Beatles’ Children: Where Are They Now?
Many musicians – and music fans – consider themselves children of the Beatles and the band’s artistic legacy. But there are 15 individuals who are literally children of the Fab Four, many of whom have been, or continue to be, involved in creative fields. In the list below, we take a look at the progeny of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, including the musicians’ birth children, adopted children and stepchildren. Find out what the Beatles’ kids have been doing … yesterday and today.
Paul gained a stepdaughter when he got married in 1969. Heather See was born to Linda Eastman from her marriage to geologist Joseph Melville See, Jr., but was raised mostly by her mother after her parents separated after less than two years together. When Paul and Linda married, the Beatles bassist took the steps to adopt Heather as his own daughter. Her last name was changed and, to this day, she considers Paul her dad.
As she grew up, Heather took an interest in photography, art and pottery, becoming a well-respected potter as an adult and beginning a line of houseware items in 1999. After losing her mother to cancer in 1998, Heather’s birth father committed suicide in 2000. She now lives in a cottage on her adopted father’s Sussex estate.
Julian Lennon was born to John and his first wife, Cynthia, just as the Beatles were hitting the big time. As a young boy, Julian inspired three Beatles tunes: ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘Good Night’ (written by his dad) and ‘Hey Jude’ (written by Paul to console Julian during his parents’ divorce).
After John left Julian’s mom for Yoko Ono, father and son were estranged for a period – something Julian has expressed bitterness about – but reconnected in the early ’70s. At that point, John fostered Julian’s musical interests, buying him a guitar and showing him a few chords. Julian ended up following in his father’s footsteps, becoming a pop star with 1984’s platinum-selling ‘Valotte’ album. Although his subsequent recordings haven’t matched that success, Julian has continued to release records, collaborating on a single with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler in 2013.
He also has put his creativity to use in other ways, including a 2010 exhibition of his photography and a book detailing his collection of Beatles memorabilia. In 2009, Julian founded the environmental/humanitarian charity the White Feather Foundation, named after something his father once told him.
Kyoko Chan Cox
When John and Yoko married in 1969, Lennon became a stepfather to Yoko’s daughter, Kyoko, from her marriage to American film producer/art promoter Anthony Cox. In the early years of Ono and Lennon’s marriage, Yoko and her ex-husband were engaged in a custody battle over their daughter, inspiring the song ‘Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand in the Snow)’ – credited to a Plastic Ono Band that included John, Ringo and Eric Clapton.
Cox eventually disappeared with Kyoko, raising her under the name Ruth Holman as part of a religious cult named The Living Word Fellowship. Although Kyoko and her father left the church in the ’70s, mother and daughter did not see each other again until the late ’90s. It’s said that Kyoko, who works as a teacher and is married with two children, has since become close with her mom.
Ringo Starr and Maureen Starkey welcomed their first son, Zak, after getting married earlier in the year. Although the Beatles drummer discouraged his son from getting involved in the music industry, Zak began taking an interest in the drums after his godfather, Keith Moon, gave him a drum set at the age of eight.
He got serious about drumming following his parents’ 1975 divorce, eventually joining the Icicle Works and then his dad’s All-Starr Band. But Zak got his biggest break when he filled his godfather’s old role in the Who in the mid-’90s. Band members and Who fans found him the perfect, powerful fit for the band. Zak has continued to record and tour with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, as well as serving as the drummer for Oasis for a time and handling the sticks for Johnny Marr and the Healers.
Zak married Sarah Menikides in 1985, and the couple gave the world the first Beatle grandchild, Tatia (who is now a musician).
Two years into her marriage to Ringo, Maureen gave birth to a second son, Jason. While growing up, Jason got into more than his share of brushes with the law. He was fined for trying to steal a car stereo when he was 20 and appeared in court on drug charges a couple years later. But Jason put those days behind him, joining a succession of indie bands.
Like his older brother and his father, he’s a drummer – although he doesn’t seem too fond of the family legacy. “Being Ringo Starr’s son is the biggest drag of my life,” he once said. Jason has been in a long-term relationship with fashion designer Flora Evans and the couple have three sons.
Six years after Ringo and Maureen divorced, the Beatle got married again, this time to actress (and former Bond girl) Barbara Bach. And so, in 1981, Ringo became stepfather to two of Bach’s kids from her marriage to Italian industrialist Augusto Gregorini.
Barbara’s oldest child is Francesca, who grew up in Rome and the U.S. before moving to England after her mother married Ringo. She went on to graduate from Brown University and dabble in music before gaining attention as a filmmaker. Francesca has written and directed two independent films, including 2013’s ‘The Truth About Emanuel,’ which was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. Gregorini also earned notoriety for her relationship with ‘Arrested Development’ actress Portia de Rossi, which ended in 2004.
Paul and Linda were expecting Mary when they wed in 1969. Music fans might know her best as the little baby peeking out of her father’s coat on the back cover of the ‘McCartney’ album (a photo taken by her mother). And like Linda, Mary took an interest in photography, eventually working as a professional photographer and photo editor.
