When Matador announced that Sonic Youth power-couple Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore were separating after 27 years of marriage in late 2011, the label kept the circumstances of the split private. A year and a half later, with the divorce not yet finalized, Gordon has revealed what caused the dissolution of one of music’s most extraordinary unions, and, sadly, it was one of the ordinary ones.
Opening up to ELLE, Gordon explains, “We seemed to have a normal relationship inside of a crazy world. And in fact, it ended in a kind of normal way — midlife crisis, starstruck woman.” The musician, painter, and mother to a college-aged daughter with Moore, explains it simply: “Thurston was carrying on this whole double life” with another woman, someone who had orbited the band for a time, and whom Moore continued to see even after he and Gordon sought marriage counseling. She describes her husband then as ” a really lost soul.”
In the dark days that followed, Gordon was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer (“I’m fine; it’s literally the best you can have,” she says in the interview), which was treated with a lumpectomy. She’s since recovered and is entertaining a roster of younger suitors while she keeps busy with an ever-expanding list of projects. As SPIN has reported, Gordon’s new outfit with Bill Nace, Body/Head, will perform at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown Festival in June. (Moore’s new band Chelsea Light Moving is also on that bill.) She also appeared onstage at Dinosaur Jr.’s reunion sludgefest alongside Johnny Marr, Black Francis, and Kurt Vile at the end of last year.
As Gordon and Moore settle their assets, the future of Sonic Youth remains unclear. But for the resilient frontwoman — a role model for generations of rebellious women everywhere — the future holds nothing but possibility.