John Lydon reveals wife Nora's dementia 'came on really strong' in emotional update

John Lydon's wife Nora Forster was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2018

John Lydon reveals wife Nora's dementia 'came on really strong' in emotional update
(Image credit: Brian Killian/WireImage/Getty)

John Lydon has opened up about his wife’s dementia in an emotional new interview, revealing he will never give up despite her advancing condition. 

The Sex Pistols’ former frontman, who has been married to Nora Forster for 45 years, became her primary carer in 2018 after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, John explained how the neurologic disorder has impacted the lives of both himself and his beloved wife. 

“It’s come on really strong and really quick,” he revealed to hosts Susanna Reid and Ben Shepherd, shortly before admitting he can’t pinpoint when the symptoms first surfaced. 

“They lose the connections,” he said. “And they can’t verbalize what it is they feel sometimes.” 

“Sometimes her memory is lethal, she can go back twenty years and remember in the greatest detail with complete accuracy.” 

He described the symptoms as "fascinating”, before adding, “For me, it’s a journey I have to travel and I’m not going to abandon her.” 

John Lydon and Nora Forster

(Image credit: Brian Killian/WireImage/Getty)

Symptoms of dementia 

The first symptoms of dementia typically present as memory loss, which often impacts daily functioning. People may begin to have trouble with the following tasks:  

  • Planning and making lists
  • Using or understanding words 
  • Remembering directions of familiar routes
  • Handling objects
  • Personal care like feeding, bathing and dressing

While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, there are multiple other conditions—like vascular dementia—that fall under its umbrella. Understanding the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be helpful for both the individual and their families, especially when it comes to developing the best treatment plan. Despite its many challenges, the disease does not necessarily mark the loss of the diagnosed person. 

To John, Nora’s authentic self is still very much present. “I can still see in her personality, it still exists it’s just confused on how to express itself,” he said. "Never give up on people, they’re still there.”

There is currently no cure for dementia, but they are numerous treatments available to slow down its progress and improve the person’s quality of life. 

John met Nora, a German publishing heiress 14 years his senior, in 1975 at a boutique Vivienne Westwood store aptly called ‘Sex'. Despite initially butting heads, the pair couldn’t deny their intense chemistry. They tied the knot four years later and, now halfway through their fifth decade of marriage, have gone on to earn the status as one of the most iconic couples of all time

John first shared the news of Nora’s dementia in 2018 and has spoken about her condition multiple times since. Last year, he told the Mirror that he refuses to move her to a care home, explaining that a "little bit of love goes a long way." The couple spends most of their time in Los Angeles but continues to hold a residence in London for UK trips.  

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.