Frances Bean Cobain: The real Kurt is ‘lost in the romanticism & myth of him’

Frances Bean Cobain

These are photos of Francis Bean Cobain at the LA screening of Montage of Heck, the Kurt Cobain documentary. Frances has been a trooper during this film’s promotion, and this screening is no exception. Yeah, she looks bummed to be standing next to Courtney Love. I think most of us would feel the same way if our mom’s hoarding habit killed their childhood pet. Plus Courtney seemed so blase about doing heroin during pregnancy. Add those frustrations to the legions of fans (and former Nirvana bandmates) who constantly gush about Kurt, and this whole experience can’t be easy for Frances.

Oh, and Courtney spoke out at the Tribeca screening this weekend. Crazy C told the world that she and Kurt made their own adult film: “Me and Kurt only had this one tape … and so we recorded over and over.” I’m sure Frances enjoyed hearing about that parental grossness. She recovered enough to make a speech at the LA screening:

“Hi my name is Frances Bean Cobain and this is Montage of Heck,” she said. “The reason I wanted to come up here and speak to all of you is because I have seen this movie now six times. Initially upon seeing it, I felt like I could only watch it once. The reason I’ve been able to watch it six times is because of the film Brett [Morgen] made … I didn’t know Kurt, but I feel very strongly that he would be exceptionally proud of this film.

“It touches on some dark subjects but at the end of the day, I think that this film provides fans of Nirvana, or not fans of Nirvana, a basic understanding of who Kurt was as a human being. I think that’s been lost within romanticism and the myth of him and his story. What this movie will provide hopefully is a real understanding of who he was. And I feel like he’d be really proud to have this movie made about him. So I’d like to thank Brett a lot.”

[From People]

Director Brett Morgan says Frances has no true memory of her father, and this movie has helped her get to know him a little. Frances was barely a toddler when Kurt took his life. That experience and knowledge would be painful enough without constant reminders of how cool your dad was. I often wonder what Kurt would be like if he were alive today. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been a legend after he inevitably put out a few sub-par albums. Maybe he’d simply be a producer now, or a recluse, more likely.

Frances is a trust-fund kid, but she’s as grounded and wise as possible under the circumstances. Remember when she schooled Lana Del Rey about romanticizing the death of musicians? Frances knows the drill. The passage of time has turned Kurt into a legend far beyond what he was in real life.

Montage of Heck hits HBO on May 4. Here’s a trailer.

Frances Bean Cobain

Frances Bean Cobain

Photos courtesy of WENN

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70 Responses to “Frances Bean Cobain: The real Kurt is ‘lost in the romanticism & myth of him’”

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  1. Tracy says:

    Poor kid. She looks just miserable.

    • NYer says:

      Jeez, no kidding. And the mortuary makeup isn’t helping matters.

      • Judyk says:

        “Mortuary makeup”–Find that comment just cruel. She’s been through enough.

        My young, impressionable daughter was nearly suicidal upon hearing of Kurt Cobain’s death, and it contributed to her becoming Goth at a very early age, so I’m highly sensitive to such comments.

    • Erinn says:

      I’d look miserable standing next to Courtney, too, to be fair.

    • LadidahBaby says:

      There’s a world of pain in her eyes. Poor kid. Considering that her father left the earth of his own volition when she was just a baby, leaving her at the mercy of Courtney, I think she has triumphed in many ways over the odds she faced. But, God, the pain in those lovely eyes. And a fierce bead of anger right at the center of it.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      It’s funny how people can see the same photo and see two different things. I was struck by how beautiful she is and how striking her eyes are, also how healthy she looks compared to her mother. I think she’s a strong person and I’m impressed with how she’s turned out despite the circumstances of her early life.

