Happy 50th birthday, Courtney Love. And thank you for this - the most awkward 'celebrity' interview of all time

What greater gift to bestow upon the world of entertainment as she marks her landmark year

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The Independent Online

“I tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club when I was 11,” Courtney Love said. “But I read a Sylvia Plath poem about incest, so that wasn’t really flying with Disney.”

And so her career continued thusly – the epitome of deliberate contradiction – as she stumbled from stage to interview, dressed like a prom queen and swearing like a trucker.

As the frontwoman of  grunge act Hole, she led an aggressive pro-female musical movement. She was also one of the least sisterly feminists in the business, famously punching Riot Grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna in the face in 1995 and winding up with a suspended sentence for assault.

She is a loving mother to Frances Bean Cobain and was a wife to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, who tragically took his own life on 8 April 1994. As a couple, they both courted controversy and desperately suffered from it; their battles with drug addiction and fidelity all too crassly the morbid subject of public fascination.


“Some people say you, in a way, have got a death wish,” Barbara Walters asked a then 31 and still grieving Courtney Love in 1995, as she raked over the raw details of her continued self-abuse in the wake of Cobain’s death. “They say you’re going to end up dying well before [your time].”

Turns out, she was wrong. Because Love, in yet another contrasting twist, is the ultimate survivor. And despite all her experimentations, despite all the cards life has thrown at her, she’s managed to crawl her way to 50 with a clutch of classic records, an acclaimed acting credit and a reputation as one of the greatest rock stars of all time.

She’s also the woman behind one of the most awkward “celebrity” interviews ever conducted. No mean feat, we can assure you.

Behold – Courtney Love meets David Lettermen in 2004: a slurring, loose-limbed extravaganza that starts with cyclical boob flashing (in loving tribute to Drew Barrymore’s famous stunt) and ends with her desperately attempting to stay upright as she performs “Hold On To Me”. Absolute TV gold.

OK, two of the most awkward “celebrity” interviews ever conducted. Because it’s difficult to appreciate quite what Love has given the world of entertainment without making reference to this brilliant video bomb, in which she crashes an MTV interview with Madonna in 1995. She ends up on the floor. Naturally.

In classic Love style, she chose to mark her birthday her way - by listing her 50 biggest obsessions in a special column for XOJane. Top of her list? "Sex," she says. "Obviously." But her "proudest accomplishment", Frances Bean, comes a close second.