Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten Says He's a 'Full-Time Carer' for His Wife After Her Alzheimer's Diagnosis
By Paige Gawley
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
Johnny Rotten is caring for his wife amid her battle with Alzheimer's disease. In an interview with The Mirror, the 64-year-old former Sex Pistols frontman revealed that he is taking care of Nora Forster, his wife of more than 40 years, in their Los Angeles home.
"I am under lockdown anyway because I am her full-time carer. I don’t need to go out and socialize with buttholes," he says, referencing the recent quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. "I am her full-time carer and I won’t let anyone mess up with her head. For me the real person is still there. 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?" Rotten continues. "I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her. It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish."
While Rotten, whose real name is John Lydon, has taken his wife to many doctors to address her illness, he thinks his love for Forster is what's helping her the most.
"It’s quite amazing as the alleged experts we have had to deal with at enormous expense have said that they have been very impressed that she never ever forgets me, we are constantly there with each other [in her mind] and that bit won’t go," he says. "Why pay for professionals to work on this when I think the message is a bit of love goes a long way?"
Rotten, who married Forster in 1979, first made his wife's diagnosis public in a 2018 interview with radio station Q1043 New York. "I've got a wife now who's in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's," he said at the time.
Prior to making the diagnosis public, Rotten opened up about when he first met Forster in a 2014 interview with The Guardian.
"When I first met Nora, my future wife, we disliked each other so much we were drawn together like magnets," he said. "She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. She was also well educated, funny and dressed magnificently, with a wink to 40s film noir."
"I have never been unfaithful, though I had plenty of opportunity in the Sex Pistols," Rotten continued. "We both played the field before we met and found it very wanting."
Rotten was the stepfather to Ari Up, Forster's daughter who died in 2010. Prior to Up's death, the couple took in Forster's then-teenage grandsons, and later became guardians to Up's third child. The couple never had children of their own.
"Opportunities arose, but we weren’t capable of handling the birth of a child at the time," he told The Guardian. "It was Nora’s decision to have the abortions, but you must never question a woman’s right."
As for the thought of potentially losing Forster one day, Rotten said that it was simply "unbearable."
"If one of us goes before the other it will be murder for the survivor," he admitted to The Guardian. "She is older than me but women live longer, so we should die at exactly the same time. That would be perfect."