Feature

Rotten’s soft side

John Lydon, the former Sex Pistols frontman, is a true family man.

John Lydon is a true family man, said Michael Odell in The Times (U.K.). Fifteen years ago, the former Sex Pistols frontman—known as Johnny Rotten in the 1970s—stepped in to help raise his wife’s teenage grandchildren. The twin boys’ mother, Ariane Forster, was living in Jamaica as a reggae musician and Rastafarian. “They’d been forced to grow dreadlocks,” says Lydon, 56. “They couldn’t wait to cut them off.” In 2008, Lydon’s stepdaughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, but ignored medical advice to undergo chemotherapy. “Who refuses chemo because they don’t want their Rasta locks cut off?” Lydon says angrily. “Ariane was just…not sensible. She thought she could cure herself with witch doctors. We spent hundreds of thousands trying to save her, but it was too late.” Ariane died in 2010, and Lydon and his wife also took in her youngest son, Wilton. “I love the boys and vice versa. My role now is to bring them up as best we can. It’s about education. Education is the key to everything.” The former punk rocker, who lives in Marina del Rey, Calif., is a regular attendee at school parents’ evenings. “You should see the teachers’ faces!” he guffaws. “Oh, how they enjoy explaining grammar to Johnny Rotten!"

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