Yoko Ono has been saying for years that she wasn't responsible for The Beatles' 1970 breakup. Now, the 80-year-old singer and artist is expressing gratitude for the clearance given to her by a Beatle himself.

Ono told the U.K. Times that she is "very, very thankful" for the comments Paul McCartney made last year in which he said he no longer blames her for the band's split.

"I mean, I was shocked. I thought, 'Now you are saying it? Now, after 40 years? But it was very good. In the atmosphere that the world created for us, it was not easy for him to say something like that."

McCartney and John Lennon's widow have famously sparred for years over songwriting credits in The Beatles' catalog as well as the band's aforementioned breakup, and many fans are quick to ascribe blame to Ono for the split. The two musicians have spent years pointing fingers at each other in the media regarding the true nature of The Beatles' decline. Ono once called McCartney the less-talented Salieri to Lennon's Mozart, while McCartney said she is not the "brightest of buttons."

A 1987 Rolling Stone interview in which Ono blamed McCartney for the breakup resurfaced last year in the wake of McCartney's new admission that he does not fault her. McCartney, instead, credits the death of The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, as the genesis of the band's dissention. The singer told journalist David Frost last year that it was Epstein's replacement, Allen Klein, who led to their breakup.

"I'm starting to understand something interesting," Ono told The Times of the condemnation she's faced over her association with The Beatles. "If all those people hadn't bashed me, what would I be doing now? What I am now was made by all those terrible incidents. I thought it was terrible all those years, but when I think about it now, I realize it was a blessing."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post indicated that The Beatles' manager was Rob Epstein.