Eric Clapton married Pattie Boyd, who had been The Beatles' George Harrison's wife. Both men eventually cheated on Boyd.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 12, 2020. It has since been updated.
Being a muse to two of the most famous Rock n Roll musicians in the world may seem like a dream, but the life that comes with being close to such stars can turn into a nightmare. George Harrison of The Beatles and singer Eric Clapton wooed the same woman, but in the end, she ended by being hurt by both of them. Infidelity and lies broke her trust until she finally rejected both of them to opt for a simple life to heal herself.
Former model Pattie Boyd, 79, has been at the center of a love triangle in the 1960s when she was married to Harrison, who was Clapton's best friend. The former model became close to the latter because he was close to her then-husband. However, in March 1970, she received a letter marked "Express" and "Urgent." It said, "What I want to know is if you still love your husband or if you have another lover? if there is still a feeling in your heart for me… you must let me know! all my love, e."
Clapton rang them that evening to ask Boyd if she got the letter. She said that she was shocked by the letter and the call ended in embarrassment and confusion, according to the Daily Mail. However, that was only the start of a long courtship by Clapton. While she continued to reject his advances, Harrison was off cheating on her.
Pattie Boyd wearing a Ossie Clark dress back in 1973. pic.twitter.com/0g7KZOtQ69— best pattie pics (@bestboydpics) May 29, 2017
"I held marriage very dearly but felt torn at that moment," she said about Clapton's moves, according to the Vintage News. "It kind of blew me away, I was at the same time flattered but also horrified,” she said, according to Startsat60. “I thought ‘Oh My God, what’s he doing, I’m married!’”
Clapton went on to write some of his most famous songs, Something, Layla, and Wonderful Tonight inspired by Boyd. He would also visit their home often while Harrison was away dealing with his anger at his bandmates for dismantling the band.
"It became difficult because George was so angry with the Beatles and he was behaving badly and Eric kept coming over," she added. "The whole thing was a mess and a muddle, the house was always full of people, it was a crazy time."
Pattie Boyd with George Harrison in Barbados, February 1966 pic.twitter.com/ZDAyypIoGt— Daniel Beatle (@flamingpie33) May 14, 2017
Both men were battling addiction, and Clapton was able to break his unhealthy habit around 1974, which was around the same time that Boyd decided that she couldn't live with Harrison anymore. Five years later, Clapton and Boyd got married. Soon after, they started trying to have children.
Boyd said that with her first husband she always assumed it "would happen one day." However, she got worried when it wasn't happening with the White Room singer either. "It never occurred to me that it wouldn’t be possible," she admitted. "Then I was 30, 31 when [George] and I split up, and that’s not old. I just thought it would happen some time. Then it just didn’t. I realized a few years later when I was with Eric and still, nothing was happening, and then I really tried and went to several doctors, and still, nothing happened. I thought ‘I have to get my head around this’, it took a long time."
Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton, 1978. pic.twitter.com/U0RwzZSHLm— best pattie pics (@bestboydpics) May 25, 2017
While she kept trying hoping to give her husband a child since he loved to have kids, he was off cheating on her. "He was very much on my side when I had IVF and tried other options. I did consider adopting, but Eric didn’t like the idea at all," she said.
Initially, she had no idea that he was seeing other women, especially when he was on tour. Not only did this come as a shock, but he gave her another news that broke her heart. He told her that he had fathered a son, Connor. “It was horrible. It was a stab in the heart, horrible,” she said. Connor tragically died in 1991 after plunging from a balcony. Their marriage couldn't survive the strain, and they separated in 1988. "He was honest about his second child. He told me when she was pregnant with him. He thought we could all work something out, but I just thought ‘it’s not going to work, I can’t do that'," said Boyd.
Speaking of rabbit holes, I just came across this. Check out the Eric Clapton-Pattie Boyd wedding cake! pic.twitter.com/K9o01acEta— They May Be Parted (@TheyMayBeParted) May 19, 2017
It was after they split up she found out about his first daughter, Ruth. He met her to warn that the press would be publishing the story. "I just said to him ‘no, you’re kidding, how many more do you have’? he just said 'well, just the two.'"
Derek and the Dominos' "Layla" was about Eric Clapton's love for Pattie Boyd, wife of his friend George Harrison of The Beatles.— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) December 27, 2019
So why Layla? It's from The Story of Layla and Majnun by 12th-century poet Nizami Ganjavi, about a man in love with a woman he couldn't have. pic.twitter.com/IoutaDEmGF
It wasn't just the cheating but also his drinking habit and verbal abuse. "He went to a treatment center, and shortly after that he started drinking again. He just got worse and worse. It was so bad it was almost worse than before. He was horrible to be around, verbally abusive, it was just really unpleasant to live like that," she said.