Ian Curtis’ wife felt ‘angry’ and ‘humiliated’ about being subject of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’

Deborah Curtis writes candidly in a new book, exclusively extracted in this week's NME

Joy Division singer Ian Curtis’ widow Deborah Curtis has admitted that she felt “angry” and “humiliated” when she found out that ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ was written about her.

Detailing the event in the introduction to new book So This Is Permanence: Ian Curtis, Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks – reprinted exclusively in this week’s NME, on newsstands from today (October 8) and available digitally, Deborah speaks candidly about Joy Division’s 1980 hit.

Speaking about how their life changed after Ian was diagnosed with epilepsy, Deborah explains that “he became resentful at home as if broaching the subject of his illness aloud made it more real”, and detailed how the frontman used to channel this into his writing and performance. “How did I feel when Rob Gretton told me ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ was about me? Angry, humiliated,” she revealed. “I scoured his manuscripts looking for evidence that it wasn’t so.” “The burden of finding a way to displace what was happening in his life must have twisted him to the core,” she added.


Elsewhere in the piece, Deborah also talked about meeting Ian for the first time when he “was wearing eye makeup, tight jeans and a fun fur jacket” and about finding the late frontman’s handwritten journals.

A selection of pages from the journal including the original handwritten lyrics to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ alongside Deborah Curtis’ full introduction can be found in this week’s NME magazine.

So This Is Permanence: Ian Curtis, Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks, edited by Deborah Curtis and Jon Savage, is published through Faber & Faber on October 16.

Meanwhile, former Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner also recently released an autobiography entitled ‘Chapter and Verse’. Going into detail about the group, it was labelled “cruel and spiteful” by bassist Peter Hook for its depiction of inter-band relationships.