Pattie Boyd

Pattie Boyd Biography

Photographer (1944–)
Pattie Boyd is a British photographer and former model known for being the muse of her ex-husbands, George Harrison and Eric Clapton.


Born on March 17, 1944, in Taunton, England, Pattie Boyd pursued a modeling career before meeting the Beatles and band member George Harrison in 1964. The two married, with Boyd inspiring the song "Something." She later become involved with and married Eric Clapton, inspiring songs "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight." Boyd is also an accomplished photographer and has a bestselling memoir.

Background and Modeling Career

Pattie Boyd was born Patricia Anne Boyd in the town of Taunton—part of the county of Somerset, England—on St. Patrick's Day (March 17), 1944, with the holiday inspiring her name. During her childhood she lived with her family for a time in Kenya before returning to the United Kingdom, eventually working as a photographic model, landing multiple Vogue covers and walking in runway shows for designer Ossie Clark. She also started to develop an interest in photography, purchasing a camera and seeking counsel from the photographers she worked with.

Meeting the Beatles

When she was 19, Boyd earned a big role via a secret audition that she was asked to attend after appearing in a TV commercial: She was to play a schoolgirl sitting in a baggage car watching the band The Beatles perform for their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night. This is how she met band member singer/songwriter/guitarist George Harrison.

Married George Harrison

The two dated and wed in January 1966. Boyd served as inspiration for the classic Harrison song "Something" from the album Abbey Road (1969), as well as "I Need You" and "For You Blue," from Help! (1965) and Let it Be (1970), respectively. A devotee of transcendental meditation, Boyd was responsible for introducing the band to the spiritual leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whom would also have a profound effect on Harrison personally and professionally.

Wooed by Eric Clapton

Harrison was known to have liaisons outside of his marriage, while his friend and collaborator, musician Eric Clapton, came to develop feelings for Boyd. Clapton penned the future Derek & the Domino's classic "Layla" for the object of his affection. In 1970 he shared the song with her at a flat and revealed that he was in love with her to both Boyd and Harrison at a party; Boyd was dismayed, leaving the gathering with an angry Harrison.

Boyd was romantically involved briefly with Clapton before returning to Harrison, though the marriage between the two eventually ended. She married Clapton in March of 1979. (The two musicians were able to remain friends, and Clapton had a previous relationship with Boyd's sister as well.) Another song came forth with Boyd reportedly as muse--Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight."

The relationship was tumultuous however as Clapton struggled with substance/alcohol abuse and had extramarital relationships, while Boyd faced her own demons with alcohol and drugs as well. The two split in 1989.

Photographer and Author

Boyd later stated that in hindsight she would have chosen instead to work through her issues with Harrison, though acknowledging that being with Clapton enabled her to experience great passion; she also declared she would have refused to put up with philandering from either husband. After her second marriage, Boyd went through psychotherapy and focused more on her work as a photographer, having taken lots of pictures over the years of her travels and of iconic rock artists.

In 2007, Boyd released the memoir with co-author Penny Junor Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me, which became an immediate No. 1 New York Times bestseller. (In the United Kingdom, Boyd released the book under the title Wonderful Today: The Autobiography.)

Exhibitions of Boyd's work, which includes "Through the Eyes of a Muse" and "Pattie Boyd: Newly Discovered," have been held throughout the world.

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