When Pattie Boyd and George Harrison were still married, Eric Clapton made it clear that he was interested in her. Both were in relationships, so she didn’t think things would go anywhere, but she liked the attention he paid her. She explained that she felt flattered by the way he behaved around her. It was especially welcome because her marriage to Harrison was under strain. She said that Clapton paid attention to her in a way her husband no longer did.
George Harrison and Pattie Boyd | George Stroud/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Pattie Boyd started feeling cracks in her marriage to George Harrison
By the late 1960s, tensions between members of The Beatles were at an all time high. Boyd explained that this also impacted her marriage.
“George was working very hard, things were not going well with the Beatles, and he was bringing home bad vibes,” Boyd explained in the book Wonderful Tonight. “We would argue and bicker, never reaching any conclusion, so we were left feeling irritated with one another. He spent more and more time away from home — sometimes he wouldn’t get back until four or five in the morning, at others not at all.”
She said that she grew increasingly lonely.
“My diary is full of entries about my unhappiness and the disintegration of our relationship,” she wrote. “On July 24 it simply says, ‘Silence reigns and my cheeks get wet.’ I felt so helpless.”
Pattie Boyd liked the attention that Eric Clapton paid her
As her marriage to Harrison struggled, Boyd met Clapton, who she described as “shy and reticent.” She was immediately aware that he found her attractive.
“He and George had become close friends; they played, wrote music, and recorded together,” she explained. “At that time his girlfriend was a model called Charlotte, but I was aware that he found me attractive — and I enjoyed the attention he paid me.”
She explained that it was particularly flattering because Harrison no longer paid attention to her.
“It was hard not to be flattered when I caught him staring at me or when he chose to sit beside me or complimented me on what I was wearing or the food I had made, or when he said things he knew would make me laugh or engaged me in conversation,” she wrote. “Those were all things that George no longer did.”
Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton eventually married
Eventually, Boyd and Clapton’s relationship became more than just flirtatious. After Harrison and Boyd separated, Boyd and Clapton began publicly dating. They married in 1979, two years after her divorce from Harrison was finalized.
Though the dynamics between Boyd, Harrison, and Clapton were complicated — Boyd left her husband for his friend — she said they remained friends. One Christmas, shortly after they separated, Harrison joined them for dinner.
#OnThisDay in 1982 ‘Layla’ was on the UK singles chart. ?
Inspired by Eric Clapton’s then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend George Harrison, ‘Layla’ is considered one of rock music’s definitive love songs. ?❤️#SaturdayMorning pic.twitter.com/LwdnoRoV5r
— The Beatles Story (@beatlesstory) April 4, 2020
“That Christmas we had turkey, and as we were sitting down to it at Hurtwood Edge, George burst in, uninvited,” she wrote. “He was horrified to see me eating meat and berated me — but then we laughed and he had some Christmas pudding with us, and some wine, and it wasn’t awkward at all. I couldn’t believe how friendly he and Eric were toward each other.”
Boyd and Clapton divorced in 1989, after 10 years of marriage.
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