John Lennon said he didn’t really know about love until he met Yoko Ono.
In a series of interviews conducted between 1969 and 1972, the duo tells journalist Howard Smith the secret to their close relationship. Recently animated by Patrick Smith for PBS' Blank on Blank series, the interviews reveal that both Lennon and Ono thought they would never find love. But that all changed when they found each other.
"I thought it was an abstract thing, you know, when I was singing about all you need is love. I was talking about something I hadn’t experienced," Lennon says in the video above.
“I never thought that it would happen in this late stage of my life,” Ono, who was 32 when she met Lennon, chimes in. “I mean, I just sort of, I was starting to give up hope, you know, that kind of thing, you know. Becoming very cynical and all that. But it happened, and it’s very, very, very good."
So, what was the peace-loving iconic couple’s secret to getting along?
“It’s called love. And there’s nothing that splits that up, you know," Lennon says. "I mean you got to work on it, like it is a precious gift and it’s a plant and you’ve got to look after it and water it and you can’t just sit on your backside and think, 'Oh well, we’re in love, so that’s all right.' But that’s the secret.”
Lennon met Ono in 1966 at one of her art gallery shows in London. The couple married on March 20, 1969, in Gibraltar.
Watch the full animated interview featured above, and hear more of Howard Smith's interviews with musicians here.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Gibraltar as an island.