She was 17 years old when she first met the Beatles on Thursday 18 April 1963. They were appearing on the BBC radio broadcast 'Swingin' Sound' at the Royal Albert Hall. Jane went along to pose for Radio Times photographer Tony Asper who pictured her screaming in the audience. The article appeared in the 2 May 1963 edition of the Radio Times with Jane commenting, "Now these I could scream for."
Jane then approached them while they were having a snack in the Royal Court Hotel in Sloane Square, where they were staying. She mentioned to them that she had been asked to write about them in the Radio Times. They were aware of her as she'd been a guest panelist on the TV show 'Juke Box Jury' and they were all charmed by her.
Brian Epstein returned to his own hotel and Ringo stayed behind to have an early night. Singer Shane Fenton, who'd also been on the concert bill that day drove John, Paul, George and Jane to journalist Chris Hutchins' flat, situated on the top floor of Kings House on the Kings Road. Initially, it was George who seemed to engage most of her attention. During the course of the next few hours Paul began to show his interest in Jane and the others left him to talk to her alone. Later he escorted her home and arranged to meet her again.
Recalling the meeting, Paul commented, "We all said 'Will you marry me?' which is what we said to every girl at the time. She was a rare London bird, the sort we'd always heard about."
The romance became public when they were snapped by a photographer as they left the Prince of Wales Theatre after attending Neil Simon's play 'Never Too Late.'
Paul moved into the Asher family home at 57 Wimpole Street, a five story town house. It happened shortly after Paul had missed his last train home to Liverpool following a date with Jane and stayed the night. Margaret Asher suggested that he regard the house as his London home, thus saving on hotel bills. He moved into the top floor where there were two rooms and a bathroom. The second room was Peter's bedroom. Jane and Claire had the two rooms below.
This relationship with an upper middle-class family broadened his cultural horizons. There were stimulating discussions around the Asher family dinner table and the two of them attended musicals, classical concerts, plays and exhibitions and went on holiday together to exotic places. Paul even opened an account at Coutts, the Queen's bankers, and ordered Jane's birthday cake from Maxim's in Paris, while Jane helped Paul select his new car, a midnight-blue Aston Martin DB6.
The young actress became the inspiration for a number of his songs, initially purely love songs, which changed as the relationship entered stormy patches - primarily because she refused to give up her career. 'She Loves You' was written in the music room at Wimpole Street. Songs inspired by Jane included 'And I Love Her', 'Every Little Thing', 'We Can Work It Out', 'You Won't See Me', 'I'm Looking Through You' and 'Here, There And Everywhere.'
The crisis in their relationship arose from the fact that Jane had a successful career which she was determined to pursue. Paul wanted his girlfriend to dedicate herself to him in the type of relationship common between men and women in working-class Liverpool. However, Jane came from a different world and had her own strong opinions; extending her own horizons as an actress didn't include becoming a subservient woman and sacrificing her career for 'her man.' At one point she refused to answer his telephone calls, which inspired 'You Won't See Me.' Jane was appearing in 'Great Expectations' at the Theatre Royal, Bristol, when he recorded the number.
He obviously tried to give messages to her through his songs and told Beatles' biographer Hunter Davies: "I knew I was selfish, it caused a few rows. Jane went off and said 'OK, then, leave. I'll find someone else.' It was shattering to be without her. That was when I wrote 'I'm Looking Through You.'
Jane said, "I shan't give up my career unless it interferes with our being together. I love Paul. I love him deeply and he feels the same. I don't think either of us has looked at anyone else since we first met."
Of course, the womanizing Paul continued with his affairs throughout the relationship with Jane, who was a virgin when they met.
During the five year romance, Paul was not exactly faithful to his inamorata. When Paul was in America during February 1964 he had a relationship with actress Jill Haworth, who he first met at a press conference at the Plaza Hotel. He then began to visit her at her apartment. "He wanted a good cup of tea and he couldn't get it at the Plaza and he came to my apartment," she said. He next called her up and invited her to stay in Miami while the Beatles were there. Paul arranged for payment of her trip, although she was booked into another hotel while they stayed at the Deauville. "A car would be sent for me to take me over there," she said. Paul wanted to keep the relationship out of the press as Jane was still his girlfriend.
