Courtney Love could easily be considered one of the most polarizing women of our generation. Since forming the band Hole in the late 1980s, she has become both a rock legend and a successful actress (even earning a Golden Globe nomination for her role in 1995's The People vs. Larry Flynt) while also influencing fashion trends, advocating for LGBT rights, and speaking out against rape and domestic violence. Conversely, Courtney drew ire from the public after her husband Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994 — with many Nirvana fans blaming her for his untimely passing — and has also been the subject of controversy in recent years due to her struggle with substance abuse and her strained relationship with her 22-year-old daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Though some may debate the things she's said publicly throughout her career, Courtney has also made many poignant — yet contentious — statements over the years. In honor of her 51st birthday, we've rounded up 22 honest, completely candid quotes that might just change your mind about Courtney Love.
- "Don't be bitter and mean [because] you don't fit in — it's a gift. Look at you. You've got your individuality; you don't have the herd instinct; you can read Nietzsche and understand it."
- "Only dumb people are happy."
- "For God's sake, laugh at yourself."
- "Own what you are, and I mean whether that's art, or whether that's fashion, or whether that's music, or whether that's acting, or whether that's politics, or whether that's literature; it's own what you are, and grab it, and, you know, be as prolific as possible."
- "Being famous is just like being in high school. But I'm not interested in being the cheerleader. I'm not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She's the cheerleader, and I'm out in the smoker shed."
- "I love to hang with the f*cking A-listers; it's fun. You've gotta be able to change worlds. The rockers have been a little meaner to me in the last year, and the A-listers haven't been mean to me at all. I get invited to every party. You know, I am cool. I just am. I have to get back to believing that and not have voices in my head — and I'm doing that sober, which is a little rough. But I want the toys. I like free gowns. I like going to Elton John's house. I'm pretty conflicted."
- "Being a rock star is like being a cult leader; you really have to be in your own religion. Movie stars are supposed to be healthy. They're kept happy and nutritionally together. In rock stardom, there's an absolute economic upside to self-destruction. What makes the most money for this business? Dead rock stars."
- "To me, 'selling out' means everyone bought a ticket."
- "Dating me is like dating a big red fire truck. I come with scandal, history, and controversy."
- "Don't date the captain of the football team; be the captain of the football team."
- "Never have children with people who will repulse you in the future."
On Her Childhood
- "I tried out for The Mickey Mouse Club when I was 11. But I read a Sylvia Plath poem about incest, so that wasn't really flying with Disney."
On Her Career
- "I like there to be some testosterone in rock, and it's like I'm the one in the dress who has to provide it."
- "Part of what makes me good at my job is I was built physically for it. You've gotta be hearty. You've gotta be able to, like, stage-dive and fight off big-ass f*ckin' guys. You've gotta be able to play topless and feel like a f*ckin' amazon. That's what I love."
- "I don't have one rival. Madonna wakes up every day and someone wants to be her. Nobody wants to be me, which is awesome."
On Her Personality
- "My number one thing to work on is not being reactive — but appropriateness doesn't come easily to me sometimes."
- "I present myself as an archetype, as an incredibly strong, almost a dominatrix type. But my actual persona as a woman is really submissive — in terms of business, very submissive. So I'll rant and I'll rave and I'll moan and I'll write the f*cking craziest emails, but when I'm facing that really, really smooth guy, it's really hard for me to say no. And I will keep looking for saviors and looking for saviors, but the truth is, there is no Daddy Warbucks. Nobody's gonna pull up in a limousine and say they're going to save you. That's not how it happens. You save yourself from drowning; that's how you do it."
- "I'm not a woman; I'm a force of nature."
On Kurt Cobain
- "He was so gorgeous . . . Kurt. I don't know how I got lucky that way."
- "I am just the classic person who wants to learn stuff. I want good tutors, and with Kurt, I had the best."
On Yoko Ono
- "People hate her, they really do. Did you know that to 'Yoko someone' is a verb in America? It is something that boys say if they're hanging out with you too much and they're going to school or they have a band. It's almost a myth that's used to suppress women. 'You're gonna Yoko me. You're gonna destroy me.' And this woman put up with racial inequality from Fleet Street, she put up with being accused of breaking up the best band in the world, she put up with people's idea that she castrated this man, and then, worst of all, she had her best friend, her husband, the person she lived for, die in her arms in front of a fortress that she'd hidden herself in for 20 years. And I just feel that the world media should apologize to her, because she handled it with so much dignity."
- "On Sofia Coppola's 16th birthday, way back in 1987, I stole a lip gloss from her Sistine Chapel of a bedroom. Years later, I left a Chanel lip gloss in the reception of the Mercer Hotel for her. You know why? I believe that you've got to fix your karma."