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The surprising truth about Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s marriage

When Nirvana’s “Nevermind” dethroned Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” from the top of the charts in January 1992, Kurt Cobain was effectively crowned the new king of rock. And by the very next month, he officially had a queen upon marrying Courtney Love — now 30 years ago, on Feb. 24, 1992, on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. But, in true punk-rock fashion, it wasn’t exactly a royal wedding: The bride — who became pregnant with daughter Frances Bean four months after they began dating — wore a white satin and lace dress that was previously owned by tragic actress (and Cobain muse) Frances Farmer. The groom wore green and white flannel pajamas for a group of eight guests, including his Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl. “Well, they were both pretty unconventional people,” Charles R. Cross, author of the 2001 book “Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain,” told The Post. “I think the idea of the wedding in a church … I couldn’t imagine that happening in a billion years.” Blessed by the grunge gods, it was a union that would go down in music history. Sadly, their romance would end in tragedy when Cobain committed suicide slightly over two years later, on April 5, 1994. But despite all of their troubles — from drug addiction to allegations of domestic violence — there was a lot of love along the way. “Kurt Cobain picked Courtney Love, and Courtney Love picked Kurt Cobain,” said Cross. “No matter how flawed they were at times as individuals, they were two people that loved each other.” And when they took those vows, they meant them — and made no apologies to the doubters who predicted a rocky future for the couple. “I was going, ‘Yeah, I know what’s going to happen,’” Love told Rolling Stone of their tumultuous life together in a 1994 interview after Cobain’s death. “I don’t give a f – – k. I love this guy. My prince on a goddamn white horse.’” Alliance of outsiders Cobain and Love had their fateful first meeting on Jan. 12, 1990, at the Satyricon nightclub in Portland, Oregon, where Nirvana was playing an early gig. They would end up spending more time together when Nirvana went to Los Angeles to record “Nevermind” in the spring of 1991, since Love lived near the Van Nuys studio where the band was making their breakout album. Love, who was friends with Grohl first, even went with him and Cobain to see the Madonna doc “Truth or Dare” on one platonic outing. But they took their flirty friendship to the next level one night later in 1991, at a Nirvana show at the Metro in Chicago. Love, who was dating Billy Corgan at the time, had flown there to be with the Smashing Pumpkins frontman. “She found that Billy was with another woman, and so she left and she knew Nirvana was in town,” said Lyndsey Parker, host of SiriusXM Volume West. Sparks flew between Love and Cobain after the Nirvana show, when they finally hooked up and began their love affair. “Within five minutes of her walking in the dressing room, she was sitting on Kurt’s lap,” said Parker. Cobain was attracted to Love as a woman who was his equal and peer with her own group — Love’s band Hole debuted with the album “Pretty on the Inside” a week before “Nevermind” came out in September 1991. “Kurt was very feminist … and I think he was very attracted to a strong woman,” said Parker. “She had a very strong personality. She was already kind of, like, a polarizing figure. I think he was attracted to a tough, no-bulls – – t woman … He could have dated whoever the hot supermodel was, and he went for this scruffy punk-rock girl.” But Cobain and Love bonded over more than just music. “Courtney once said something to me that I think really surmised one of the reasons that they bonded: She said that Kurt knew what the taste of government cheese was,” said Cross. “In a way, I think what she was saying … is that there was trauma bonding. They both had had pretty difficult upbringings. They both had been outsiders. And even though they both had creative ambitions and they were both on the way to fame … living in poverty and growing up with neglect, which both of them had [done], I think can’t be overstated in how they bonded.” Dangerous behavior But, drugs — in particular, heroin — were a destructive force in their relationship. “Certainly Kurt was way into drugs before he met Courtney,” said Cross. “He’d already broken up with essentially two girlfriends that didn’t want to hang out with him because of his drug use. And for Courtney, the decision to be with Kurt was in some ways a difficult decision for her because she was trying to avoid that life … You know, Kurt suffered from a pretty serious addiction. In addition to that, there were two other things that can’t be underestimated. There was the chronic pain issues he had both with the stomach and his back. And then the third issue was, he clearly had depression.” In 1992, there was a controversial Vanity Fair article that claimed that Love had used heroin during her pregnancy with Frances Bean. Although she initially denied it, claiming that she stopped using heroin as soon as she found out that she was pregnant, the couple temporarily lost custody of their daughter as a result. But in the 2015 documentary “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” Love admitted, “I used it once, then stopped. I knew she would be fine.” Then in 1993, there was a domestic dispute that made headlines when Cobain was arrested by Seattle police for allegedly assaulting Love during a fight over having guns in the house. No charges were filed, though, and the case was dismissed. But while Cobain and Love were sometimes at war — with each other and with themselves — there was also tremendous tenderness between them. They would even leave each other all kinds of love notes in all kinds of forms. “It was stuff like written on the back of an envelope or a fax sent to a hotel or Post-It notes,” said Cross. “And many of those things were saved. These guys were not crazy housekeepers, and notes that Kurt wrote on the back of an envelope might still be there a year and a half later. And you know, some of it got saved for posterity — they were both very aware of the fact that they were making history.” Dual muses Nirvana released its “Nevermind” follow-up, “In Utero,” in September 1993, and Cross contends that you can hear Love’s influence on that album. “I think Courtney made Kurt a better lyricist,” he said. “And I think Kurt made Courtney a better riff writer. And in some ways, it was a competition.” While they pushed each other musically, Love and Cobain were not always able to provide each other that same kind of positive influence when it came to getting — and staying — sober. “You’ve got two drug addicts, but their addiction and their desires weren’t always matching,” said Cross. “It isn’t really fair to say who was the worst addict. But Kurt’s addictions, sadly, were deeper than anyone else around him.” In March 1994, Cobain overdosed on painkillers in his Rome hotel room and fell into a coma. After he recovered from that, Love helped stage an intervention for him and he went to rehab. But Cobain left rehab early, went back to Seattle and committed suicide with a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head on April 5, 1994. His last words to Love? “Whatever happens, you made a great album,” he said of Hole’s “Live Through This,” which came out on April 12 — exactly one week after he died. There were those who blamed Love for Cobain’s downfall after his death. There were even conspiracy theories suggesting that she somehow had him murdered. “I get extremely pissed when anyone blames her in any way for his death … whether it’s the more general sentiment that they think she drove him to suicide because she made him miserable all the way to the weird conspiracy theories,” said Parker. Later in 1994, Love mused about losing her “prince on a goddamn white horse” to Rolling Stone: “I used to feel like mourning him was really selfish because it would make him feel guilty. And the best thing to do was to pray for him and show him joy, so he could feel the vibration of the joy. But now I know he’s dissipated, and he’s gone. There’s not anything left.”

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