Courtney Love EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Cobain's rockstar wife's formative years 'Chaos follows her'

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Courtney Love was born in San Francisco to psychotherapist Linda Carroll and Hank Harrison, the road manager for the Grateful Dead. She had a troubled childhood, her parents divorcing when she was young, moving to Oregon with her mother and being adopted by her then-stepfather Frank Rodriguez. When her mother divorced Rodriguez and remarried, the family relocated to New Zealand before a young Love was sent back to live in Portland, Oregon.

She also spent a spell in an institution for criminally inclined teens after being caught shoplifting.

At the age of 17, in 1982, the future rocker embarked on a whirlwind trip to Europe with her best friend Robin Barbur.

From Dublin to Liverpool and London to Manchester, the pair chased bands, whiled away hours drinking cider outside record stores and embedded themselves in the music scene.

This period is the focus of Dave Haslam’s new book in his Art Decades series, Searching for Love.


Courtney Love EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Cobain's rockstar wife's formative years 'Chaos follows her'

Courtney Love: Kurt Cobain’s rockstar wife is the subject of a new book by Dave Haslam (Image: GETTY)

Courtney Love EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Cobain's rockstar wife's formative years 'Chaos follows her'

Courtney Love: The rocker spent a wild few months in Liverpool in 1982 (Image: GETTY)

In an interview with, Haslam, who interviewed a number of people close to Love and others who had more strained relationships with her during her time based in Liverpool, revealed how the star’s early years shaped her destiny.

“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,” he noted. “And the rawness that she exemplified when she was in Hole, you can see where all that comes from.

“I think Liverpool was the place where she learned how to channel that alienation and that upset and turn it into music just by hanging out with musicians, almost by osmosis.”

Haslam said chaos has “always surrounded” Love, who later went on to marry Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

Courtney Love EXCLUSIVE: Kurt Cobain's rockstar wife's formative years 'Chaos follows her'

Courtney Love: The Hole star married Kurt Cobain in 1992 (Image: GETTY)

“To a degree she caused a bit of chaos in Liverpool,” he said. “She herself admits that she had LSD with her that was given to her by her father, who was living in Ireland at the time.

“So, they were known as the loud American girls with LSD. So, they attracted quite a lot of attention for that reason.

“The Liverpool crowd were quite into the psychedelics.”

Haslam went on to speak about how the wild nature of Love’s escapes foreshadowed the turbulent life she’s led in the years since.


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“I don’t think she was ever going to go back to Portland, Oregon, and marry an accountant,” he said.

“The kind of life that she’s had since was the kind of life that she was in some ways destined for after Liverpool.

“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,” he mused.

Searching For Love details the Hole singer’s feud with Pete Burns and how they used to shout abuse at each other when their paths crossed in Liverpool.

From a foggy tale of how Love lost her virginity — accounts of which vary as to the indentity of the man in question — to encounters with Queen legend Freddie Mercury, the book paints a vivid picture of the formative years of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most scrutinised personalities.

Around 10 years after the time she spent in Liverpool, Love married Nirvana rocker Cobain.

The pair, both important figures in alternative rock in their own rights, struggled with addiction and led troubled lives away from the stage.

They welcomed their only child, Frances Bean Cobain, in 1992, shortly after they tied the knot.

Cobain died by suicide on April 5, 1994.

Searching for Love: Courtney Love in Liverpool, 1982 by Dave Haslam (£7) is part of the Art Decades series, published by Confingo Publishing

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