Courtney Love was born in San Francisco in 1964, the daughter of psychotherapist Linda Carroll and the Grateful Dead’s road manager Hank Harrison. She had a turbulent childhood, moving to Oregon after her parents divorced and being adopted by her then-stepfather. Her mother later divorced again, remarried and moved to New Zealand.
As a child, Love was soon sent back to the States to live with family in Portland, Oregon.
In an interview with Express.co.uk, author and DJ Dave Haslam spoke about researching the early years of one of the most scrutinised rockstars in the world, who would go on to marry Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
“I hadn’t realise that her young life was quite as dysfunctional as it was in her early life in America,” he said.
“It was incredibly difficult and very troubled.”
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“She was in an institution for a couple of years after stealing a Kiss T-shirt from Woolworths,” he continued. “I’m amazed, really, that she even survived ’til she was old enough to go to Liverpool, let alone all the stuff that she’s had to deal with subsequently.
“I kind of began to admire her and her strengths even more having written the book,” he added.
Love ended up in an institution for criminally inclined teens after being caught shoplifting.
Courtney Love married Kurt Cobain in 1992
In Searching for Love, Haslam writes: “Even if you believe in the possibility of an idyllic childhood, you definitely wouldn’t define such a thing the way Courtey had been forced to live her early life.”
After leaving the institution months before her 16th birthday, a young Love found herself without a home, spending a while sleeping on friends’ sofas.
Addressing the effect Love’s troubled early years had on her later in life, Haslam said: “Years of being ignored as a child may psychologically have meant that she had so much pent up need to talk and say stuff and get stuff off her chest.
“And the rawness that she exemplified when she was in Hole, you can see where all that comes from.”
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“All of us are obviously shaped very much by our formative years, that’s why they’re called formative,” Haslam continued. “Our late adolescence, we’re particularly porous.
“We will absorb experiences in our late adolescence and it is something that we take throughout our lives.”
Love spent a number of months hanging around record stores and bands like Teardrop Explodes in 1982 when she was 17-years-old.
The time there was as wild as fans have come to expect from the musician, and Haslam draws a link between that period and the struggles of her later life.
“The kind of life that she’s had since was the kind of life that she was in some ways destined for after Liverpool,” he said.
“On the one hand, chaos was always going to follow her but, on the other hand, she did somehow — she does still — have that ability to survive it all and be herself.”
Love married Nirvana’s Cobain in 1992 and the pair battled struggles with addiction for years.
Cobain took his own life in 1994.
Searching for Love: Courtney Love in Liverpool, 1982 by Dave Haslam (£7) is part of the Art Decades series, published by Confingo Publishing www.confingopublishing.uk.