Suzanne Elrod is best known for her association with the legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen

and for being the mother of his only two children, Adam Cohen and Lorca Cohen.

Suzanne Elrod
Suzanne Elrod and his husband

Biography

Suzanne Elrod and Leonard Cohen first crossed paths in 1968, marking the beginning of a significant chapter in both their lives. Their relationship resulted in the birth of Adam Cohen in 1972 and Lorca Cohen in 1974.

It’s noteworthy that Suzanne Elrod served as a source of inspiration for Leonard Cohen’s song “The Gypsy Wife,” composed shortly after their final separation.

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Leonard Cohen’s earlier and iconic song, “Suzanne,” was, however, inspired by another woman, Suzanne Verdal, with whom he had a close friendship and occasional romantic involvement during his time in Montreal.

Meeting Leonard Cohen

Accounts of how Suzanne Elrod and Leonard Cohen met vary. According to CBC News, the couple encountered each other in 1968 while attending a Scientology class. Following their meeting, Elrod moved in with Cohen at the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York City. They later ventured to rural Tennessee and the Greek Island of Hydra, where Cohen had previously lived with his first muse, Marianne Ihlen. It was during this period that Cohen penned the song “I Tried to Leave You,” reflecting the complexity and fragility of their relationship.

Relationship Dynamics

Suzanne Elrod’s relationship with Leonard Cohen was not without its complexities. Aviva Layton, the wife of Cohen’s close friend Irving Layton, recounted an incident where Elrod traveled to Greece and reportedly evicted Marianne Ihlen and her son Axel from Cohen’s rustic cabin. Ihlen and Cohen had shared this cabin for several years, and Cohen had allowed her to continue living there after their breakup.

Family Life

In a 2012 profile in New York magazine, Adam Cohen, Suzanne and Leonard’s son, described his upbringing as “a circus with two tents,” emphasizing the eccentricities of both his mother and father.

Suzanne Elrod remains a figure of interest for her influence on Leonard Cohen’s creative output and her place in the life of one of the most celebrated musicians and poets of the 20th century.

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