Did George Harrison have a relationship with Madonna?



Did George Harrison have a relationship with Madonna?

Did George Harrison have an affair with Madonna?Did George Harrison have an affair with Madonna? Picture: Getty

By Thomas Edward

Strangely enough their paths crossed.

It’s safe to say that the woman who sang ‘Material Girl’ and the man who wrote ‘Living In The Material World’ were worlds apart.

After his time in The Beatles however, George Harrison didn’t just stick to his circles, later venturing into the world of cinema.

Harrison was the executive producer of several films, bankrolling the likes of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, and Time Bandits, both of which were major successes.

In 1986, he put his financial backing into one of the most infamous flops of the decade, nearly bankrupting him.

Shanghai Surprise was an unmitigated disaster, reportedly leading George to reignite his creative relationship with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on the ’95 Beatles Anthology to scrape some money back in his pockets.

The adventure comedy starred star-crossed couple, Sean Penn and Madonna, and despite their recent marriage, it didn’t stop rumours swirling of a romance between Harrison and the pop star heavyweight.

Sean Penn, Madonna, and George Harrison on set during the filming of Shanghai Surprise.Sean Penn, Madonna, and George Harrison on set during the filming of Shanghai Surprise. Picture: Alamy

For anyone who knew about George beyond his image as ‘The Quiet Beatle’, you can understand why the rumours came into being.

George had many affairs throughout his life, and it was known that he had a serious weakness when it came to women.

His wife Olivia – who married in 1978 after the birth of their son Dhani – suggested in Martin Scorsese’s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World that she was privy to his behaviour.

“He liked women and women liked him,” she says. “If he just said a couple of words to you, it would have a profound effect. It was hard to deal with someone who was so well loved.”

McCartney adds in the documentary: “I don’t want to say much because he was a pal, but he liked the things that men like. He was red-blooded.”

An expert on The Beatles, Bill Harry, said: “George had hundreds and hundreds of affairs. John Lennon was probably the most highly-sexed Beatle, but I would put George next after him.”

Even the band’s roadies Peter Brown and Steven Gaines revealed in their tell-all book The Love You Make: “He wanted to seduce every woman he laid eyes on.”

The opinions about George’s infidelity have kept stacking up, so what actually happened between him and Madonna?

Shanghai Surprise (1986) – Original Trailer

Well during the filming of Shanghai Surprise, George visited the shoot location in Macau, where he and Madonna reportedly got on very well.

The media storm that followed the actors throughout filming irritated Sean Penn however, who took his frustrations out on his wife – admitted to only doing the film as a favour to her – even punching a photographer at one point.

The couple were only recently married, but the cracks were appearing. Madonna reportedly sought a shoulder to cry on from George who she found “very kind and sympathetic”.

Madonna even visited Harrison on several occasions in London before and after filming had wrapped.

Her brother Christopher Ciccone told the Daily Mail that Harrison “read the riot act” to Penn over his bad attitude and outbursts during filming, yet treated Madonna with “kid gloves”, heightening suspicion of a relationship.

During the press conference for Shanghai Surprise – that was later dubbed ‘Flop Suey’ – Madonna further expressed her adoration for George, telling the press that he was a “great boss” and that he’d given her “more advice about how to deal with the press than how to make the film.”

Madonna called George Harrison a "great boss". (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)Madonna called George Harrison a “great boss”. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp). Picture: Alamy

Presented as good friends and confidants throughout the press conference, a later interview with George indicated that any relationship they had soured.

After an interviewer asked “you worked with Madonna on Shanghai Surprise,” George quickly cut in replying: “Tried to.”

“You want the truth? It was a pain in the ass,” Harrison continued. “Because we were doing a comedy movie, she hasn’t got a sense of humour.”

“And her husband Sean – who’s a really nice and intelligent fella, and I had a laugh with him at times – but, you know, he sort of gets all uptight and, you know, caused all the trouble.”

“It was like The Producers [1967 movie], you know, where he says: ‘I’ve picked the wrong cast, the wrong actors, the wrong director, where did I go right?'” he joked.

So whilst they might have been fairly close at one point, it seems like the rumours of George Harrison having an affair with Madonna are just rumours after all.

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