It's been more than 20 years since Kurt Cobain died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, permanently silencing what many consider to be the voice of a generation.
On Monday, HBO will premiere Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, a biopic of the Nirvana frontman assembled from never-before-seen home movies, drawings, concert footage, and interviews with figures central to Cobain's life, including his former bandmate Krist Novoselic (though not Dave Grohl), mother Wendy O'Connor and former wife Courtney Love.
"It's deeply, deeply emotional. I've seen it for the third time now," Love told TVGuide.com in February. "I don't think I can see it again. It's raw. It's like getting to spend a few extra minutes with Kurt on earth, which is why I've seen it three times and put myself through that kind of torture."
Cobain and Love's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, is credited as an executive producer on the film, which was written, directed and produced by Brett Morgen. "I'm really, really proud of my daughter," Love says. "I think her dad would be very proud of her."
Though she was interviewed for the film, and footage of her relationship with Cobain is the primary focus of the second hour, Love had no creative control over the project. "As a subject of the film, I didn't want to have anything to do with producing it because I think it would have impugned on the credibility of it," she says. "I gave him the keys to my storage and I was like, 'Just tell the truth.' And I never bugged him again."
The result is a messy, unfiltered portrait of life in the Cobain-Love household, which is alternately sad, scary and downright insane. These are the 10 craziest things we learned about their marriage from Montage of Heck:
1. Love claims she had already kicked heroin by the time she metCobain, but that her husband embraced his identity as an addict. "I had already done heroin, beat the thing, had a rule," she says. "I loved it still, but I didn't have a fantasy that he had. He had a fantasy. His fantasy was, 'I'm gonna get to $3 million and then I'm gonna be a junkie.' Those are his words." Novoselic seems to support this, saying that Love's drug use was "all part of the package of building a home," in Cobain's mind.
2. They redefined "honeymoon period." After his wedding to Love, even though Nirvana was at the height of its popularity, Cobain opted to scrap tour plans (and all the money that would have come with it) and take six months off. "He wanted to stay in the apartment and do heroin and paint, and play his guitar," Love says. "That's what he wanted to do."
3. Their drug use is as bad - or worse - than you'd expect. For every adorable moment of Cobain playing with a kitten, making silly faces at Frances or bantering with Love in their bathroom, there's equally disturbing footage of their filthy home (which looks like a stereotypical drug den), or inebriated antics like Love climbing on Kurt's back, singing "I wanna be your girlfriend," as he smashes a guitar. Of course, there are also ample shots of Love flashing the camera. It's unclear why the footage was shot, outside of a young couple's desire to document their love for one another. But one thing is certain - the film will silence anyone who believes that Love manipulatedCobain into a relationship and that he was miserable with her. It's clear thatCobain is enamored with his wife, and their daughter.
4. Courtney had no intention of staying clean after Frances was born. "I did do heroin when I was pregnant, and then I stopped," Love reiterates, as she has many times before. "I knew she would be fine. I assured [Kurt] that I was built like an [ox] and could carry this pregnancy to term and not have any problems. I was a young woman. The pregnancy isn't the problem. It's being around a junkie while I'm pregnant, when I'm a junkie too, and I know the minute that baby's out, I'm gonna go shoot up in celebratory fashion. That was our lifestyle."
5. They would have had more kids. "God, yes," Love responds, when asked if they intended to have a baby. "We were all we had, so making a family as fast as possible was important. If I had had more time, I'd have had more kids with him."
6. That threatening voicemail After a now-infamous Vanity Fair article was published that accused Love of doing heroin while she was pregnant, Kurt left a threatening voicemail for Lynn Hirschberg - one that definitely would have gone viral (and probably cost Cobain a few fans) had it been left in the age of the Internet. "You parasitic little f---ing c---," he snarls. "You're not writing about my band. You're writing about how jealous you are of my wife. ... I don't care if this is a recorded threat. I'm at the end of my ropes."
7. Cobain almost quit Nirvana completely after Frances was born. "If anything is going to stop me from pursuing this rock 'n' roll thing, it's going to be her because I don't want her to be screwed up because of it," Cobain tells an interviewer shortly after Frances' birth in 1992. "I don't know what's going to happen these next few years. It's kinda scary."
8. They wouldn't win any Parents of the Year awards. One scene in Montage of Heck shows Cobain abruptly walking out of Frances' first birthday party in August 1993. In another, he's seen nodding off during Frances' first hair cut. "Kurt, you don't want your daughter to see you behaving like this, on drugs," Love yells at him, off camera. "I'm not on drugs!" he insists. "I'm tired." Love can also be heard saying "We don't have any milk in the house," while lamenting the fact that Frances hasn't been eating.
9. Before his death, Cobain was using more heroin than ever before. A heartbreaking interview with Cobain's mother, Wendy, reveals that his family felt powerless to help him in his final months. "Every week it got worse," Wendy says. "I decided one time to just confront him. ... I talked to him about it and everything that I'd learned about heroin, and I asked him if he was at the stage of where he was addicted to also the needle prick, and he burst into tears. He was just ashamed."
10. The real reason behind his suicide attempt. About a month before his death, Cobain overdosed on Rohypnol. Love claims the reason was that she was considering cheating on him (and adds that she was never unfaithful to Kurt). "He must have been psychic or something," she says. "I almost did one time, and he knew it. ... I have no idea how he knew it. The plan didn't ever go anywhere. Nothing happened, but ... the response to it was he took 67 Rohypnols and ended up in a coma because I thought about cheating on him. I mean, f---."
Montage of Heck premieres Monday at 9/8c on HBO. Check out the trailer below. Will you watch?