In a brand new interview with radio DJ Eddie Winters, ’80s hard rock queen Lita Ford opened up about what she has described in her newly released memoir as an abusive relationship with BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi. The former RUNAWAYS member said (hear audio below): “Tony Iommi was my idol, him and Ritchie Blackmore [DEEP PURPLE]. When I was growing up, the first concert I ever saw was BLACK SABBATH, when I was 13, and Tony Iommi was just like a God in my eyes; he was a hero to me, and still is. Even though… You have to read the book, but he was abusive, and that almost killed me — literally. And I didn’t expect that from my superhero.”
She continued: “When your superhero turns around and he’s not the person that you’d hoped him to be. He becomes… you know, hurting you and just being abusive. It’s like, ‘Wow!’ I mean, if you go up to Spider-Man and say, ‘Oh, I love you, Spider-Man. I think you’re the best thing. I love how you crawl upside down on the walls and I just wanna be you. And I wish I could do that. And I wish I could be like you.’ And then if he turns around and hits you in the mouth, you’re gonna go, ‘Woah! That’s not the Spider-Man I thought you were.'”
Asked if she was concerned about including such explosive claims in her book, considering how revered Iommi is by rock fans and other performers, Lita said: “Well, if they read the entire story, they’ll see that I don’t have any hard feelings, and Tony will always be a superhero in my mind; he will always be that guitar-playing God. That’s how I wanna remember him. Because I don’t have to live with him and I don’t have to see him anymore. I know what kind of person he is — musically and personally. And the personal side never has to exist again. So I will remember him for his great riffs and his great music.”
In “Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir”, Lita writes at great length about her relationship with Iommi, which she claims started when she and THE RUNAWAYS opened for BLACK SABBATH, and they tried — but failed — to have sex because Iommi was “too high” on cocaine. Ford writes: “He seemed so charming, confident and handsome. I would later find out that looks are deceiving.”
The physical abuse began on a flight to England to meet his mother, she claims, when Iommi “out of nowhere… hauled off and punched me in the eye.”
The abuse continued, she says, culminating in a frightening episode that she said occurred after they became engaged. “After snorting tons of blow, he got angry and choked me unconscious,” she writes. “When I woke up, I saw him holding a chair above my head. It was a big, heavy leather chair with studs around the arms, and he was about to smash it over my face. I rolled over, and luckily I moved fast enough that he missed me and the chair smashed into the ground.”
She eventually parted ways with Iommi, who went on to hire her band behind her back, she claims.
“Lita Ford – Living Like A Runaway: A Memoir” was released today (Tuesday, February 23) via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Lita Ford photo credit: Dustin Jack