The real Lennon revealed - by his cleaning lady

Fans avid for every detail of the last years of John Lennon's life may now relish the first-hand observations by... the former Beatle's Spanish cleaning lady, released to an unsuspecting public last week.

Fans avid for every detail of the last years of John Lennon's life may now relish the first-hand observations by... the former Beatle's Spanish cleaning lady, released to an unsuspecting public last week.

Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo, 72, from Spain's north-western Galician port of Pontevedra, cleaned for Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono during the four years the couple lived in New York's Dakota apartment building. While Ms Lopez may technically have been the other woman in Lennon's life, her book is more "confessions of a carpet cleaner" than kiss and tell. Lennon and Ono emerge from the pages as a happily married, domesticated couple.

"The couple slept on a bedstead supported on two church pews," Ms Lopez revealed on Friday in Madrid, at the launch of her book, whose Spanish title translates as At Home with John Lennon. Every time they travelled to Japan, she said, "an astrologer would tell them the safest route ... Sometimes they had to travel separately because their stars didn't coincide.

"He was a very good father and husband, and friendly to everybody. He always treated me kindly." But Yoko was the dominant partner. "She wore the trousers," reckoned Ms Lopez, who observed the couple at close quarters between 1976 and 1980.

Ms Lopez records these domestic intimacies in the gentle style of Hello! magazine rather than the muckraking tales of a disaffected former employee - possibly because she still works in the Dakota building for another family, and in the lift often meets Yoko, who apparently gave the book her blessing.

You would go into the kitchen, Ms Lopez recalled, and find John in his kimono and slippers drinking "litres of tea", sometimes humming a new song, guitar at the ready. Then he would spend days without leaving his room, and weeks without singing.

"One winter I had a bad cold, and Lennon's wife said it was because I didn't have a warm enough coat. She gave me her credit card and told me to go and buy a coat, but said it should not be fur, because I was married and husbands don't like fur."

Ms Lopez also vividly remembers Lennon's murderer, Mark Chapman, and recalls speaking to him just 24 hours before he shot the world's best-loved pop star. "He was always there downstairs at the doorway, and that day they let him in. He seemed a nice guy, very normal, who loved John as much as we did ... but, oh, what he did then!"

Only once did Ms Lopez hear Lennon refer to Paul McCartney, when the former Beatles' bass guitarist was stopped by customs for carrying drugs. "John was furious. 'What an idiot! Why didn't he get someone to carry it for him? You're a Beatle for chrissake'," she recalled him saying.

Ms Lopez arrived in New York in 1962, just as "Love Me Do" burst into the hit parade and changed pop music for ever. In 1970, she began work as a cleaner at the Dakota. When the Lennon family arrived in 1976, she was included as part of the rental package.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test