Courtney Love sassy, quotable, wiser at 50
(First of two parts)
LOS ANGELES— “There are things that are starting to sag that shouldn’t be sagging,” Courtney Love quipped in her raspy voice about having turned 50 just a day before this recent interview.
Surprised with a birthday cake and a bouquet of roses, the musician-actress blew a candle and seemed genuinely moved. The 1990s’ “Queen of Rock,” putting away her wild and sordid past behind her, looked fit and lovely in a dress. She was sassy, frank and quotable, too.
“I have two gray hairs; my hairstylist found them,” she said. “I named them after lawyers.” (More about lawyers later.) While Courtney declared that she “did not dread” turning 50, she said those two gray strands in her blonde hair were enough to tell her that “it” was happening.
“The key is to just embrace it gracefully and not address it with fillers or plastic surgery,” said the famous widow of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain. “I am done with that. I don’t want it anymore. I haven’t done any of that stuff for years.”
“Physically, I am older and, obviously, I don’t do drugs anymore,” declared the woman who abused heroin and cocaine and overdosed on a prescription drug in 2003. Career-wise, she has some good news. The Golden Globe Best Actress nominee in 1997 for her acclaimed performance in “The People vs. Larry Flynt” landed a recurring pivotal role in FX’s series, “Sons of Anarchy.”
And the same woman, who fronted the grunge band Hole, just came out with a new single, “You Know My Name.”
Monkey on her back
She admitted, “I do have a monkey on my back, though—smoking. I am going to get rid of it. I use this (she took out an e-cigarette from her purse and blew a plume of vapor several times). I am trying to quit with this.”
The former punk princess pointed out, “You can’t smoke after 50. It’s kind of a bad love. So the drugs have passed, but the nicotine is still very dominant. On the set, I smoke. It is the last sin I need to get rid of. I have many sins.”
What are those other sins? “Just sex,” she replied with a smile, her blue eyes twinkling with naughtiness. “But… it’s good exercise.”
Love, romance, crushes
Sex makes her happy, she stressed. Also, “Love, romance, having a crush on somebody is always nice; them having a crush back [on you] is nicer.”
Does she like dating much younger men? “I don’t go that way so much. I know women who do.” Like Cher? “That’s who I was talking about,” she quickly answered. “Okay, so I had this Ralph Lauren underwear model and he is, like, 32 and gorgeous. But I couldn’t do it because I felt like his mom. I come with a lot of baggage, so it takes a lot of balls to be seen in public with me. However, I do date and I am pretty active. I just do it very discreetly.”
Courtney is glad that she’s on good terms again with Frances Bean Cobain, 21, who was barely 2 years old when Kurt committed suicide in 1994. Courtney had to battle for custody of Frances at least a couple of times. Frances, a visual artist, was estranged from her mother for several years.
“Seeing my child last night” made Courtney happy. She related, “I went to a very famous art dealer’s house with my daughter. We were with friends that I have had for so long, like David LaChapelle, Bono and (Michael) Stipe—good, stalwart people that I look up to who have done really well.”
The San Francisco native acknowledged that having money enabled her to isolate herself, and drugs fueled her much-publicized bizarre and confrontational behavior in the past. “I had [so much] money that I could isolate [myself],” she confessed. “Then drugs started seeping in. It started with prescription meds, then illegal drugs.
Out of control
“I feel bad and guilty about where things got out of control sometime around 2003 and 2004,” said the performer who had a reputation for being difficult and self-destructive. “I feel
terrible about how I allowed the estate to run out of control because of my lack of control. I had the wrong lawyers around me. I now have the right lawyers. [Frances is] covered; she’s got a great attorney.
“Unfortunately, in our business, attorneys are a fact of life,” she said, explaining why she named her two gray hair strands after lawyers. “You’ve got to have the right one. I went through every top entertainment attorney in this town until I found attorneys I felt safe with. For the first time in about 24 or 25 years since I could afford them, I finally have good attorneys. And good relationships with the attorneys that I considered my enemies, who had embezzled me. This is Hollywood—get used to it. I have to come to terms with that and my rage about that. Just let it go.”
“I was a lot angrier about the past when I was on drugs,” Courtney disclosed. “By letting the past go and, in my Buddhist practice, really reaching out to myself, I let all that rage at those lawyers go. I am responsible for my drug intake. But I was driven mad by how unbelievably obnoxious this ripping apart of Kurt’s estate was. I am not educated but I am not stupid.
“I don’t have a degree in finance, economics, law. I don’t have an MBA. I was full of rage. I did a lot of drugs to get away from that rage. It happened, it’s done. In this lifetime, we all lose money. There’s always a guy in your group of friends who’s pissed off about that guy who stole $116,000 or $42,000 from that one guy. That bitter, enraged guy? I don’t want to be that guy.”
Asked about her tattoos, Courtney obliged, “One says ‘Let It Bleed.’” She showed the ink on her upper right arm. “It’s a Rolling Stones song. It’s not the greatest, but I like the title.”
She added about her tattoos, “This was when Frances and I got estranged. I went down the street in St. Marks Place (New York). I just got a bad tattoo. I had to get a good tattoo artist to clean it up. But getting tattoos just to get tattoos is really lame and poseur-ish.”
‘K’ on her tummy
“I have a ‘K’ on my tummy,” she said about her ink tribute to her late husband. There are flower tattoos all over that are “cherry blossoms which symbolize all my great loves. I have ‘reserved’ two cherry blossoms for secret places… in the future.”
If Courtney could talk to her 20-year-old self, what would she say? She replied, laughing, “When you hit the A-list, don’t do drugs. Quit smoking before you start. Don’t text anyone after 9 p.m., no matter what, or you will ruin all your boyfriends. Just be really grateful. Be humble. Don’t be a b****. You can’t be bad to yourself—who wants to be around a mean person?”
(To be concluded Sunday)
(E-mail the columnist at [email protected] Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.)
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