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John Lydon now full-time caretaker for wife, who has Alzheimer's

John Lydon and his wife, Nora Forster, at

John Lydon and his wife, Nora Forster, at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Credit: Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival/Noam Galai

Public Image Ltd. frontman John Lydon, who as Johnny Rotten was an iconic force in punk rock with the band the Sex Pistols, says he has become a full-time caretaker for his Alzheimer's-stricken wife, Nora Forster.

"I am her full-time carer and I won't let anyone mess up with her head," the U.K.-born Lydon, who lives in southern California and has been an American citizen since 2013, told the British tabloid the Daily Mirror in a story posted Sunday.

"For me the real person is still there," added the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, 64. "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?"

Lydon met German publishing heiress Nora Forster, some dozen years his senior, in 1977, at the height of the Sex Pistols' popularity. While many sources say they married in 1979, the authorized documentary film "The Public Image Is Rotten" (2018) states the couple did not formally marry until 10 years into their relationship.

"I suppose her condition is one of like a permanent hangover for her," Lydon said of the disease — the most common form of dementia, affecting roughly 5 million Americans. "It gets worse and worse, bits of the brain store less and less memory and then suddenly some bits completely vanish."

He added, "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. … Why pay for professionals to work on this when I think the message is a bit of love goes a long way."

Lydon had revealed Forster's illness in an October 2018 interview on the New York radio station WAXQ/104.3 FM, saying he had "some personal family issues of illnesses that are really, really, really serious to me. I've got two brothers with cancer, I've got a wife now who's in the mid-stages of Alzheimer's."

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