LINDA EASTMAN met Paul McCartney when she visited London in 1967.
She photographed the Beatles at the launch party for the Sgt Pepper album in Brian Epstein's flat.
But it was not until 1969, when Paul was in Linda's native New York on Apple business, that the couple grew close.
They married in London on March 12, 1969, and had three children, Mary, Stella and James. The couple also began working together on Paul's first two post-Beatle albums, McCartney and Ram, for which Linda supplied inspiration and harmonies.
For years, Linda and Yoko Ono were bracketed together as 'the women who broke up The Beatles', but by the time John Lennon and Paul McCartney came to marry their respective wives, the cracks had already begun to appear in the Beatle facade.
As the last remaining bachelor Beatle, Paul had been regarded as private property by millions of girls.
In their view there was no woman beautiful, talented and charming enough to be their darling's wife.
To onlookers it appeared McCart-ney was destined to marry British actress Jane Asher. She was his long-term girlfriend and the closest anyone could find to a perfect 'English Rose'.
However his eventual choice astonished everyone, not only because it wasn't Asher but because it was the rangy, unsmiling New York photographer, already once married. Linda became a hate figure to legions of teenagers.
She had been born Linda Louise Eastman on September 24, 1941.
Her father Lee specialised in show-business law and in 1947, in return for some advice, songwriter Jack Lawrence wrote a song for Lee's daughter. Linda was recorded by Jim Reeves and Jan & Dean.
Growing up in New York, she was captivated by the early stirrings of rock and roll.
As a teenager she would often play truant to witness DJ Alan Freed's spectacular rock and roll shows at the Paramount Theatre in Brooklyn, where she became fascinated by stars such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran.
Linda was only 18 when her mother Louise died. She once reflected: 'My mother died in a plane crash and I got married. It was a mistake.' Her first husband was a fellow student at Princeton where Linda was studying history and art.
Melvin See was a geophysicist.
Although the marriage lasted only a year, in 1963 Linda gave birth to his daughter Heather.
It was also then that she discovered her talent for photography, which was eventually to bring her into contact with Paul.
Their marriage was one of the happiest and closest of any show-business couple. They spent hardly any nights apart.
Linda was one of the few Beatle wives who could stand in her own right creatively, firstly as a photographer and then through her commitment to animal rights which led to her own highly successful line of vegetarian food products.
Whenever I met Linda McCartney, I was struck by her warmth and friendliness - there was nothing of the celebrity about her.
She was devoted to her husband.
After the breakup of the Beatles
he asked her to join his new group Wings. Linda knew she would be laying herself open to criticism and ridicule; but she also knew Paul needed her to be there, and for Linda it was always more important to stand by her man.
It was not always an easy job for Linda. 'Paul got made fun of because of me. Mick Jagger saying, "I wouldn't take my old lady on the road", that kind of thing.' In fact, Wings stayed together through the Seventies - longer than the Beatles had done. …