Courtney Love Trades Blows With Kurt Cobain’s Mom, Admits To OxyContin OD

Singer continues fight to regain custody of her child, Frances Bean Cobain.
By Gil Kaufman, with additional reporting by Jennifer Vineyard

Kurt Cobain, Frances Bean and Courtney Love at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: MTV News

Courtney Love's fight for custody of her 11-year-old daughter, Frances Bean, turned ugly this week, as the troubled rock star engaged in a scuffle on Tuesday with late husband Kurt Cobain's mother outside a Los Angeles courtroom. The skirmish came as Love continues her fight to regain custody of Frances Bean, who was taken by child services a week after the singer's overdose on the prescription painkiller OxyContin earlier this month.

Though Love had initially claimed to have been on the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax, she admits in the current issue of People magazine, on newsstands Friday (October 24), that she took an overdose of the painkiller Oxycontin several hours after her arrest for being under the influence of a controlled substance (see "Courtney Love Faces Up To A Year In Jail For Drug Charge"). Hoping to knock herself out, Love took more than 20 milligrams of the drug, a synthetic form of morphine commonly referred to as "hillbilly heroin" (see "All About OxyContin, The Pills Known As 'Killers' ").

She told the magazine that Frances made her some green tea and the pair waited for an ambulance to transport the former Hole leader to the hospital following the overdose. "That's the only time my daughter has ever, ever, ever pitched in on one of my little crises," Love told the magazine. "I made it fun. I said it was going to be gross and I was going to have to make myself throw up but it was going to be okay."

A source close to Love, however, said that because Frances was present during the OD, Department of Children and Family Services became involved, as is procedure (see ).

Due to confidentiality laws, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services could not confirm any information about Love's case, but spokesperson Neil Zanville said, "Hypothetically, if someone is hospitalized or arrested under the influence of drugs and we feel that poses an abusive threat to the safety of a child, we will respond and assess the situation. We will remove that child and place him or her, usually with a relative."

Love reportedly did not cooperate, denying DCFS officials entry into her house on several occasions. So, on October 10, officials went to Frances' school and took her into protective custody, placing her with her grandmother, Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor. They also charged Love with abandonment, according to the DCFS report procured by People.

Shortly after Frances was taken away, the source said, Love became distraught, and started leaving frantic phone messages for friends in which she sounded self-destructive, even suicidal. People reports that it was one call in particular — in which Love said that she wanted to throw herself off the Empire State Building — that warranted concern.

"Yes, I was changing my will that week," Love previously told the New York Daily News. "I [also] left a message that was like, 'I want to die, I want to jump off the Empire State Building.' "

A source close to Love told MTV News that there was more than one message, including one in which Love talked about wanting to hang herself. Love told the Daily News that she had been joking, but her friends took her seriously enough to alert authorities. Love was temporarily hospitalized against her will for evaluation, though she left the hospital after only 24 hours, two days shy of the intended 72-hour period. "When someone has a legacy of suicide in their life," the source said, "you don't take comments like that lightly."

After Tuesday's court appearance, during which Love was ordered to move out of her home so that Frances could live there with her nanny and be supervised by Love's stepfather and an aunt, the singer engaged in a tense argument with O'Connor, and according to what her stepfather Frank Rodriguez told People, "there were slaps."

As the custody battle continues, Love will be granted regular visits with her daughter. She is scheduled to be arraigned on the drug charges October 31. Her lawyer said he is considering a court-offered option that would spare Love jail time in exchange for enrollment in treatment and counseling programs.

Citing confidentiality laws, a spokesperson for DCFS was unable to comment on the court proceedings. A spokesperson for Love had no comment.

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