The muse behind the Beatles’ Something and Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight, Pattie Boyd was the envy of women across the world when she first married Beatle George Harrison and then wed guitarist Eric.
She was a model and It girl in London in the swinging ’60s, and her relationships with both men came under fire as she was at the centre of one of the most infamous love triangles in rock history. Now the 74-year-old will spill all the details when she brings her story to audiences Down Under this week.
Pattie met legendary rocker George on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964, the same year the Beatles toured Australia.
“Wives and girlfriends weren’t allowed on tour with the band because security was so tight,” Pattie tells Woman’s Day ahead of her visit. “They found it difficult protecting the boys, so they didn’t want us girls on tour as well.”
Embarking on a high-profile romance, the pair married in January 1966. In the era of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, Pattie soon learned being a rock-star wife wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. “Good days were great and bad days were sh*tty,” she remembers.
“Drugs and rock’n’roll – sure, but not really sex. George and I were together for two years before we married and I’d only had one boyfriend before him, so I didn’t get much experience with sex.”
Still married to George, Pattie began to attract attention from another musician, the couple’s close friend Eric Clapton. “He wrote me a letter saying he was in love with me,” she says, pointing out she turned him down.
But Eric, who would often go to the pair’s home to jam with George, developed an obsession with Pattie, penning Layla, a song about unrequited love.
By that stage, the couple’s marriage was on the rocks due to George’s endless infidelities. “He was very charismatic, good looking, charming and famous. It was difficult for him to say no to girls all the time. Our life together became a little more difficult,” says Pattie.
She eventually gave in to Eric’s advances, almost destroying the friendship of the two music legends. Pattie married Eric two years after her divorce, in 1979. “It was very sweet of George to give us his blessing,” she says, adding that he even attended their wedding party.
After 14 tumultuous years of marriage, Pattie and Eric divorced. His problems with addiction and infidelity became too much to bear – he fathered two children to two different women while they were married.
“In hindsight, I thought George was the love of my life. But he was playing around the whole time – it’s so hurtful,” Pattie says.
An Evening with Pattie Boyd: George Harrison, Eric Clapton & Me, Sydney May 15, Melbourne May 16. pattieboydtour.com
George and Eric, playing together in 1985, remained good friends.
MARRIED GEORGE IN 1966 Pattie and George married at the height of the ’60s Beatlemania.
MARRIED ERIC IN 1979 She spent the ’70s with Eric but, just like George, he proved to be unfaithful.