Nora Forster, wife of John Lydon, has passed away

The Sex Pistols frontman was married to Nora for nearly five decades.


Nora Forster has died at age 80 after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s. A statement, released by her husband, John Lydon – AKA Johnny Rotten – confirmed the news.

It read: “Rest in Peace Nora Forster.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that Nora Forster – John Lydon’s wife of nearly five decades – has passed away. Nora had been living with Alzheimer’s for several years. In which time John had become her full-time carer. 


Please respect John’s grief and allow him space.  

Rest in Peace Nora. Heartfelt condolences to John from Rambo and all at PiL Official.”

John Lydon – formerly of The Sex Pistols – recently put himself forward as one of the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest candidates, with a song he had penned for Nora called ‘Hawaii’. Performed with his band, Public Image Ltd, the track fondly remembered a holiday he and his wife had taken together in 80s.

How did John Lydon and Nora Forster meet?

“The first time I met Nora everyone told her not to talk to me because I was horrible,” Lydon said of that first meeting which happened in 1975 at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren’s famed shop SEX on London’s King’s Road. It was before The Sex Pistols were formed and Lydon was to become one of the most notorious musicians in British history. “We ended up laughing and loving each other”. The pair were married four years later in 1979.

What was Nora Forster’s background?

Nora Forster, born in Munich to a wealthy newspaper family, became a music promoter in the 60s, working with Wishbone Ash, Yes and Jimi Hendrix amongst others. She moved to London, finding German society too restrictive, with her teenage daughter, Ariane Daniele Forster, in the late 60s. Ariane went on to be known Ari Up – the ferocious frontwoman of all-female punk band The Slits, supported greatly by her mother’s musical knowledge (and publishing riches) and the revolving door of punk royalty, she was exposed to, growing up in a house with John and Nora. Ari passed away from breast cancer in 2018 at age 48, after refusing chemotherapy and Nora and John became guardians to her three children, Pablo, Pedro and Wilton.

In 1984 Nora inherited $120 million from her father’s publishing fortune. She used the money, in part, to support local musicians who needed help.

Nora was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 and John Lydon became her full-time carer. She lived her final years in Venice Beach, California.

“There will be no replacement for her,” Lydon said of his wife of 44 years, during his Eurosong entry. “There can’t be.”

Rest in peace, Nora Forster.