      • LaurenLauren says:

        It’s projection. She doesn’t look miserable, she’s just pale with dark make-up and clothing. You cannot possibly tell from someones eyes how they are really feeling, especially since so many people wear some kind of mask to protect themselves from judgy people like this getting in.
        Frances seems more grounded and smart than any of her peers (jenner freaks, Disney barbies)

  2. dr mantis toboggan says:

    Courtney wasn’t blase about her heroin use, she was upfront about it. Perhaps if she’d lied and posted happy family photos to instagram like peaches geldof she would get sympathy for being an addict too.
    Oh and Kurt was using too. Why doesn’t he get any heat?

    • MelissaManifesto says:

      He took his own life. We all know that someone has to be in a really dark place to do such a thing. Maybe that’s why people cut him some slack, he not only suffered the great punishment (death) but brought it upon himself. Also Courtney has done some questionable things as a parent which make people unsympathetic to her. I know I am.

    • Sarah says:

      Because the father doing heroin while the mother is pregnant doesn’t affect the baby???? That’s one reason why I think Courtney gets more grief. It wasn’t just doing drugs. It was doing drugs while pregnant. As for Kurt getting a pass – I think like most addicts who die young, people feel badly about it and sorry about it, but I don’t think he gets a pass necessarily. I just think people choose not to speak poorly of the dead. Same reason people will shriek if someone blames Whitney for Bobbi Kristina’s issues and not just blaming Bobby Brown.

      • Granger says:

        Maybe it doesn’t physically affect the baby, but I think a father doing heroin while his partner is pregnant is likely inflicting emotional and mental damage on the woman (even if she IS Courtney Love), and some of that has to be passed on to the developing fetus.

  3. Loulou says:

    It’s amazing that someone who grew up in those circumstances (with that mother!), could be so level-headed.

    • LadyMTL says:

      My thoughts exactly! Not only did her father commit suicide when she was so young that she doesn’t even remember him, but her mom isn’t exactly June Cleaver. And yet she comes off as very grounded and well-spoken…it is amazing.

    • Dani2 says:

      Exactly, people like her give me a lot of hope for people like North West, that you don’t necessarily have to be a product of your environment, that you can grow up to be a positive person despite the circumstances you were born into.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      She has gone long periods of time without contact with Courtney. Kurt’s mother pretty much raised her.

      • Angie says:

        Bingo. That’s a huge reason she’s not a total mess (ala poor Bobbi Kristina). Thank goodness for Kurt’s mom. I’ve actually known several families where the grandparents have stepped up when the parents have issues like drug problems. Sadly, it’s pretty common.

      • aims says:

        I’m also am impressed by how she turned out. She seems grounded and realistic about her parents. I also feel like she has the right to feel however she wants regarding her dad. Kurt is her father, we’re just fans. His loss was horribly sad for the world,but it was an incredible loss for her.

      • sara says:

        Courtney has commented many times that nannies raised Francis while she was partying hard for years. I am sure she has recanted these comments, but a while back Love repeatedly stated she was never around. It is known that Courtney was a beyond horrible mother who was high 90% of the time. Hell, she was getting stoned throughout her pregnancy. She is lucky Francis came out a healthy child without any disabilities.

        Love disgusts me.

      • LizLemonGotMarried says:

        One of my best hires ever was a woman who had been a sales pro, retired, then wound up with custody of her three granddaughters. I remember asking her why she wanted to come out of retirement, and she was just so frank about the situation: daughter had a drug habit, had 3 granddaughters who need school clothes and vacations and a normal life, and her retirement didn’t allow her to give them that, so she was ready to get back in the sales force. She’s AMAZING-a total dynamo. All kudos to grandmas who step up.

  4. Snazzy says:

    She sounds like a fairly level headed kid, all things considered

  5. Yeses says:

    Is it just me or is Frances Bean looking a little too frail & gaunt in these pictures? I really do hope she is ok!!

    • Anastasia says:

      That really struck me, too. Her face is incredibly thin. Perhaps she just reached an age where all the baby fat in the face sort of melts away. I know for a lot of people, that happens in their 20s. (I’m in my 40s and still waiting for it to happen!)

