Tragic Details About Frances Bean Cobain

Chances are you've heard of Frances Bean Cobain even if you weren't a Nirvana or Hole fan. Unfortunately, that's probably because Cobain is synonymous with tragedy, being the daughter of two famously tragic figures, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Frances was born to her rockstar parents at the height of both their fame in 1992 and wasn't even two years old when her father's suicide shocked the music world.

It's safe to say that Frances is well-known because of her parents, but the California native has made a life of her own. Although she seems to prefer to remain out of the spotlight, Frances has done some modeling and, in 2017, was the face of Marc Jacobs. In addition, Frances is an artist and frequently shows her work on her Instagram, as well as through exhibits (via Hollywood Life). As for her personal life, in October 2023, Frances married Riley Hawk, son of former pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk.

Despite her famous parents, Frances told W Magazine, "I get to navigate my life in a very normal way." However, because of how she grew up, Frances did point out that she connects more with others whose "trajectory to their childhood sounds like plots to movies." Sadly, for Frances, her movie plot would be that of a heartbreaking drama since she's seemingly been through more misfortunes in her young life than most people would ever experience. With that said, let's dive into the tragic details of Frances Bean Cobain.

Frances Bean Cobain was born into controversy

You could say Frances Bean Cobain was immediately pulled into her parents' toxic lifestyle by being involved in drama even before she was born. That's because there were concerns that her mother, Courtney Love, had used drugs while pregnant with her. The drama started in 1992, when a then-pregnant Love told Vanity Fair about doing heroin with her husband, Kurt Cobain, during a time that was apparently after she knew she was pregnant. She revealed, "We copped some dope. Then we got high and went to 'SNL.' After that, I did heroin for a couple of months."

That implication caused controversy and led many to worry about the baby's health and whether she'd have drug-related problems. Love and Cobain denied the allegations, though, saying (via E!), "As soon as Courtney found out she was pregnant, she immediately contacted an obstetrician and a doctor specializing in chemical dependency ... and has been assured that she can expect to have a healthy baby." Yet, the damage was already done, and only weeks after Frances was born, she was removed from her parents' home by child services.

Years later, in 2011, Love finally admitted to The Fix, "It's true, I used heroin in the first three weeks of my pregnancy — but so f**king what!? ... I also took a few puffs on a cigarette." She added that she was encouraged to abort Frances because of it but that no matter what, "I wasn't about to lose my baby."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The model's parents were addicted to drugs

Frances Bean Cobain has had to deal with her parents' drug addictions for just about her whole life. Her mother, Courtney Love, told The Fix that even when she was pregnant with Frances, her husband, "Kurt [Cobain] was using a lot of heroin" and reportedly had been up until his death. The last time Frances saw her father alive was visiting him at a rehab center, per the Independent

As for her mother, Frances revealed (via Daily Mail) in a 2009 court testimony that Love "has taken drugs for as long as I can remember" and that she "basically exists now on...Xanax, Adderall, Sonata and Abilify." Outside of Frances' claims, Love was in fact arrested for drug-related offenses multiple times and was in and out of rehab for most of Frances' childhood. Love even admitted (via ABC News) that between 2001 and 2004, "I was on drugs and nothing I wrote made any sense," which would have been during Frances' preteen years.

After years of seemingly having to take care of her mother instead of the other way around, Cobain admitted on "RuPaul: What's the Tee?" podcast in 2019, "I was so f***ing bitter and angry and upset and resentful for a really long time." She shared that she does like her mom "when [she] is on a right and healthy path," but that in terms of her addiction, added, "I also don't expect that my opinions are going to deter her decisions."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Her father, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide

Frances Bean Cobain faced a devastating tragedy before she was even two years old, when her father, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide. She explained how she found out on the "RuPaul: What the Tee?" podcast, saying, "I wasn't told my dad committed suicide until the age of five," adding "my mom preemptively sent me to therapy a year before telling me so that I could be eased into that conversation."

