Courtney Chronicles (Part 2)
In the second half of our explosive interview, the rowdy rock icon talks about her struggles with crack and heroin, her crusade against crooked lawyers, and that crazy day she almost jumped off of Lenny Kravitz's roof.
But though she's undeniably intelligent, she's also notoriously volatile: her moods can shift radically several times a day. Giddy and high-spirited at one moment, she can turn needy and paranoid the next. A life-long insomniac, she often stays up until dawn, tweeting and texting and Googling herself. And while she's been linked with a long string of high-profile lovers in the past few years, she often seems lonely. On a frigid Tuesday night a few months ago, just as I was heading to bed, I received a text from her around 1 a.m. "Come on over!!!!!!!" it read, "Pleeeeeeease!!!!! I have 2 talk with you!!!! Also can you bring over a pack of Marlboro Lights, and something sweet, like um, a Kit Kat? Also something healthy to drink. Acai Juice!!!? The fridge here is fucking bare." I arrived to find her in a tattered bathrobe, scrubbed clean of make-up, sitting quietly in the candle-lit kitchen of a friend's house. For a moment, I was struck by how girlish and vulnerable she looked—so different from the tough-girl image she assiduously cultivates. She looked up at me with her green incandescent eyes. "Where's my fucking Kit Kat?" she said.
While she’s more-or-less managed to overcome her addictions to crack, cocaine and heroin, it's a stretch to describe Courtney as sober. Even though she claims to disdain the taste of liquor, she's still,known to enjoy an occasional cocktail, or three. She's also on a daily diet of prescription pills, both uppers and downers—“all doctor-prescribed, I promise!” But she genuinely seems sincere about her desire to lead a more sober life, partly because she's tired of her image as pop culture’s class clown, but also because she's desperate to become a better role-model to her estranged daughter, Frances Bean. Whenever we met in person, Love was usually clear-minded and razor-sharp. But on some nights she had a habit of deluging me with hundreds of rambling, misspelled emails and texts. One day in November she sent me 53 text messages in a row, urging me to follow up on the injustices being perpetrated against her by her former lawyers. “Maer!!!!!!! Why are you such a fucking pussy!!!” read the first text, which I received at 6 a.m. The last one, 12 hours later, said, “good nite, sweetie. And sweeet dreamz!!!”
How old were you when you first started using?
The first time I got high on coke is captured on camera. I was 19 at the time. My friend Jennifer shot a whole roll of film of us doing giant lines. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience, though.
Later that day Jennifer gulped down a bunch of Dilaudid and OD’d. I had never driven a car in my life, but I threw her in a car, and drove her to the hospital, and the doctors saved her life. After that, I was really scared of drugs. Before I met Kurt, I was more or less clean, but then Kurt earned his first million and decided to become a junkie, and I decided to become a junkie along with him. That’s the co-dependent side of me. After he died there were all these stupid jokes I made up: What did the co-dependent say when the junkie jumped out the window? “Wait a minute, I’m coming!”
You almost did jump out of a window, didn’t you?
Not a window, a roof! It was shortly after I found this huge box in my house, filled with fradulent credit cards. There were hundreds and hundreds of them, all made out to different names and entities, and they were all being charged to me. It was the first time I realized that I was being taken for a ride. My lawyers and accountants had literally stolen hundreds of millions from me right under my nose. The whole thing sent me into a real tailspin. For a long time, it was all I could think about. I was spending all my days obsessively going through these documents, smoking crack, and getting high all the time.
You know, when Kurt died he left behind hundreds of millions of dollars. His estate earns more money every year than any other deceased musician in history. Even more than Elvis! But despite all this, at one point I was so broke that myself and Frances had to move in with my stepfather. These people were feasting on billions of dollars, and my child and I didn’t have a dime.
After I figured out what was going on, I was determined to find a paper trail. I hired a forensic accountant to find out how all these fucking people had managed to screw me so royally. The strange thing is, while the drugs screwed me up in a lot of ways, they improved me in certain others. I’ve never been good with numbers, but when I was on crack I could do math really, really well. I became a fucking whiz at calculus. But I also became kind of psychotic, unfortunately.
Lisa Leveridge, my old guitar player, found a fucking five-page letter I wrote during this period to Stella McCartney. It was completely illegible—just filled with this crazy, paranoid gibberish. I mean, I don't even know Stella McCartney! Thank God I never sent it. I went through some really crazy stages, but thankfully I never went completely over the edge. I wasn’t seeing helicopters and tanks or anything like that.