Pamela Courson: What Happened To Jim Morrison's Girlfriend?

People like to romanticize the relationships of famous musicians. The optimistic and more amorously inclined can still be seen out in public with t-shirts covered in images of Sid and Nancy, or John and Yoko... Despite all of the evidence pointing to each of those power couples living lives less like Nicholas Sparks books and more like Vince Gilligan B-plots, the fantasy persists.

Case in point: For the majority of his brief adult life, Jim Morrison was romantically involved with a young woman named Pamela Courson. The couple had all of the earmarks of a classic tumultuous rock and roll relationship — boozy escapades, drug-fueled fights, globe trotting, and more blown money than most people will ever see up close. Their time together was made especially complicated by repeated break-ups, reunions, and infidelities, with Morrison reportedly even going so far as to marry a rock critic named in a pagan handfasting ceremony in 1970. People are strange.

Still, Pamela was a constant in Jim's life, and the two seemed to keep coming back to each other.

Pamela Courson died three years after Jim Morrison's death

It was Pamela Courson who found the Doors' frontman dead in the bathtub of their Paris apartment in July 1971. Jim Morrison was 27 years old. As noted by NPR, his cause of death was determined to be heart failure, and no autopsy was performed.

Flying in the face of that whole "Jim got married" thing from earlier, Morrison declared himself an "unmarried person" in his will, and bequeathed his estate to Courson. This development meant a load of trouble for Courson. Tabloids ran speculative news pieces on her potential role in Morrison's death: she'd found the body, alone, and had something to gain. Adding to that were a series of lawsuits contesting the legitimacy of the will.

As Cultura Collectiva reports it, none of this helped Courson's already turbulent state of mind. Her substance abuse issues worsened, and her behavior spiraled: she would refer to herself as "Mrs. Morrison" and tell people she was expecting a call from Jim.

In the end, the self-destruction caught up with her. Three years after Morrison's death, Courson died of a heroin overdose. She was 27. According to Cheat Sheet, she was declared Morrison's common-law wife after her death.