Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM ET
She's a musician, songwriter and outspoken peace activist, but for many, Yoko Ono is best known as the woman who marked the beginning of the end of The Beatles. That may not be fair, but John Lennon's widow has had to live with that reputation all the same, and in a new interview, she compares it to a far worse allegation.
"It feels like I was accused of something that I didn’t do, which was breaking up The Beatles,” she told Interview magazine. “That was like being somebody who is in prison without having done anything wrong. It’s like you’re accused of murder and you’re in prison and you can’t get out."
Ono, 80, believes the idea that she was behind the Fab Four's rift led to the public's lack of appreciation of her own music for "40 years or something." But she's turned the "big energy of hatred" around now.
"I wasn't valued by people, or if they did value me, it was in a particular way," she said. "So I started to feel that if no one else loved me, then I had to love myself. I thought, 'Darling, you know you work so hard. You are always trying to do good. But somehow it's not being appreciated. I feel sorry for you.' That's what I was thinking at the time — and I kind of like myself for being that one who survived regardless."
In addition to surviving the reputation she had with some Beatles fans, Ono has even survived the strained and bitter relationship once that existed between her and one Beatle in particular — Paul McCartney.
In a recent interview with Rolling stone, McCartney admitted that they've moved on from their feuding days.
"She's a badass," he said of Ono, crediting time as "the great healer" between them. "I thought, 'If John loved her, there's got to be something. He's not stupid.'"