In 2001, she was a producer on the TV documentary ‘Wingspan’ (about her parents’ band) and served as her dad’s interviewer. She currently runs the photo department at Paul’s company, MPL Communications. Outside of her work, Mary has been involved in numerous charitable causes and wrote a vegetarian cookbook in 2012. She’s been married twice, currently to director Simon Aboud, and has four children.
Lee arrived just after the breakup of the Beatles in 1970, and just as her parents’ relationship was falling apart (although Ringo and Maureen wouldn’t divorce for another five years). Lee got some major attention in 1989 when she co-starred in an Oldsmobile ad with her father.
Around the same time, she co-founded the Los Angeles boutique Planet Alice, which specialized in ’60s styles. Once the shop closed, she worked as a fashion designer and makeup artist.
A year after her mother succumbed to leukemia, Lee was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgeries and radiation therapy. In 2001, the tumor returned and she was treated again for her illness. Lee has been in better health ever since, often showing up at her brothers’ gigs and Stella McCartney’s shows. She’s been in a relationship with Kasabian/Beady Eye bassist Jay Mehler for the past eight years. In 2009, Lee gave birth to triplets.
The most famous of Paul and Linda’s children, Stella has become a well-known name in the world of fashion. She became interested in designing clothes at a young age, and worked her way up the ranks all the way up to launching her own, self-titled fashion line in 2001. There are now 17 Stella McCartney boutiques around the world.
In addition to claiming a number of celebrity clients (including close friend Kate Moss), Stella designed the athletic wear for all the British athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics. In 2013, she was made an Office of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to fashion. Stella has also earned a reputation for being outspoken, wearing a shirt that read “It’s About F–king Time” to her dad’s induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and openly criticizing her ex-stepmom Heather Mills. She married publisher Alasdhair Willis in 2003 and the couple now have four children.
Ringo’s second stepchild from his 1981 marriage to Barbara Bach, Gianni was born four years after Bach and Augusto Gregorini’s firstborn, Francesca. Gianni, then a little boy, served as a pageboy at his mom’s wedding to Ringo. He grew up to work for his father in Italy, but later moved to Los Angeles, where he works as a businessman.
John and Yoko’s only child together, Sean, was born on his father’s 35th birthday. After his second son’s birth, John took a break from music to stay at home. Sean inspired Lennon to write the song ‘Beautiful Boy,’ which appeared on the 1980 comeback album ‘Double Fantasy’ (released just before John’s murder).
Like his parents, Sean became a musician, writing with Lenny Kravitz and joining Cibo Matto before getting signed to the Beastie Boys’ Grand Royal record label. He’s released a few solo albums over the years, recorded a handful of film soundtracks and collaborated with a number of musicians, including his mother, the Flaming Lips, the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. and Mark Ronson. A few years back, he and his model girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl formed the avant-garde folk group the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, releasing their first full-length album, ‘Midnight Sun,’ in 2014.
Paul and Linda’s only son took an early interest in music – not because of his dad’s influence, but because he saw Marty McFly play the guitar in ‘Back to the Future.’ Quickly, Paul stepped in to give young James a Stratocaster that had been previously owned by Carl Perkins. James contributed to a couple of his pop’s solo records (‘Flaming Pie’ and ‘Driving Rain’), playing guitar and drums.
Years later, he began his own music career, releasing a couple of pop-rock EPs – co-produced by Paul – and then a debut album, ‘Me,’ in 2013. He stirred up a small media flurry in 2012 when he suggested that he, Sean Lennon and Dhani Harrison could start a second generation Beatles.
Dhani is the only child of George and Olivia Harrison, who married the month after their baby boy was born. Named for the sixth and seventh notes in the Indian music scale, Dhani emerged as a professional musician when helping Jeff Lynne complete his father’s ‘Brainwashed’ album, following George’s death in 2001. He also played acoustic guitar through much of the “Concert for George” tribute in 2002, joining a lineup that included Ringo and Paul. In 2006, Dhani co-founded the indie rock group thenewno2, who have since released three albums. He is also a member of the rock trio Fistful of Mercy with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur. In addition to his musical work, Dhani was a major force behind ‘The Beatles: Rock Band’ video game, bringing together the surviving members with the game designers. He married Solveig “Sola” Karadottir in 2012.
When Paul married his third wife, Nancy Shevell, in 2011, he added another child to his brood. Paul became a stepdad to Arlen Blakeman, Nancy’s son from her previous marriage to lawyer Bruce Blakeman. It was the then-teenage Arlen who gave his mother away to Paul during the wedding ceremony. Arlen has since spent time away at college, occasionally making public appearances with his mom and stepfather.
Beatrice was born to Paul and his second wife Heather Mills in 2003. Despite an acrimonious divorce, Paul and Heather share custody over young Beatrice. She served as the flower girl at Macca’s 2011 wedding to Nancy Shevell.