Tuesday 23 January 2018

Who is Frances Bean Cobain?

Frances Bean Cobain and Courtney Love attend the
Frances Bean Cobain and Courtney Love attend the "Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck" Premiere during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival at The Marc Theatre on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for Sundance)
Artist Frances Bean Cobain attends the HBO documentary films Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Sundance premiere on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for HBO)
Frances Bean Cobain, Courtney Love
Kurt Cobain with his wife Courtney Love and their daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and Sinead O'Connor, in 1993.
Courtney Love with husband Kurt Cobain and daughter Frances Bean in the 90s
Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain and their daughter Frances Bean
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
Kurt Cobain during the taping of MTV Unplugged at Sony Studios in New York City 1993
An attic bedroom used by Kurt Cobain still has the stencil-like logos of bands that he reportedly put on the walls
The childhood home of Kurt Cobain

Alice Vincent

As Kurt Cobain's daughter releases a documentary about her father, we explain her life and career so far.

Who is she?

Frances Bean Cobain is the 22-year-old daughter of late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and former Hole lead singer and guitarist Courtney Love. She's a visual artist and the executive producer of Montage of Heck, the new documentary about Kurt's life and career.

Why is she in the news?

Aside from the imminent release of Montage of Heck, the famously private Cobain has gone on the record to discuss her father publicly for the first time in an interview with Rolling Stone.

What does she say?

Cobain comes across as older and wiser than her 22 years, and is eloquent about the father she never knew and barely remembers. She mentions Kurt's determination, saying: "My dad was exceptionally ambitious. But he had a lot thrown on him, exceeding his ambition. He wanted his band to be successful. But he didn't want to be the f------ voice of a generation."

She added that she's not a fan of Nirvana, but realised that the grunge band's influence was inescapable when she was 15: "Even if I was in a car and had the radio on, there's my dad. He's larger than life. and our culture is obsessed with dead musicians. We love to put them on a pedestal.

"If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible...But he wasn't. He inspired people to put him on a pedestal, to become St Kurt. He became even bigger after he died than he was when he was alive. You don't think it could have gotten any bigger. But it did."

Cobain also spoke touchingly about her father's suicide, which took place when she wasn't even two: "Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art, because the world demanded it of him."

"I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn't want to be here and everyone would be happier without him."

Cobain has had a turbulent upbringing

Although she has long maintained the importance of her private life, Cobain has been dragged into the law suits and scandals that accompanied an early life marred by custody battles and drug addiction. She was first taken away from her parents by social services at just two weeks old after accusations that Love was using heroin during her pregnancy, but her parents did regain custody shortly after.

Following Kurt's death, a week after Cobain saw him for the last time at a rehab clinic, she was raised by Love, her aunts and Kurt's mother in between Seattle and Los Angeles. Between 2003 and 2005 Cobain lived with her grandmother after Love was arrested for drugs.

When Cobain was 17, a restraining order was reportedly put on Love, preventing her from having any contact with her daughter after allegations of domestic violence.

In an interview with The Telegraph last year, Love said that she had been reunited with her daughter and blamed their estrangement on money-hungry lawyers. The 50-year-old described it as "a really dark public humiliation. My own kid. Not fun.

"Without getting into her personal life, which she’s very private about, she saw people being dishonest and craven, and she eventually came back and said 'I need my mom'. She inherited my big mouth and her dad’s temperament."

Cobain could have been a movie star

She reportedly turned down the title role in Tim Burton's blockbuster adaptation of Alice in Wonderland as a teenager, and according to Love, also gave up the opportunity to "be in Twilight at 15".

Instead, she explained in the Rolling Stone interview, she did work experience at the magazine as "a 15-year-old Goth kid", and had to work across from a giant painting of Kurt: " "looking at my dad every day."

She reminds the other members of Nirvana of her father

Although she has only really heard it on Montage of Heck, Cobain says her father's speaking voice "is sort of similar to mine. The depth to it is similar to the way I speak. I wasn't even talking when he was around".

Furthermore, when Kurt's former bandmates Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear came to visit Cobain, they were amazed by her similarity to her father: "Dave said, "'She is so much like Kurt.'"

"They were all talking among themselves, rehashing old stories I'd heard a million times. I was sitting in a chair, chain-smoking, looking down like this [affects total boredom]. And they went, 'You are doing exactly what your father would have done.'"

Cobain: Montage of Heck - the fan review 


Promoted Links

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment