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John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon and Yoko Ono worked to spread a message of world peace.

Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Yoko Ono was an avant-garde artist and musician with a turbulent past. Born into an aristocratic Japanese family, Ono's parents hoped she'd stay single and become a concert pianist, her father's unrealized dream. Instead, she married twice, was briefly in a mental institution and had a daughter, Kyoko, with her second husband. Then, in 1966, she met John Lennon at one of her art shows [source: Gannon].

Lennon, a member of the world-famous musical group, the Beatles, was married with a child of his own. But the two fell in love, divorced their spouses, and eventually married in 1969. Together, the couple began working to spread a message of world peace, a cause Ono had been pushing for a while. Ono introduced Lennon to experimental layered music too. Soon the Beatles, who were already feuding, broke up, and the blame was heaped on Ono -- who was also charged with ruining Lennon's music, since he was tinkering with non-mainstream sounds [source: Iley].

The couple tried to ignore the general public's anger and focus on themselves and their love. But they were celebrities, did everything together -- and did it all publicly -- so it was difficult to escape the criticism. In 1973, they separated, perhaps as a result of stress caused by all the scrutiny. Lennon then began an affair with his assistant, May Pang, with Ono's knowledge and blessing. Yet the two called each other daily, sometimes numerous times, and got back together a year later. Not too long after they reunited, they had a son, Sean [sources: Iley, Gannon].

Unfortunately, their newfound happiness wasn't to last long. In 1980, Lennon was shot by a deranged fan outside the New York City apartment building where the family lived. He died in Ono's arms [source: Tweedle]. She hasn't remarried.

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