Sir Paul McCartney has said he “never got round” to telling John Lennon he loved him, but it feels “great” to realise he does now.
The Beatles star said he and Lennon “grew up together” during an on-stage interview at the Southbank Centre in London.
When asked about his love for Lennon, Sir Paul said: “As 16-year-old, 17-year-old Liverpool kids, you could never say that. It just wasn’t done.
“So I never did… really just say, ‘John, love you man’. I never got round to it.
“So now it’s great just to realise how much I love this man.”
He added that spending his youth with Lennon “was like walking up a staircase and we both went side by side up that staircase”.
“I just remember how great it was to work with him and how great he was,” he said.
“Because you are not messing around here, you are not just singing with Joe Bloggs. You are singing with John Lennon.”
He added: “I realised that as we were making up songs, I would suggest a line and he would suggest a line.
“That was very much how we did it, just ping ponging off each other.
“Because he was right handed, for me it was like looking in a mirror.
“It was great, I could kind of see the chords that I was playing in the mirror.”
Sir Paul, who was speaking during his first live in-person event in two years, also reflected on the break-up of the Beatles in 1970.
“I think the biggest misconception at the end of the Beatles was that I’d broken the Beatles up,” he said.
“I lived with that for quite a while, saying to people, ‘No I didn’t, no I didn’t’.
“But once a headline is out there it sticks.”
Sir Paul was also asked about the response to the news Liverpool has been handed £2 million in Government funding for a new Beatles attraction.
“I know the people from Japan and America and South America all love the Beatles,” he said.
“So if they come to Liverpool, that’s a lot of what they are coming to see, you know. I think it’s fine.”
He added: “I’m quite happy that they are recognising that it’s a tourist attraction.
“But I think the could also spend the money on something else.”
Sir Paul made the comments during an interview with journalist Samira Ahmed to promote his new book The Lyrics.
The book, written with poet and author Paul Muldoon, includes reflection on his life, his creative process and the songs he has crafted over the years.