These days Sir Paul McCartney is well known not only for his impressive music career, he also has the reputation of a model family man who lived a long and happy life with his first wife Linda. However, those who knew him in the time of his youth paint a different picture. They say McCartney was a junkie and a womanizer. John Lennon suspected McCartney of sleeping with both his wives. Lennon called his band mate a sex gladiator.
In the spring of 1989 a young woman confronted the 46-year-old pop icon as he was leaving his London office in Soho. The woman started yelling in McCartney’s face: “Why don’t you recognize me? Why don’t you recognize me?” The Beatle looked pale and embarrassed. He was just a step away from a big scandal while the fans and onlookers were watching. Eventually, McCartney’s bodyguards pushed the woman aside and carried the musician into a car that sped away before the exhaust fumes vanished in thin air.
It is unknown who that woman was and what kind of recognition she was after. According to Christopher Sanford, author of a new biography of the famous musician, the unfortunate incident is a reminder of a time when the Beatles bass player was one of the sex symbols of his generation.
In his book, Sanford says that McCartney developed a penchant for sex when he was 16. He would always spend some time with his first girlfriend July Arthur after running away from school to write songs with Lennon.
The number of his female fans went up sharply after the Beatles took shape in the late ‘50s. McCartney took advantage of the situation. He was especially popular with girls in Hamburg where the group went to play in clubs. According to Sanford’s calculations, during the next ten years Paul had sex with 500-600 women. Several flings might have ended up in a very bad way as his former sweethearts were keen to get money for children born out of wedlock. In April 1962, McCartney had an affair with Erica Hubers, a waitress at a nigh club in Hamburg. In December the same year, Erica gave birth to a daughter called Bettina. Erica claimed McCartney got her pregnant. She filed a suit in court seeking alimony. McCartney categorically denied his parenthood but eventually paid Erica about $5,000 in child support. He never acknowledged his parenthood, though.
McCartney continued his amorous exploits after coming back to Liverpool. His father would drop by The Cavern, a club where the Beatles played frequently, and he would say: “The birds are beginning to flock”, a reference to numerous young girls hanging around the stage. Then one day Paul fell in love with a young actress. Her name was Jane Asher, she was upper middle class, lived with her parents in a big house in central London. McCartney lived with Jane in that house for three years. He penned I Want to Hold Your Hand, one of his best songs in a basement of the house.
Despite his lengthy relationship with Asher, McCartney never stopped having fun with female fans while on tour. The Beatles’s tour manager Maul Evans said that scores of young women were trying to get inside Paul’s hotel room on the U.S. tour. Some of them eventually succeeded.
McCartney bought himself a home, a three-storey building in St. John’s Wood near the Abbey Road Studios. According to Sanford, a countless number of women of different ages and trades spent nights at McCartney’s place. He would normally forget the name of his one-night-stand girl on the morning after.
McCartney once said that Lennon had warned him after having fallen in love with Yoko Ono:
“Don’t you ever think about it!’ Sure thing, he knew I was a bit of a ladies’ man. That’s true, I always loved girls.”
In May 1967 Paul’s life changed forever after he spotted an attractive blonde with a camera in a Soho night club. The blonde’s name was Linda Eastman. She turned up at Brian Epstein’s apartment at a release party for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Legend has it that Paul asked Linda to “come to my place and have a look at my paintings” at the end of the party. Paul and Linda spent the next few days together. A few months later, Jane Asher announced that her engagement with Paul McCartney had been canceled at the request of the latter. Linda told Paul that she was pregnant in late December 1968. They got married on March 12, 1969. Linda gave birth to three children: Mary, Stella, and James. Their marriage lasted for 29 years. Linda succumbed to breast cancer and died in December 1998. Paul McCartney is now married to Heather Mills, they have a daughter called Beatrice.