John Lennon's (search) first wife says the late Beatle had a violent temper and once hit her in a fit of jealousy, according to excerpts from a new book published in a newspaper Sunday.

Cynthia Lennon (search) met John in the late 1950s in Liverpool, where they were both art students. They married in 1962 and had a son, Julian, before divorcing in 1968.

Cynthia Lennon writes in "John," that he was prone to violent tantrums, according to an excerpt published in The Sunday Times, which is serializing the book. "I could put up with his outbursts, the jealousy and possessiveness but not the violence," she writes.

In the excerpt published Sunday, Cynthia describes the only occasion when John struck her. She wrote that while they were at art college, John had become jealous after seeing her dance with his close friend Stuart Sutcliffe, one of the Beatles' early members.

"The next day at college he followed me to the girls' loos (toilets) in the basement. When I came out he was waiting with a dark look on his face. Before I could speak he raised his arm and hit me across the face, knocking my head into the pipes that ran down the wall behind me," Cynthia wrote.

She said he took three months to apologize for hitting her and ask her to go out with him again. "Although he was still verbally cutting and unkind, he was never again physically violent to me."

The book, published by The Crown Publishing Group, goes on sale in Britain on Sept. 27.