      • Yeses says:

        Not being an alarmist/pessimist but it doesn’t look like baby fat melting away, I’m 43 and am still waiting on that to happen.
        Her whole frame seems whittled down, her shoulders, her wrists, even her posture is of someone who lost too much weight too soon, whatever the reason for her weight loss, I hope someone gives her the help she needs…can’t have been an easy childhood with a dad who shot himself and a mom who is a couple of nuggets short of a happy meal.

      • Val says:

        Her face screams ED.

      • pf says:

        I was just going to say she probably has an eating disorder because she was never this thin. Or maybe drugs? She looks totally strung out in these pics.

    • Rhiley says:

      Yeah, she doesn’t look very healthy to me. She looks a little like Marilyn Mason.

    • Kitten says:

      She’s lost a LOT of weight. Hard to believe this is the same girl:

      It’s weird how before she messed with her face she looked so much like Courtney before Courtney messed with her face.

      • Greek Chic says:

        wow she looks like a different person. Different lips,nose and chin.
        I must admit that her lip injections look pretty natural. Her lips look nice now, plump but not over the top. Kylie’s are terrible.

      • Angie says:

        It’s shocking how different she looks. To the point where I think “Are we sure this isn’t a Frances Bean Cobain imposter?” lol Wow I can’t get over how much work she’s had done.

      • Kitten says:

        To be fair, the change in the shape of her face is likely due to losing weight–but that doesn’t explain the nose and lips. Still, she has beautiful, natural blue eyes–Kurt’s eyes for sure.

    • claire says:

      She does. And I think another thing that’s being romanticized is how well-adjusted and happy she is.

      Courtney is looking better than usual though, I’ll give her that.

  6. ToodySezHey says:

    It’s a fair comment.

    • Santia says:

      It is. I feel the same about Aaliyah. In life, she was maybe another Ashanti. In death, she eclipses Beyonce, Michael Jackson, etc. It’s good when people are honest.

  7. Kath says:

    Don’t forget Courtney trying to empty Frances’ trust fund because she’d already blown through tens of millions of dollars and thought she’d help herself to her child’s inheritance as well.

    Mother of the year.

  8. Mzizkrizten says:

    I think she is gorgeous. Her eyes are so expressive. Pain just radiates from those eyes. Her face is such a perfect blend of Kurt and Courtney.

    • RedMarine says:

      “Her face is such a perfect blend of Kurt and Courtney”…and a bit from her plastic surgeon.

      • Kitten says:

        …which is fine, but let’s not pretend otherwise. She’s gorgeous the way Kylie Jenner is gorgeous.

        Thankfully, Bean seems to possess a level of depth and intelligence which is entirely absent from anyone in the Klan.

    • Esmom says:

      I still see all Kurt in her face, maybe it is because of those haunted eyes.

    • Dońt kill me i'm french says:

      Cobain’s eyes with Courtney Love’s face.Find Love’s 20 years face pics

  9. Cannibell says:

    Hang in there Frances – the promotional tour will be over soon. She’s a trouper, that one.

  10. Cara says:

    Frances has the same sad eyes as Kurt. It makes me nostalgic to see her grown-up face.
    I hope this young woman is able to live a healthy and happy life. She looks wrung out and rather emaciated recently, and I hope that she’s okay. 🙁

  11. serena says:

    She seems like a grounded young woman. She looks like a vampire though.

  12. ann says:

    She’s a pretty girl, but maybe her makeup is a little bad. It’s sad she wasn’t around long before her dad died. She’ll only know what her mom, fans, and the rest of the world say about him

    I’m getting old. I was 16 when he died. Feels like a million years ago

  13. Esmom says:

    My son and I are really looking forward to this film — the “legendary” Kurt is all he knows. It sounds like it turned out to be a real labor of love for the filmmaker, he said he cried for almost a half hour after seeing it completed because he knew he’d have to let Kurt go after figuratively spending so much time with him for so many years.

  14. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    it’s interesting that she’s gone to a movie about her dead father looking so corpsy herself. Not sure what to make of that.

    • Nicolette says:

      I had the same thought. It also was interesting to me that she called him Kurt instead of Dad. But then again she didn’t have the chance to have a father/daughter relationship with him. It’s sad.

  15. Jayna says:

    I love her hair dark. She’s so pretty. And she’s young and I don’t have a problem with her look. It’s a time in life to experiment lookswise.

    I thought it was a great commentary on the film. It is always so jarring to see her call him Kurt, instead of my father. It shows that she does that because she never knew him and distances herself from him, but also that she feels abandoned by him, that he didn’t love her enough to want to live. I d understand not calling him dad, like “dad” this or “dad” that, but not using the term “my father” when she talks about him and insists on calling him by his first name is very pointed, her anger, I think. Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s father, Freddie Prinze, the actor/comic, killed himself when Freddie was a year old. He still calls him his father, even though he never knew him, really.

    I hope this film does help her in a way find peace about his death and feelings of abandonment.

    She is very level-headed, and I always liked the way she called out Lana on that one interview.

    I can’t wait to see this film.

  16. Greek Chic says:

    I like Frances, she’s a pretty girl but she doesn’t look good in these pictures. Too pale, too gaunt, too sad…Maybe it’s the make up but here she reminds me of Morticia Addams.

    Her parents were both addicts, isn’t addiction also inherent? If she lived away from Courtney of course she would be safer as living in a stable environment is important, but genes play a huge role too. In her case the risk is higher and makes her more vulnerable ,as her dad was an addict who commited suicide and her mother,well we all know. I hope she’s ok.

  17. DavidBowie says:

    She’s right. Having said that I still get chills every time I hear the first few chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

  18. boredblond says:

    Seems most celebs who die young are seen through a romanticized lens..frozen in time..despite how they died.

  19. Maum says:

    It’s not just the makeup. Look at her chest- she looks seriously ill. There are more pics on Buzzfeed and she looks scary.

  20. Just Me (and my Bobby McGee) says:

    She calls him Kurt. Is this her way of detaching herself from it mentally and emotionally in order to deal with the subject matter? Poor kiddo. I’ve had friends whose parents committed suicide when they were kids. The after effects linger on decades down the road. It’s a never ending struggle for them. I really hope she’s ok.

    • tabasco says:

      I think it’s probably more due to the fact that she simply doesn’t identify with him as “Dad” because she didn’t experience him as Dad. She never had the chance to. Not necessarily a slam against him or statement about anything, just simply that it would be weird to call someone you never really knew Dad.

      I like that she’s emphasizing not romanticizing suicide. I think that’s got to go, and while I understand your comments about how the effects can linger on, I also think it’s important to not stigmatize survivors of suicide as automatically going to turn out this way or that, or have problems forever. I’m not saying that’s what you’re saying cuz I get where you’re coming from and it is a serious, long journey.

      But, survivors of suicide can and do work through it. I lost my uncle to suicide 14 years ago and his wife, kids, the rest of the fam, everybody has worked through it, fully functioning, emotionally healthy, good relationships, no big demons, etc. It’s one of those things that will never be “ok,” but it doesn’t have to define you or be a lifelong struggle.

      I’m just pointing it out b/c I think survivors are often TOLD so much that it will be a lifelong struggle that it’s almost like self-fulfilling prophecy. It doesn’t have to be that way and it’s important for survivors to know that they CAN grieve through it, not be defined by it, and be just as fine as everybody else.

    • Andrea says:

      My boyfriend’s dad committed suicide when he was a teen and he has become a 15+ year math professor(he used his dad’s life insurance money to put him through school/graduate school something he would not have done had his father lived). Not everyone has a grim road to go down; he actually says that his life could have been far worse had his dad lived from his perspective (grew up in a very rural mountain area in VA, not many opportunities or prospects).

