Recently, on April 5th, 2017, we passed the 23-year mark of the day that Kurt Cobain died. The death of the Nirvana lead singer left a big hole in the music industry that still feels unfilled to this day. The shocking and tragic nature of the frontman’s death sent shockwaves throughout the music world and, frankly, the entire world. In death, Kurt Cobain left behind his wife, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love, and a daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Frances Bean was just barely 2-years old when her father died, and now she lives her life at age 24. On a more uplifting note, the heiress of the Nirvana singer has managed to live a widely stable and successful life. As with anyone, there have been hardships along the way over the years, but it’s hard to live an easy life when you’re always associated with being the daughter of such a high-profile musician.
There is a big reason why you don’t hear much about the daughter of the respective lead singers of Hole and Nirvana. Despite the world-renowned fame and acclaim that both Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love achieved in their careers, Frances Bean doesn’t want any of their fame or anything similar. She has actively tried to stay away from the public spotlight. She understands the kind of stress that public notoriety struck her father with and therefore tries at all costs to keep away from baiting the media in any way, shape, or form. Some would call it a wise move, but whatever you call it, the fact that Frances Bean even needs to dodge through hoops to avoid the press is disappointing — not just because she has to dodge through hoops to avoid media, but also because she has some tremendous talents that deserve more attention, talents that not enough people know about because Frances Bean avoids the media. We’re going to take a moment and use what little glimpses we’ve seen of Frances Bean over the years to talk about the interesting life, talents, and triumphs of one Frances Bean Cobain.
15. Custody Battle Over Her
When Frances Bean was just 2 weeks old, she was already the center of media controversy. Before Courtney Love gave birth to young Frances Bean, there were several rumors circulating that claimed Love was using heroin while pregnant with her child. These rumors intensified when Lynn Hirschberg wrote a Vanity Fair article titled “Strange Love,” which alleged Love admitted she had continued to use drugs even after learning of her pregnancy. Both Love and Kurt Cobain would announce that her comments were taken out of context, but that didn’t stop child welfare services from investigating the pair. Things got so bad that legal guardianship and custody were taken away from the couple, as was their 2-week old baby girl. Legal battles continued until the grungy lovers regained custody of their beloved child. Even after the two had regained legal guardianship of their child, they still felt jaded from what media speculation and rumors had done to them. Kurt especially remained surfeited by the media.
14. Last Time She Saw Her Father
The last time we ever see our loved ones before they pass away is always a bittersweet affair. The last time that Frances Bean saw her father is no different. The final time when Frances Bean saw Kurt Cobain was on April 1st, 1994. On this day, the young girl was taken to visit her father in rehab at the Exodus Recovery Center. Kurt Cobain admitted himself into the facility following a drug overdose he suffered the previous month. Opposed to letting his pain on the inside be pronounced loud and clear for his daughter to see, he kept it all hidden for the sake of the child as the two played together that day. 4 days later, Kurt Cobain killed himself via a shotgun wound to the head. Though Frances Bean was so young at the time that she can’t recall her final or any memory of her father, at least she was able to be playful with him in their final moments together. Not everyone is afforded the same luxury of having one last positive moment with their loved one.
13. Won Emancipation From Her Mother
It would be an understatement to say that Frances Bean’s relationship with Courtney Love over the years has been a rocky one. It’s a normal thing for daughters to butt heads with their mothers, but Frances’s relationship with her mother got so bad that she needed to walk away from the woman altogether. In 2009, Frances Bean’s grandmother and aunt (Kurt Cobain’s sister) earned temporary guardianship over the girl following some heated allegations. Among these allegations, according to legal documents and Frances Bean’s own medical records, was domestic violence. A restraining order was also filed against Love, prohibiting the Hole frontwoman from making any contact whatsoever with Frances Bean. By the summer of 2010, Frances Bean was legally emancipated from her mother at the age of 18. The two have been estranged for years, but in a move that seems to prove that time heals all wounds, the two were reunited recently in the wake of the documentary release Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.
12. Meaning Behind Frances’s Name
It’s a common misconception that Kurt Cobain was inspired to name his daughter Frances based on actress Frances Farmer, who was the basis for the Nirvana song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge” on the In Utero album. While that would have made sense, it’s simply not true. In actuality, he named his daughter Frances after Frances McKee. For those unfamiliar with McKee and her works, she is the lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter for Scottish band The Vaselines. Kurt Cobain was a big fan of the band, and so he dedicated his daughter’s name to them. As for his daughter’s slightly more obscure middle name of equally mysterious origins, Kurt Cobain gave his daughter the middle name Bean because he thought she looked strangely similar to a kidney bean when he viewed her ultrasound.
