The Sad Truth About Kurt Cobain And Courtney Love's Marriage

Troubled rocker Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994 in Seattle, per Britannica. His death was a shocking, violent end to a life that had been punctuated by great success and great sadness. His marriage to Courtney Love proved an emotional rollercoaster too.

Theirs was a tragic whirlwind romance. According to Radio X, the pair met in a Seattle club in January 1990. Cobain reportedly stated that he was "determined to be a bachelor" for a time during this period, but found Love just too beguiling to resist. She, meanwhile, had been attracted to him since seeing him perform at a gig at the close of the 1980s. In short order, they were married; Hello! Reports that they became an item around a year after meeting and the wedding took place on February 24, 1992. Their marriage lasted just over two years until Cobain's sad death on April 5, 1994, per History.

By this time, Nirvana's fame had taken a toll on Cobain, and Love had achieved fame as part of the band Hole — and possibly more so as half of the grunge rock power couple. Life in the public eye, as usual, proved to be both a blessing and a curse for the troubled pair, and their tragically short-lived marriage was nothing if not tempestuous.

Cobain and Love's pregnancy worried many

In 1992, Lynn Hirschberg of Vanity Fair deemed the enigmatic Courtney Love "a train-wreck personality: she may be awful, but you can't take your eyes off her," stating that this was her reputation in the musical community at the time. Drug addiction certainly plagued her life with Cobain, and, per Hirschberg, there were suggestions that Cobain's heroin use began because of his wife's own. This fact, it seems, led close friends to fear for the well-being of their child, Love already being pregnant when the pair married.

Biography reports that the troubled spouses became stuck in a cycle, attempting to conquer their addictions (such as signing up for separate detox in March of 1992) but soon relapsing back into their deadly habits. Life would always have been high-octane, hectic, and unpredictable for two prominent stars of their caliber, but they just seemed to find ways to make it even harder for themselves, and parenthood was no exception. 

The courts intervened when Frances Bean Cobain was born

Cobain and Love, with the rollercoaster lives they led, would inevitably find parenting a difficult task. Naturally, being a new parent is challenging, but the high-profile pair's lifestyle and substance abuse issues did not lend themselves to being fully available to their new roles as a mom and dad. Their only child, Frances Bean Cobain, was born in August 1992, per Biography, and she soon became caught up in the notoriety of her parents. Very, very soon, in fact. 

According to Charles R. Cross' "Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography Of Kurt Cobain," the Vanity Fair article was so worrying to the authorities that "two days after Frances' birth, a social worker from the Los Angeles County Department Of Children's Services appeared in the hospital, holding a copy [of the magazine]."

The couple were terrified that they would lose their daughter, and, per Cross, legal proceedings were only resolved when they agreed to arrange nannies and family members as temporary full-time care for the girl. Several nannies helped care for little Francis Bean, and according to Biography, a nanny took her to see Kurt in March 1994 just weeks before he died.

They could have had a bigger family

As traumatic as the experience surely was, Love would later state that she always knew she wanted to have children. Cobain himself seemed to share the very same sentiment. He told the Los Angeles Times in 1992, "There's nothing better than having a baby. I've always loved children ... I knew that when I had a child, I'd be overwhelmed and it's true ... I can't tell you how much my attitude has changed since we've got Frances. Holding my baby is the best drug in the world."

"Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" is an HBO documentary that dives deep into the tormented, incredible, emotional life of the Nirvana icon. Really, the only way to approach such subject matter is to be stark and honest, to honor the truth of the man and his relationships by presenting both the best and the worst of his story. With Francis and Love being executive producers of the film, The Washington Post states, it certainly achieves this. As did Love herself in her appearances on it.

Though the couple was quickly married and she was pregnant even quicker, per Love, that was exactly how they wanted it. "We were all we had, so making a family as fast as possible was important," she said. She went on to reveal that they had plans for a larger family together. If they had only had more years to share, said Love, "I'm telling you, I would have had more kids with him."

Toxic times

Elsewhere on "Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck" (via The Washington Post), Love shared the fact that, though they adored each other, infidelity did cross her mind, if only briefly. While the Nirvana jet setter was performing in Rome, she reportedly said, she was in London. She didn't have an affair while there but could have, and Cobain learned of this. "The response to it was he took 67 Rohypnol and ended up in a coma because I thought about cheating on him," she revealed.

It seems that the pair remained faithful to each other to the end. There were those that didn't approve of Love, though, and were opposed to their marriage. Love herself told Vanity Fair in her fateful 1992 interview that some detractors felt she was beneath the Nirvana star.

"The anti-Courtney factions say 'and she's not even pretty,'" she reported, but she wasn't at all phased. In fact, she hit right back at such comments by writing a zine for fans of her own high-profile band, Hole. It was snarkily titled "And She's Not Even Pretty." In 2012 she held an art exhibit with her own work by the same name, per Huffington Post

A stormy but eternal love

Tragically, Kurt and Courtney's rollercoaster romance wouldn't last. Cobain took his own life at 27 years old. His daughter was just 19-months old according to Far Out Magazine. He was one in a long, lamented line of great talents who died far too soon.

Losing Cobain devastated music fans around the world, and Love and their little family were profoundly affected too. In November 2011, per Billboard, Vanity Fair asked her if she was angry about his death. She responded, in a characteristically frank and candid fashion, "Mad? Ya think?! If he came back right now I'd have to kill him, for what he did to us."

Nevertheless, there's no doubt that their relationship, tormented and cut short as it was, had roots of intense love. In 2020, Hello! reported that Love shared a photograph of the pair's wedding to mark the 28th anniversary of that special day. To caption the shot, she wrote of her feelings at her wedding, "deeply delighted, dizzy, so in love," concluding that her husband was, and remains in her eyes, "an angel."