Unfortunately, because Frances was so young when her dad died, she referred to him as "this guy who's like Santa Claus" and told Rolling Stone that she never got a chance to have a father because of his fame. She explained, "Kurt got to the point where he eventually had to sacrifice every bit of who he was to his art ... I think that was one of the main triggers as to why he felt he didn't want to be here." She continued, "If he had lived, I would have had a dad. And that would have been an incredible experience." She's even spoken out against those who glamorize musicians' deaths, saying, "We love to put them on a pedestal. If Kurt had just been another guy who abandoned his family in the most awful way possible."

Despite never getting to know Cobain, Frances wrote in a now-deleted Instagram birthday tribute to him (via Us Weekly), "You are loved and you are missed." She's also posted suicide prevention resources, writing to her followers, "Needing help is not weakness." 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Her mom, Courtney Love, lost custody

While it's clear Frances Bean Cobain had a very unstable childhood due her mother, Courtney Love's, drug use, it also led to Cobain having to be frequently removed from her mother's care, which had to be very upsetting. MTV reports that not only did child services take Cobain from her parents when she was only weeks old, but Love lost custody of Cobain once again in 2003 when a then-11-year-old Cobain was present for her mother's drug overdose and subsequent arrest.

Cobain was often placed in the care of her paternal grandmother, Wendy O'Connor, as well her aunt, Kimberly Cobain. In 2005, Love fought to get her daughter back after a rehab stay. She claimed at the time, "my kid is my first priority" and that "Having my daughter back with me is exciting." Yet only months after getting custody back, CNN reports that Love went on to violate her probation. 

By age 17, Cobain appeared to be tired of the unsteadiness and chose to permanently live with her grandmother, causing Love to lose custody of her for the third time. Love's attorney denied that a drug relapse was the reason, telling People, "Frances is 17 and a strong-willed child, and this is a decision she made on her own."  Just two years earlier, Cobain had explained to Harper's Bazaar, "We've moved so much, and my life has been so inconsistent," but when it came to her grandmother, "[She's] the most constant thing I've ever had."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Frances Bean Cobain's mother publicly humiliated her

Frances Bean Cobain experienced the downside of her parents' fame on several occasions when the drama with her mother, Courtney Love, was made public. In 2009, when Cobain chose to live with her grandmother at age 17 instead of her mother, Love took to Facebook to publicly bash them. In her incoherent rant, the Hole frontwoman wrote (via Daily News) that Cobain "was deceptive she lied and she's lying to herself" and that "she's got [bad] people around her."

Around the same time, the Daily Mail reports that Cobain got a restraining order against her mother after a fight between the two turned physical. In Cobain's court testimony, she not only accused Love of drug use and accidentally killing Cobain's pets because of it, but also of threatening her ex as well as her own self with violence. Cobain additionally claimed, "My mother is obsessed with uncovering fraud."

Just a few years later in 2012, Love tweeted accusations that former Nirvana drummer and family friend, Dave Grohl, was inappropriate with her daughter. She wrote (via Page Six), "I hear from Frannie's roommate that @davegrohl hit on frances. I'm not mad at her, him I am about to shoot dead." Cobain was apparently infuriated with her mother and released a rare statement that read, "Her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way." She even added, "Twitter should ban my mother."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

She lost Kurt Cobain's guitar in messy divorce

Frances Bean Cobain was apparently looking for her happily ever after when she married her boyfriend of five years, Isaiah Silva, in 2014, but woefully that wasn't the case. First off, the two's marriage started with some drama since they decided to wed in secret and not invite Cobain's mother, Courtney Love. An unnamed source reportedly told E! that Love was "devastated to learn that Frances had gotten married without her knowing."

It turned out to be somewhat irrelevant though since Cobain's marriage didn't last and the couple split by 2016. The model reflected on "RuPaul: What's the Tee?" podcast that she may have gotten married for the wrong reasons, saying, "The idea of marriage, of securing a family very early on, was the complete opposite of what my mom did," adding, "I really was grasping on for some kind of stability anywhere."

According to People, Cobain's divorce from Silva turned messy when he obtained her father, Kurt Cobain's, legendary Martin guitar, claiming he had received it from her as a wedding gift. Not only was her late father's instrument sentimental to Cobain, but it's also reportedly worth millions considering it's what he played on MTV's "Unplugged." Silva later filed a lawsuit against Love, as well as several others, claiming they conspired to kill him to get back the guitar. He was eventually court-ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation (per Page Six) and by 2020, the guitar had reportedly been put to auction.

The artist felt guilt over her inheritance

You could say that one of the upsides to having rockstar parents is the money that comes with it. Yet, Frances Bean Cobain doesn't necessarily see it that way. She revealed on "RuPaul: What's the Tee?" podcast, "My relationship to money is different because I didn't earn it," even calling it "this big, giant loan that I'll never get rid of." She went on to explain why the money doesn't actually make her feel good, saying, "I have an almost foreign relationship to it or guilt because it feels like money from somebody that I've never met, let alone haven't earned myself."

According to People, Cobain is worth $11.3 million and receives $95,000 a month from her late dad, Kurt Cobain's estate. While that's obviously plenty of money to do whatever you want, Frances claimed that she didn't know how to handle it and spent frivolously. "The one way that I was shown how to live was to live in excess, like, live beyond your means," she said.

After years of blowing through a lot of it, Cobain realized she needed to "take real accountability" of her money and "recognized you don't have to live lavishly to live well." She went on to admit, "It took me stepping away from that and getting sober in order to realize that no matter how much money you think you have, it's not permanent." It appears for Cobain as she matured she learned that money truly can't buy happiness. 

Frances Bean Cobain battled her own addiction

After years of watching her mother struggle with drug dependence, Frances Bean Cobain realized she too had a problem with substances. However, unlike Courtney Love, Cobain knew how to keep her addiction a secret. She revealed on "RuPaul: What's The Tee?" podcast, "The kind of drug addict I was the type that nobody knew I was a drug addict because I was at my house, by myself whereas Courtney is a very loud drug addict, likes to expose herself in that way."

However, Cobain's grandmother, Wendy O'Connor, knew she was being "self-destructive," but believed Cobain had to work through it on her own. She explained to the Independent i.e., "It was very hard not to over insert myself ... I had to step back and kind of let it run its course." Cobain agreed, adding, "I'm really appreciative that she allowed me to heal myself first."

And heal herself she did, telling RuPaul she did so through "sober companions," adding, "I keep myself accountable, channeling my fanatical, addictive personality and tendencies into really healthy things." By 2018, Cobain shared with her Instagram followers that she was two years sober. In the now-deleted post, she wrote (via People), "Self-destruction and toxic consumption and deliverance from pain is a lot easier to adhere to. Undeniably, for myself and those around me becoming present is the best decision I have ever made." She added that she made her sobriety public knowledge to help others who also may be struggling.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Frances Bean Cobain had a near-death experience

If Frances Bean Cobain hadn't already been through enough trauma, in 2017, she had a near-death experience that changed her life. According to Daily Mail, that was being on an airplane that had to make an emergency landing after losing one of its engines. Cobain shared in a now-deleted Instagram post how she'd changed to that Air France flight from one she had previously booked in order to get home earlier from reportedly attending Paris Fashion Week. She recalled, "When I felt the plane tilt, saw the wing directly in front of me catch fire, and basically came to grips with my own mortality."

Cobain went on to write about how the incident impacted the anxiety she was already dealing with, writing, "All the mundane 'crippling' anxieties I once let dictate how I functioned have dissipated" (via ET). Cobain also shared that her mother, Courtney Love, was a person she worried about never seeing again, making it obvious that their relationship was on the mend and seems to remain that way as of August 2021.

As for the flight, Air France confirmed to CNN that there was "serious damage to one of its four engines" but that "the regularly trained pilots and cabin crew handled this serious incident perfectly." Regardless, Cobain dished that because of it she had "entered the phase of my life where every moment is truly precious." For someone who has been through as much as she had, that's a pretty amazing takeaway.