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.

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