May Pang is telling her side of the story of her affair with John Lennon.
This week, a trailer debuted for the new documentary “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story”, which charts the romance between the former Beatle and his assistant 10 years his junior.
The then-22-year-old Pang tells Variety that it was Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, who originally set them up, leading to their whirlwind romance, which lasted a little more than a year, beginning ind 1972.
“Yes, Yoko did approach me, and I thought it was insane,” Pang says. “I told her I wasn’t interested at all. They were having problems in their marriage; they actually weren’t talking to each other. But 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.”
Lennon’s so-called “Lost Weekend” involved his alleged drunken escapades in Los Angeles with Pang, as well as friends Alice Cooper, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Micky Dolenz.
“People have been taking my narrative and talking about my life as if they knew everything about me, and they didn’t,” Pang explains. “I decided it was time to reclaim my own history. It’s my version. I figured, if there was going to be a film about my life, I should be involved. Who better to tell the story than me? I lived it. These are my memories. No one experienced it like I did. Why should I let somebody else talk about my time with John? He understood better than anybody. He used to say to me, ‘May, it’s your opinion. It’s your life. Just be aware that people are going to be talking about you. And they are going to lie about it.’”
Recalling how the romance began in 1972, Pang says, “Yoko kept pushing, but I waited for John to make the first move. It was not something that I wanted. Afterwards, I’d say to him, ‘Where is this going?’ And he’d say, ‘I don’t know. I’m just tired of being pushed around. And ya know what? I’m just going for it.’ He wasn’t happy in his marriage, and it made life miserable for everyone working around them.”
She also reveals that with reporters questioning their relationship, Pang wasn’t proud of being known as Lennon’s other woman.
“I felt awful, and I told John that,” she says. “Yoko was calling 10-15 times a day wanting to know what was going on. Little did I know, she was cheating on him at the same time. I had no idea, and neither did John. We found out together.”
She adds, “I just wanted to treat him as a regular person. I didn’t want to be his mother, but I did act as his secretary, his personal assistant. I would answer the phones for him. Once we got together, I no longer worked for him. But I wanted to help him with everyday stuff. I wanted it to be just me and him.”
In 1974, Pang and Lennon returned to New York to deal with his immigration status in the U.S.
“Yoko told John she wanted a divorce and ordered him to her attorney’s office to sign the papers. When John came home, he claimed, ‘I’m going to be a free man in six months,’” Pang says.
Thinking back on that period of time, Pang says, “Let’s put it this way: My time with John might have been short, but everything during it was monumental. I was there when he jammed with Paul for the last time… I played tambourines with Mal Evans. We saw UFOs together.”
Pang has also collected many mementos from her time with Lennon, including drawings and photographs.
“They’re all in a safety deposit box and very valuable to me,” she says. “Maybe not to anybody else. Perhaps I’ll pass them on to my kids, but I cherish all of it. The first guy I ever lived with turned out to be John Lennon… Imagine that.”