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Kim Gordon on the Affair That Broke Up Sonic Youth

"It ended in a kind of normal way—midlife crisis, starstruck woman," Gordon said of her and Moore's 27-year-long marriage
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Paul Morigi

In October 2011, indie rock fans everywhere were delivered a heartbreaking blow: Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, the core of New York alt-noise bandits Sonic Youth, were divorcing after 27 years of marriage and effectively ending the beloved band. Why? No one really knew—until now. 

In a revealing new interview in Elle magazine, Gordon said Moore's affair with a younger woman was the deathblow to their relationship (which was sometimes praised for its longevity in the rock world).

"Some years ago, a woman Gordon declines to name became a part of the Sonic Youth world, first as the girlfriend of an erstwhile band member and later as a partner on a literary project with Moore," writes author Lizzy Goodman. "Eventually, Gordon discovered a text message and confronted him about having an affair. They went to counseling, but he kept seeing the other woman."

"We seemed to have a normal relationship inside of a crazy world," Gordon said of their marriage. "And in fact, it ended in a kind of normal way—midlife crisis, starstruck woman."

"We never got to the point where we could just get rid of her so I could decide what I wanted to do," Gordon added. "Thurston was carrying on this whole double life with her. He was really like a lost soul." 

Moore moved out of their Northampton, Massachusetts home, while Gordon stayed put with their daughter, Coco. She invited friends over for dinners to fill the big house: "Everyone helps out a bit with the dogs," she said. "It’s nice to have people around." Things got worse, though, when Gordon was diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer. "I'm fine; it’s literally the best you can have," she said. She was treated with a lumpectomy, and said that listening to hip hop helped her recover from both events. "Rap music is really good when you’re traumatized," she said.

Their divorce is still yet to be finalized, though, which Gordon blames on nearly 30 years of collecting ... stuff. "We have all these books, records, and art and are getting it all assessed; that’s what is taking so long," she said.

Now 59, Gordon said she's being chased by younger men, duh, including a restaurateur, an architect and an actor. "It’s just weird," Gordon said of dating for the first time in almost 30 years. "I can’t tell what’s normal." 

"I can understand people being curious," Gordon said of fans' interest in their divorce and future of Sonic Youth. "I’m curious myself. What's going to happen now?"

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