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Jane Asher reveals how she ‘made it through’ Paul McCartney relationship during Beatles success

In Europe
May 24, 2024

Jane Asher has opened up about how her five year relationship with Paul McCartney impacted her life.

The Alfie actress, 78, started dating The Beatles frontman, 81, after they met backstage at one of  the band’s concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 1963.

Asher, who was only 17 when she became involved with McCartney, said she became very quiet and lost her sense of self as a result of her high profile romance with the singer.

Speaking to The Guardian, Asher said she was very nervous to ever talk about her private life and was afraid of journalists at the time.

When asked how she “stayed sane” with her “sense of self still intact” while dating McCartney, the first UK musician to become a billionaire, the actress replied: “This question assumes I have a sense of self.

“I became very wary of the press early on, and I decided to keep my private life as private as I possibly could, which was hard because my life was so publicised at that time,” she said.

Asher explained she became “too wary” and “reluctant to talk about anything” as a consequence of journalists who “seemed to write anything, regardless of whether it was true or not.”

McCartney and Asher at the ‘Alfie’ premiere in 1966 (Getty Images)

McCartney and Asher at the ‘Alfie’ premiere in 1966 (Getty Images)

She continued:  “So whether I’ve kept a sense of self … I don’t quite know what myself is. But it’s reasonably settled, I guess.”

Asher had been sent to the Royal Albert Hall to cover The Beatles concert for the Radio Times after becoming a regular on the BBC’s new music release programme Juke Box Jury.

The Beatles’s popularity had just exploded after the release of their second single “Please Please Me”, which topped the charts in January 1963.

When Asher and McCartney met backstage three months later, he already knew who she was from watching her on TV.

“She was sent by the Radio Times to cover a concert we were in at the Royal Albert Hall – we had a photo taken with her for the magazine and we all fancied her,” McCartney later said.

“We’d thought she was blonde, because we had only ever seen her on black-and-white telly doing Juke Box Jury, but she turned out to be a redhead. So it was: ‘Wow, you’re a redhead!’”

“I tried pulling her, succeeded, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite a long time.”

Jane Asher and Paul McCartney at Heathrow Airport in 1968 (Getty Images)

Jane Asher and Paul McCartney at Heathrow Airport in 1968 (Getty Images)

Asher’s father Richard was a consultant at the Central Middlesex Hospital and her mother Margaret was an oboe professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

When Paul’s fame made staying in hotels too problematic, Asher’s parents offered for him to move into their house, where he stayed for roughly a three year period.

“There were people there and food and a homey atmosphere, and Jane being my girlfriend, it was kind of perfect,” the singer later said of the arrangement in a later interview.

McCartney and Asher in Wales in 1967 (Getty Images)

McCartney and Asher in Wales in 1967 (Getty Images)

McCartney wrote “And I Love Her” in Asher’s parents house, later saying he could still “see Margarent Asher’s upstairs daring-room” in his mind’s eye when he thinks about the song.

In 1967, McCartney and Asher became engaged. However, they broke up two years later with Asher announcing their split on the live BBC show Dee Time with Simon Dee amid rumours McCartney had cheated.

“I haven’t broken it off, but it is broken off, finished,” she said.

“I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn’t worked out. Perhaps we’ll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we’re about 70.”

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