returning to London from a five-month acting tour of the United States in May 1967, Asher found McCartney to be completely different, confiding in Davies that McCartney had “changed so much. He was on LSD, which I hadn’t shared. I was jealous of all the spiritual experiences he’d had with John. There were fifteen people dropping in all day long. The house had changed and was full of stuff I didn’t know about.” […]

Paul McCartney about his relationship with Jane Asher:

I always feel very wary including Jane in The Beatles’ history. She’s never gone into print about our relationship, whilst everyone on earth has sold their story. So I’d feel weird being the one to kiss and tell. We had a good relationship. Even with touring there were enough occasions to keep a reasonable relationship going. To tell the truth, the women at that time got sidelined. Now it would be seen as very chauvinist of us. Then it was like: ‘We are four miners who go down the pit. You don’t need women down the pit, do you? We won’t have women down the pit.’ A lot of what we, The Beatles, did was very much in an enclosed scene. Other people found it difficult – even John’s wife, Cynthia, found it very difficult – to penetrate the screen that we had around us. As a kind of safety barrier we had a lot of ‘in’ jokes, little signs, references to music; we had a common bond in that and it was very difficult for any ‘outsider’ to penetrate. That possibly wasn’t good for relationships back then.

Paul McCartney – from The Beatles Anthology

I think inevitably when I moved to Cavendish Avenue, I realised that she and I weren’t really going to be the thing we’d always thought we might be. Once or twice we talked about getting married, and plans were afoot but I don’t know, something really made me nervous about the whole thing. It just never settled with me, and as that’s very important for me, things must feel comfortable for me, I think it’s a pretty good gauge if you’re lucky enough. You’re not always lucky enough, but if they can feel comfortable then there’s something very special about that feeling. I hadn’t quite managed to be able to get it with Jane.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles

Last updated on July 4, 2021

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