11. Godparents – Drew Barrymore & Michael Stipe
While much of the drama and tragedy surrounding the Cobain family seems to have been the focus of the public for ages now, one thing about them is a little-known fact concerning the godparents of Frances Bean. Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain named the odd pairing of Drew Barrymore and Michael Stipe as the godparents of Frances Bean. The pedigrees of both Drew and Stipe speak for themselves. Barrymore being the Golden-Globe-winning Hollywood starlet and Stipe being the Grammy-winning lead singer of R.E.M. However, to the average person looking in, the two may not be obvious choices for godparents, especially for the Cobain family. What few people know is that both Barrymore and Stipe were close friends of the Cobains in the 90s. Stipe himself was a big musical influence on Cobain for Nirvana and the two produced a genuine friendship. Due to their friendships, the odd pair were named Frances Bean’s godparents.
10. Her Sweet 16 Was Suicide-Themed
The average female young adult is likely to surround themselves with lavish expenses in the wake of their 16th birthday — luxury cars for presents, glitz and glam for decorations, and other dazzling perks necessary for entry into early adulthood. Not Frances Bean Cobain. Then again, Frances Bean Cobain was never the average female young adult to begin with — not when her dad is Kurt Cobain. For that reason, she didn’t have a typical Sweet 16 but a more unique “RIP Childhood” celebration instead for her 16th birthday party. Her party was held at the distinguished House of Blues in Los Angeles and had a suicide theme, which is, oxymoronically, a poetically morbid thing to know considering her father died via suicide. The $323,ooo party was said to be funded solely by Courtney Love. A contest was held to determine the guest who looked the most “dead” in the gathering’s red/black color dress code and Mindless Self Indulgence were featured as a musical guest.
9. She Inspired A Famous Nirvana Song
Throughout his musical career, Kurt Cobain found plenty of influences and inspirations for the songs that he wrote for Nirvana. One of those influences was his own daughter, Frances Bean. Granted, to clarify, it was less that Frances Bean herself inspired her father and more of how the aforementioned legal battle regarding Frances Bean inspired one of the songs for Nirvana’s critically acclaimed In Utero album. The song in question was “R*pe Me.” The provocatively named song has been deciphered as an anti-r*pe song — basically Kurt Cobain’s way of saying “you can hurt me, but you can’t destroy me because I’ll survive” — and also an allegory for Kurt Cobain’s distaste with how the media chose to cover his personal life, especially with regard to his daughter. So much of the media coverage and rumors are what stirred up such damning allegations against Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love to begin with and a big reason why their daughter was briefly taken away from them. This song was meant to be Kurt Cobain’s big middle finger to the press.
8. Modeling Career
As a multi-talented individual, Frances Bean Cobain has pursued a wide array of professions throughout the years. Perhaps the most significant of these career endeavors is modeling. She started modeling at the early age of 14 when she was photographed by Elle magazine for an article showcasing the children of rock stars wearing their parents’ clothing. Frances Bean chose to wear the cardigan that her father married her mother in. In the coming years, Frances Bean would continue to make big strides in the modeling industry at such a young age, most notably with a 2008 photo spread appearance in Harper’s Bazaar where she dressed as Eva “Evita” Perón and then a 2011 web photo shoot for illustrious French photographer Hedi Slimane. Thanks to these early successes in the modeling world, she was asked to become the face of Marc Jacobs‘ Spring/Summer 2017 campaign. Since she accepted, we will be seeing a lot more of Frances Bean’s modeling in the near future.
7. Visual Artist
Kurt Cobain was known to always gravitate towards the finest of arts. That love and passion for art seems to have been passed on by heredity considering how Frances Bean Cobain has contributed several of her own unique works to the art world. The first would come in July 2010 when she debuted a collection of prints titled Scumfuck under the alias of Fiddle Tim. The aesthetic of each art print ranged from looking certifiably insane to outstandingly disturbing. Imagine the beautifully grotesque nightmares of Tim Burton and David Lynch. A couple years later, she participated in a group show called MiXTAPE challenging artists to make artwork inspired by a song. She then debuted her first solo exhibition in 2013. Now, she’s selling all of her art pieces online. Anyone interested in buying Frances Bean’s artwork can do so through her website, thespacewitch.com, or depop.com.
6. Rolling Stone Intern
As previously mentioned, Frances Bean has actively avoided the limelight. She hasn’t gone the popular route of being a movie star or a musician. Frances Bean has actually tried her best to stick to having normal jobs, one of those jobs being working for Rolling Stone for a summer internship. This internship came for Frances Bean in 2008 at the age of 15. Earlier that year, she expressed to Harper’s Bazaar that she had aspirations of being a journalist and as luck would have it, she had the opportunity get some experience by working for quite possibly the most popular magazine publication in America. Funnily enough, because of the way that the overall office was decorated, the cubicle which Frances Bean worked and sat in placed Frances Bean directly next to an enormous painting of her father, which peered down at Frances Bean at all times. This must’ve made Frances Bean’s experience as an intern equally fulfilling and awkward.
