Courtney Michelle Love (née Harrison; born July 9, 1964) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and visual artist. A notable figure in the punk and grunge scenes of the 1990s, Love’s career has spanned four decades. She rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Hole, which she formed in 1989. Love has drawn public attention for her uninhibited live performances and confrontational lyrics, as well as her highly publicized personal life following her marriage to Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Born to countercultural parents in San Francisco, Love had an itinerant childhood, but was primarily raised in Portland, Oregon, where she played in a series of short-lived bands and was active in the local punk scene. After being interned in a juvenile hall, she spent a year abroad living in Dublin and Liverpool before returning to the United States and being cast in the Alex Cox films Sid and Nancy (1986) and Straight to Hell (1987). She formed Hole in Los Angeles, receiving attention from underground rock press for the group’s 1991 debut album, produced by Kim Gordon. Hole’s second release, Live Through This (1994), was met with critical accolades and multi-platinum sales. In 1995, Love returned to acting, earning a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance as Althea Leasure in Miloš Forman‘s The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), which established her as a mainstream actress. The following year, Hole’s third album, Celebrity Skin (1998), was nominated for three Grammy Awards.
Love continued to work as an actress into the early 2000s, appearing in big-budget pictures such as Man on the Moon (1999) and Trapped (2002), before releasing her first solo album, America’s Sweetheart, in 2004. The next years were marked by publicity surrounding Love’s legal troubles and drug addiction, which resulted in a mandatory lockdown rehabilitationsentence in 2005 while she was writing a second solo album. That project became Nobody’s Daughter, released in 2010 as a Hole album but without the former Hole lineup. Between 2014 and 2015, Love released two solo singles and returned to acting in the network series Sons of Anarchy and Empire.
Love has also been active as a writer; she co-created and co-wrote three volumes of a manga, Princess Ai, between 2004 and 2006, and wrote a memoir, Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love (2006). In 2012, she premiered an exhibit of mixed media visual art, And She’s Not Even Pretty.