"That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life," the punk rock icon said of Nora Foster

By Gabrielle Chung
Updated June 08, 2020 08:40 PM
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Johnny Rotten and wife Nora Forster
John Lydon and Nora Forster
| Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon — also known as Johnny Rotten — is opening up about his life with wife Nora Forster, who is living with Alzheimer's disease.

The punk rock icon, 64, revealed that he has become Forster's "full-time carer" saying in an interview published by The Mirror on Monday that he "won’t let anyone mess up with her head."

"For me, the real person is still there," Lydon said of his wife, 78. "That person I love is still there every minute of every day and that is my life. It’s unfortunate that she forgets things, well, don’t we all?"

"I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her," he continued. "It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish.”

Johnny Rotten and wife Nora Forster
John Lydon and Nora Forster
| Credit: Jon Furniss/WireImage

Though Forster's condition has worsened in recent years, Lydon said that it's "amazing" that his wife of 41 years "never ever forgets me" as they continue to reside in Venice, California.

“I am under lockdown anyway because I am her full-time carer," he said in reference to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "I don’t need to go out and socialize with buttholes."

Alzheimer's disease is most common type of dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The progressive disease affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language and can sometimes hinder a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Lydon, who married Forster in 1979, first disclosed his wife's struggles with dementia during a radio interview in 2018. At the time, he said that Forster was in the "mid-stages of Alzheimer's."

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"The stress is killing me," Lydon, who had been promoting his The Public Image Is Rotten documentary with his band Public Image Ltd, told Q104.9. "It's not just the work, but personal family issues of illnesses that are really, really serious to me."

In the interview, Lydon also touched on being a stepfather to Forster's daughter — The Slits singer Ari Up, who died from breast cancer in 2010 — and a guardian to the musician's three children.

"It's something I feel I was trained for. One of my jobs before the Pistols was looking after problem children," he said. "I'm a natural caregiver. I just can't help it."