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Maureen Starkey Tigrett
Maureen Starkey
Born 4 August 1946
Died 30 December 1994
Occupation Hairdresser

Maureen Starkey Tigrett, née Mary Cox (4 August 1946–30 December 1994) was the first wife of Ringo Starr, the drummer of the Beatles.

Early Life[]

Mary "Maureen" Cox was born on August 4, 1946 in Liverpool, England, the only child of Florence and Joseph Cox. She left school at 14, beccame a hairdresser, and changed her name to Maureen but was "Mo" to her friends.


The Cavern Days and Dating Ringo Starr[]

Maureen loved the new hot Merseybeat sound and often hung out at The Cavern, a small club where local bands played. There she met and dated John Brynne from the group "Rory Storm and The Hurricanes." They broke up in 1962.

During this time, a new group called "The Beatles" regularly played at The Cavern. Mo developed a crush on the band's drummer, Ringo Starr, and asked him for an autograph. About three weeks later, Ringo asked her for a dance. Soon after they began dating.  

As The Beatles rose in popularity, so did the number of passionate fan-girls. When it was common knowledge that Mo and Ringo were in a relationship, she was often threatened and sometimes attacked by jealous female fans. Once an angry fan saw her sitting in a car and scratched her.

Although fans were jealous of Mo, it was Maureen who answered the letters they wrote to Ringo.

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Ringo Starr, Maureen Cox, Jane Asher and Paul McCartney in the Virgin Islands May 7, 1964.

In September 1963, Ringo invited her to go to Greece with him, Paul McCartney, and his girlfriend Jane Asher. In May 1964, Ringo and Maureen went to the Virgin Islands — without her parents' knowledge because she was afraid they would not give her permission to go. Of course, her parents found out anyway, when they later read it in the newspapers.

The courtship of Ringo and Mo ended for a time in 1964, as the Beatles' popularity skyrocketed. But when Ringo had an operation to remove his tonsils, it was Maureen who was there. Ringo proposed to her in the hospital and she accepted. 

Marriage to Ringo[]

In January 1965, 18-year-old Maureen discovered that she was pregnant. At that time, there was a social stigma given an unwed mother and her baby, and the best option was to marry Ringo.

On February 11, 1965 at 8:00 am, Ringo and Maureen were married, at Caxton Hall Registry Office. The best man was Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles and the reception was at Brian's house.

Children with Ringo[]

On September 13, 1965, Maureen gave birth to their first child, Zak Starkey, in the National Maternity Hospital in Queen Charlotte. This was the same day the single "Yesterday" was published. On August 19th, 1967, Jason Starkey was born. On November the 11th, 1970, Lee Parkin Starkey was born.

Marriage problems[]

By the time Lee was born in 1970, the marriage was in trouble. When the Beatles broke up in 1970, so did the marriage: Ringo's infidelities and his increasing alcoholism was a problem for the whole family. In 1972, Starkey visited George Harrison and during that visit George confessed how much he loved Maureen. (A rumour went around that Ringo proposed to swap partners, but this was just a rumour.). Maureen had a brief affair with George, but despite all the problems facing her marriage, Maureen did not want a divorce.

End of marriage[]

Ringo insisted that it was better to obtain a divorce and Maureen accepted reluctantly. In July 1975, the couple finally separated when Ringo's affair with American model Nancy Andrews was made public.

Life after the end of her marriage[]

In the early 1980s, Maureen began a relationship with Isaac Tigrett, the owner of the Hard Rock Cafe. There was an attempt at reconciliation between Maureen and Ringo after Ringo broke up with Nancy, but it was too late. Ringo had fallen in love with Barbara Bach, his co-star from the movie "Caveman". Maureen returned to her relationship with Isaac Tigrett.


Maureen and Isaac.

Ringo and Maureen became grandparents in 1985 when their son Zak had daughter Tatia Jayne Starkey.

In 1987, Maureen gave birth to her fourth child, Augusta Tigrett.

On May 27, 1989, Tigrett married Maureen and decided to split his time between Los Angeles, California and Boston.

Last days of life and death[]

94 Cosindas

Maureen at age 47. 1994

During the opening of "Houses Of Blues" Maureen suddenly fainted. At first, she was diagnosed with a mild anaemia, Later the diagnosed was a form of leukaemia called Mylodisplasia. In October 1994, she was admitted to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Physicians did everything to save her life, but she lost the battle. On December 30, 1994, Maureen Starkey Tigrett died at age 48 from leukaemia. Her husband Isaac, her children, her mother and ex-husband, Ringo, were with her when she passed away.

Paul McCartney wrote "Little Willow" in dedication to Maureen.


  • Maureen's favourite colour was black.
  • Pattie Boyd considered Maureen a great friend, but remained resentful of her affair with George. 
  • She hand-sewed sequins on the Sgt Pepper Costumes.
  • Participated in the chorus of "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" along with Yoko Ono and Pattie Boyd. 
  • Participated in the video "Something". 
  • While married to Ringo, she tried to commit suicide by crashing into a wall with a motorcycle.  
  • She was in the recording of Get Back. At the end of the song you can hear Paul McCartney saying "Thanks Mo".
  • She was good friends with Cynthia Lennon for nearly 30 years. 
  • In 1968, Maureen changed hair colour to blonde. 
  • For her 22nd birthday, Frank Sinatra recorded a special edition of "The Lady is a Tramp" for Maureen. Changing the words to "Maureen is a champ." 
  • In 1968 the Beatles travelled to India to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. She accompanied them along with Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Boyd, and Jane Asher.