5. Minor Singing Career
Some find it surprising that Frances Bean Cobain never followed in the footsteps of her parents in exploring a singing career. On the contrary, Frances Bean has actually stretched out her chops at one point, but only once, and not for an album or even a single; she contributed her voice to someone else’s work. On the self-titled album of musical duo Evelyn, Evelyn—which consists of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, Frances Bean’s voice can be heard on the song “My Space.” Frances Bean was one of about 20 other voices which were mixed together for the sake of the track. For the time being at least, this is the closest we’ll ever get to hearing Frances Bean’s voice in a song. It’s unlikely that she will ever seriously pursue a music career or even record a single song, but never say never. Stranger things have happened in the world of music.
4. Turned Down Alice in Wonderland AND Twilight
Courtney Love once claimed in an interview that her daughter was offered the lead roles of not 1, but 2 high-profile tween franchises, the 1st being the role of Bella in the Twilight franchise and the 2nd being the title role in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. As Love explained, Frances Bean could have easily snagged both roles but turned them down in order to focus on school. Those roles would respectively go to Kristen Stewart and Mia Wasikowska, but it’s fascinating to think of how those films may have looked with Frances Bean as the lead. Then again, it may have been for the best that Frances Bean turned down such big movie roles and stayed out of the limelight altogether in her childhood. Even Love is thankful that Frances Bean avoided any public spotlight at a young age because to Love, Frances Bean “inherited [Love’s] big mouth and her dad’s temperament. She’s not someone who should be in the public eye, at this point.” Love understands the pressure that fame can have on a person, especially after seeing what fame did to her late husband.
3. Major Voice Behind Father’s Legacy
In addition to winning her freedom from her mother, Frances Bean also won the estate to Kurt Cobain’s royalties. On August 18th, 2010, it was revealed that Frances Bean owns 37% of the Kurt Cobain estate. Legal documents prove that Frances Bean solely owns the publicity rights to both the name and image of anything related to Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile, Courtney Love doesn’t own any of those prestigious rights. Despite previously holding these rights for over a decade, Love stepped down as manager of the company that holds these rights in exchange for a $2.75-million loan from her daughter’s trust fund. Until that loan is paid back in full, all rights to Kurt Cobain’s likeness are passed down to Frances Bean. Frances Bean seems to be intent on using this privilege to do justice to the Cobain legacy without risk of any overly biased outside influences. So far, the heiress to the Kurt Cobain estate has done just that by executive producing the critically acclaimed documentary, Montage of Heck.
2. She Was Married Once
There is an old cliche in this world that says “we marry our parents.” No, we don’t literally marry our parents — unless you’re into incest or something — but we may often find ourselves attracted to people who look and act similar to our parents. Much of the media brought this up when news first broke that Frances Bean Cobain was dating Rambles frontman, Isaiah Silva. Silva has drawn numerous comparisons to Kurt Cobain, the main ones concerning both of them being the lead singers of rock bands and looking incredibly alike. Whether those similarities are what drew the Cobain heiress to Silva is up for debate, but regardless, the two were secretly married on June 29th, 2014 after dating for 4 years. Not even Frances Bean’s mother knew the two had plans to tie the knot, and she wasn’t invited to the wedding. At the height of their romance, the two were noted to be a shy, quiet couple. They were self-proclaimed homebodies. Silva admitted in an interview that the two were more likely to stay in for a marathon of Arrested Development than stagger out of a club with Lindsay Lohan. Sadly, their love wasn’t meant to last forever as the two divorced on March 23rd, 2016.
1. She’s Not A Fan of Nirvana
Many would argue that Nirvana is the greatest band of all time. Kurt Cobain’s own daughter, Frances Bean, is not one of those many. In fact, Frances is not a fan of her father’s music at all. She’s even admitted to never being interested in grunge music altogether. As she explained in an interview with Rolling Stone, she never liked Nirvana or grunge music very much. Her music tastes drift more in the direction of bands like Oasis, Mercury Rev, and Brian Jonestown Massacre. With that said, there are a couple songs from Nirvana’s discography that Frances Bean has managed to like, those songs being “Territorial Pissings” and “Dumb,” the latter making Frances Bean cry every time she hears it. The reason why she has such an intense connection to “Dumb” is because it’s through this song where she hears her father bemoan his insecurities about being “inadequate” as the “voice of a generation.”
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