Daily Express reporter Ivor Davis, who traveled with the Beatles on their 1964 American tour alleged that Paul was the most sexually active member of the group. He recalled Paul's affair with 16-year-old Peggy Lipton, who'd been introduced to him by photographer Ron Joy when the group were in Los Angeles in August of that year. Paul and Peggy became extremely close and continued to keep in touch for years after the tour ended. She was later to star in the 'Mod Squad' television series and married Quincy Jones', but was to say that she would have married Paul, but he never asked her.
Jane was appearing at the Bristol Old Vic as Barbara Cahoun in John Dighton's 'The Happiest Days Of Your Life', when Paul visited Bristol to see her. While there he noticed the name on a shop, 'Rigby & Evans Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers', which he says gave him the surname for the song 'Eleanor Rigby.'
Rumours of the couple getting married were always denied by them, but the headline on Jack Bentley's show business page in the Sunday Mirror of 15 August 1965 read: "Says Jane: 'Yes, I AM Marrying Paul McCartney.'" When Bentley visited Jane he said there were rumours that Paul and Jane were already married. "No, I'm not Paul's wife," she told him, "But yes, we ARE going to get married."
When it was mentioned that the millions of girl fans would be dreading the news, she commented, "If it's any consolation to them, we won't be married for a while yet, but when it happens we've got a family planned. First we want a boy and then - come what may. There's no particular reason why we are not getting married right away, except that we're both pretty young. Paul is only twenty-three." Jane was eighteen at the time of the interview.
Asked if her marriage to Paul would affect her career as an actress, she said, "I shan't give up my career unless it interferes with our being together. Although I like acting, I'm not one of those dedicated actresses who would pine away if they couldn't perform. I get as much enjoyment out of good plays and good music."
Jane helped Paul to find the five-story Victorian house in Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood, which they moved into in 1966. Jane decorated the house and always kept it in tip-top condition. Unfortunately, it was rumoured that during a spring-cleaning session a number of original early Lennon and McCartney songs were lost forever when she threw away a notebook full of lyrics while emptying a cupboard.
It was Jane who, in June 1966, persuaded Paul to buy High Farm, a 183-acre farm in Machrihanish, Campbeltown, Scotland, suggesting it would be a good idea for them to have a remote retreat to which they could escape from the pressures of being constantly in the public eye.
She embarked on a five-month tour of America in 1967, appearing with the Bristol Old Vic in 'Romeo and Juliet' in Boston, Washington and Philadelphia. Paul flew over to America to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, which took place during the tour. It was during this trip that he conceived the idea of 'Magical Mystery Tour.'
On her return, Jane said, "Paul had changed so much. He was on LSD, which I knew nothing about. The house had changed and it was full of stuff I didn't know about."
The two decided to get married and during an interview in the Daily Express in 1967, she said, "I want to get married, probably this year, and have lots and lots of babies. I certainly would be surprised indeed if I married anyone but Paul."
On New Year's Day 1968 he proposed, gave her a diamond and emerald ring and they travelled up north to 'Rembrandt' (his Liverpool home) to tell Paul's father.
But the five-year romance came to an abrupt end, despite the fact that they obviously loved each other. Jane had been a virgin when they met and fidelity to a partner obviously meant a great deal to her. On the other hand, Paul had always been a womanizer. During her absences when touring, he had been dating other girls and began an affair with an American, Francie Schwartz.
Jane arrived home unexpectedly when Paul was in bed with Schwartz. She walked out on him and sent her mother to Cavendish Avenue to collect her belongings.
On the 20 July edition of the BBC Television show 'Dee Time', she announced officially that their engagement was off. She was to say, "I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn't worked out. Perhaps we'll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we're about 70." The couple did meet once or twice after the Schwartz incident, but the split was final.
Jane met Paul again in 1994 for the first time in more than 20 years.