  21. LAK says:

    I disagree about his significance and the predicted decline should he have lived.

    The fact is that he *is* dead. We can only judge on his record. His singular moment was brilliant. We don’t have mediocrity to tarnish it. That’s his contribution and romanticism.

    Whilst it is understandable that Frances Bean wishes to distance herself from the public Kurt, she’s pissing on a moment in time that was important for a lot of people.

    She should follow JFK Jr’s example and find a way that reconciles a larger than life parent figure with her own normal, private life whilst understanding the public’s enduring reverence for the parental figure.

    • Amy says:

      I like what you said about “We don’t have mediocrity to tarnish it” quite true.

      Life, for as much as we love it, is about a slow growing mediocrity isn’t it? Of course everyone is different but in general you get less pretty, less famous, less successful. It’s amazing to think how if someone *died* at some point in their history how different public perception would be of them.

      Imagine Madonna forever frozen in the 90’s or Eddie Murphy in the early 00’s. Stars dim with time.

      Tbh I can’t blame the girl. I think people want and ask too much of her. Not only did she lose her Father whom she barely knew but she has an entire world telling her how amazing he was and how transcendent his music was. Except…she didn’t lose him to illness or accident. He killed himself, even knowing and accepting how mental illness works doesn’t take that sting away. He killed himself and she was stuck with one of the women in the running for worst celebrity Mom. I think the public asks too much of her to act like he was an adored hero when he was the man who abandoned her.

    • tabasco says:

      @ Lak

      “Whilst it is understandable that Frances Bean wishes to distance herself from the public Kurt, she’s pissing on a moment in time that was important for a lot of people.

      She should follow JFK Jr’s example and find a way that reconciles a larger than life parent figure with her own normal, private life whilst understanding the public’s enduring reverence for the parental figure.”

      I don’t disagree, but I would add that this is a tall order, especially for someone her age, and raised under her circumstances. She seems to have it pretty well in hand though, so I think there’s a good chance that she will get to this point eventually.

  22. N says:

    All i see is courtney’s everything. The colour of the eyes is courtney as well. Just google kurt cobain eyes and make the comparison. The only kurt I see is height and the bored/sad/fed-up way her eyes look. That is quite creepy to me.. can’t look away

  23. Cindy says:

    I grew up in Seattle and was in my late teens, early twenties when Nirvana was becoming well known. I was never a fan, but I didn’t dislike their music either. Neutral I guess, so his death didn’t really touch me the way it did for his fans. About five years ago I read Heavier Than Heaven. There are a handful of books that have disturbed me, and which I would never read again, and this was one of them. Cobain’s life was so dark, and HE was so dark. My impression of him before I read this book was that he was fragile and the fame drove him to suicide. Now I think it was hatred and rage that drove him to it and heroin and suicide were his way of telling everyone and everything to f*ck off (with the exception of his daughter). He did some bad stuff. One of those things I can’t even type about because it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I am going to catch hell for saying this, but I will never understand how this man came to be so revered and romanticized. I mean no offense to his fans, I know he was musically brilliant. But as a human being? Scary.

    • Jen43 says:

      You really piqued my interest. I was in my 30’s and living in Seattle at that time. I will check out that book.

    • Nymeria says:

      Yeah, I agree. To choose Courtney Love as your spouse means you’re seriously effed up. He was heavy into drugs just like she was, and he had a lot of scars from his upbringing that were only addressed through drug use. Two train wrecks.

      • Andrea says:

        I also got the impression from some book I read that he had severe stomach pains that no one could find a cure for or help him that drove him to do drugs in the first place; very sad if medical doctors never helped him or could find out what was wrong with him.

  24. Crumpet says:

    She has lost an alarming amount of weight. And don’t they call that look ‘heroin chic’?

  25. Mysons says:

    Eeeek! Frances is looking skeletol! She’s lost alot of weight since the last round of publicity photos for this film. I hope she gets whatever help she needs right now for whatever has caused this dramatic weightloss.