Sex Pistols’ John Lydon opens up on wife’s ‘debilitating’ Alzheimer’s battle

Sex Pistols star John Lydon has opened up about his beloved wife’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and admits it can be ‘overwhelmingly sad’. 

The rocker, also known by his stage name John Rotten, has been married to Nora Forster for 45 years and has become her carer since she was diagnosed with the ‘incurable’ disease in 2018. 

Alzheimer’s falls under the umbrella of Dementia, which is a range of progressive neurological disorders (those affecting the brain) which impact memory, thinking and behaviour. 

Sharing their ordeal, John told The Times: ‘Alzheimer’s is a wicked, debilitating, slow, deliberate process, but we’re going through that together. She doesn’t forget me. She forgets everything else but not me.’ 

Accepting Nora’s fate, John added: ‘I know it’s going to deteriorate into something really, really terrible, but we’re facing it with a sense of dignity.’ 

The musician explained how he refuses to give up on his wife, who he affectionately calls Babbie, and said: ‘When I make a commitment it’s for ever and I stand by that and I’m very proud to do the best I can for her. We’ve been together now 45 years; we’re not going to change anything.’ 

John, 65, also revealed the personal toll becoming a carer has had on his mental health over the past three years. 


‘You can as a full-time carer get quite suicidal,’ he admitted. 

‘I will have moments that are overwhelmingly sad and at the same time full of rage. But things are what they are, and you have to take that and accept it and, sadly I’ve got to say, almost enjoy it for the experience.

‘You don’t have those moments [of despair] for very long. You’re quickly knocked back into reality when a piss pot is kicked over.’ 

John married German publishing heiress Nora, 78, in 1979. The couple have suffered further heartache in previous years with the death of Nora’s daughter Ari Up, former singer of post-punk band The Slits. 

Ari died in 2010 at the age of 48 following a battle with breast cancer. Over the years, John and Nora became legal guardians of Ari’s three children, and do not have children of their own. 

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