John Lydon said he was “disturbed” to leave his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, so he could compete to be Ireland’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.
His band Public Image Ltd, also known as PiL, formed following the break-up of the Sex Pistols in 1978, and lost out to We Are One by the Irish band Wild Youth after a public vote earlier this month.
Born in London to Irish parents, Lydon entered with the song Hawaii, which was described as a “love letter” to his wife of nearly 50 years, Nora.
In an interview before the competition in Dublin and published on Sunday, Lydon told the Sunday Times: “Unbeknownst to me (my manager has) thrown me in the deep end and I don’t know if I can survive.
“Will my ego come back? It’s hard to go from 24/7 care to this. I’m unprepared.
“I have to bring this illness up to the public but leaving Nora disturbs me. It’s a rock and a hard place. But what do I do?”
After Lydon lost, he said he did not regret competing and was glad that he had raised awareness of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
He said: “We had responses from victims who said they were close to suicide but for this song.”
Lydon added that since caring for Nora, all the things he had thought would be the “ultimate agony seem preposterous now”.
He also said their later years should be “adventurous” but it was “not going to plan”.
Lydon added: “I break into tears thinking about it.”
Formerly known as Johnny Rotten, he also said he would sit with his wife, hold her hands and show her his post-punk group on RTE’s The Late Late Show Eurosong Special when he returned home.
He also spoke about his relationship with Dame Vivienne Westwood, who died at the age of 81 in December.
Lydon said: “She never liked me. But I was sad to hear she’d died, because I know what that is like for the family.”
Dame Vivienne rose to fame after the Sex Pistols wore the designs of her and former partner Malcolm McLaren, who managed the punk rock band.