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George Harrison and Eric Clapton were in Love with the Same Woman

Larissa Harris
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
(Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

During the rise of the rock and roll era, there was a woman who caught the eyes and trapped the hearts of two legendary music icons — George Harrison and Eric Clapton.

The name of their mutual muse was Pattie Boyd and she was a woman with a rather difficult task: at one point of her life, she had to choose between Harrison, the unforgettable Beatle, and Clapton, a fierce guitar legend.

Patricia Anne Boyd was born on March 17, 1944, in Somerset, England. Her autobiography Wonderful Tonight, (published in 2007) tells her exciting personal story that began during the 1960s when her family moved to London and she started a modeling career.

Beatles guitarist and singer George Harrison with his wife, Patti Boyd. Photo © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Beatles guitarist and singer George Harrison with his wife, Patti Boyd. Photo © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Boyd was working as a shampoo girl in Elizabeth Arden’s salon but soon was spotted by a fashion industry client who launched her into the world of modeling.

Boyd’s beauty elevated her career fast. She worked with world famous top models from London, Paris and New York.

The camera loved Boyd, whose face was on the cover of the UK and Italian Vogue magazine and also appeared in several advertising videos.

However, the turning point of her career was in 1964 when she was cast in the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night. There, Boyd met Harrison and instantly fell in love with him. “He was incredibly handsome but a bit shy,” she said in an interview.

George Harrison in 1964. Photo by Nationaal Archief CC BY-SA 3.0

George Harrison in 1964. Photo by Nationaal Archief CC BY-SA 3.0

Harrison was also swept off his feet by the gorgeous Boyd who, unfortunately, was in a relationship with another man at the time.

However, this didn’t discourage Harrison who actually approached Boyd quite directly, asking her: “Will you marry me? Well, if you won’t marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

This straightforwardness was pretty fruitful because Boyd abandoned her relationship and got together with Harrison. On January 21, 1966, Harrison and Boyd were married, with Paul McCartney as Harrison’s best man.

McCartney, Harrison, Lennon, and Nicol in the Netherlands on June 5, 1964. Photo by VARA – Beeld en Geluidwiki CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

McCartney, Harrison, Lennon, and Nicol in the Netherlands on June 5, 1964. Photo by VARA – Beeld en Geluidwiki CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

The flame of innocent, young love and intense romance inspired Harrison to write one of Beatles’ most popular songs, “Something.”

Reportedly, Frank Sinatra once referred to this song as “the most beautiful love song I’ve ever heard.” The newlywed’s happiness didn’t last too long, though, and after several years, they began to face a serious marital crisis. According to Boyd, Harrison was carried away by intense alcohol consumption and drug abuse and, to top it off, numerous affairs with other women.

Eric Clapton in Barcelona, 1974. Photo by Stoned59 CC BY 2.0

Eric Clapton in Barcelona, 1974. Photo by Stoned59 CC BY 2.0

These reasons were enough for Boyd to feel abandoned and unloved. During this period, on one occasion, she received a love letter which was signed with only an “E.”

Boyd was flattered by having a secret admirer but didn’t consider the letter to be something of great importance until one evening when she and Harrison went to a party at the house of Eric Clapton’s manager.

Clapton, who Boyd and Harrison regarded as their close friend, approached her at the partly and directly asked her if she had received his letter. Boyd was shocked but couldn’t hide feeling flattered by Clapton who asked her who was she going home with at the end of the party. She decided upon Harrison, but, as she later reported, felt torn between the two men.

George Harrison in his early thirties.

George Harrison in his early thirties.

In 1974, Boyd and Harrison separated after what she has described as a marriage “fueled by alcohol and filled with infidelities, including Ringo Starr’s wife who became George’s mistress.”

Before the marriage of Boyd and Harrison collapsed, she continuously refused Clapton’s courtship.

This drove Clapton mad and made him feel overly desperate and hooked on heroin, however, enough inspired to create his legendary music pieces “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Bell Bottom Blues.”

John Lennon and Eric Clapton at the Rolling Stones’ ‘Rock & Roll Circus’ TV show, London, 1968. Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage/ Getty Images

John Lennon and Eric Clapton at the Rolling Stones’ ‘Rock & Roll Circus’ TV show, London, 1968. Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage/ Getty Images

Five years later, in 1979, Boyd moved in with Clapton and soon married him. It didn’t take long before the couple faced problems. Apparently, Boyd faced a rerun of infidelity and drug and alcohol abuse, this time from Clapton, and all this finally led to the signing of the divorce papers in 1989.

Decades after this intense love triangle, Boyd declared in an interview: “It is so difficult to say who was my greatest love, but I would say, George. He will always stay with me.”

Read another story from us: Royal Love Triangle – Princess Diana’s Sister First Dated Prince Charles

After the love turmoil that filled almost every pore of her life, Boyd decided to stay with neither Clapton or Harrison. She decided to try her luck again in 2015 when she married for the third time. Her new husband is her long-time friend, property developer Rod Weston.