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Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love attempted to escape ‘craziness’ of fame

Constance Hansen and Russell Peacock had no idea what to expect when they walked into the Hollywood home of grunge’s reigning couple.

The husband-and-wife photography duo, known as Guzman, has a photo book being published in June, “Family Values,” which features over 80 unseen images of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and their daughter, Frances Bean.

Hansen and Peacock were chosen to photograph the family in 1992 for Spin magazine. Only five of their images were originally published. The rest are now being seen for the first time.

Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain holding their baby Francis, with an inset of a book cover.

“Family Values” will feature over 80 unseen images of Cobain, Love and their daughter, Francis Bean. (Guzman/powerHouse Books)

KURT COBAIN’S DAUGHTER FRANCES BEAN SAYS SHE HAS GUILT OVER INHERITING HER FATHER’S FORTUNE

“I didn’t know whether they were going to have handlers or people around saying, ‘No, they can’t wear that,’ or ‘No, they can’t do that,’” Hansen recalled to Fox News Digital. “There was nothing like that. What was completely exciting for me was that it was an ordinary house. It was very modest.” 

Love opened up her doors to the photographers. Cobain, who was later seen, was still in his pajamas. 

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in bed with their baby

Guzman was happy to find Cobain and Love in an ordinary and modest home. (Guzman)

“Courtney greeted us and was super friendly,” Hansen shared. “She invited us in and asked if we wanted a slice of guava pie and a cup of coffee. She was just very chatty. There was no one there to control anything. It was just the two of them.”

By the time Guzman met the frontman of Nirvana and the Hole songstress, the rock stars had already grown wary of the press. 

Weeks earlier, Vanity Fair had published an unflattering profile of Love in which she spoke about the couple’s drug use, The Telegraph reported. According to the outlet, the report not only raised questions about their suitability as parents, but it resulted in them fighting for custody of their infant.

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love carrying their baby in front of a beige wall.

Peacock explains he didn’t see Cobain and Love as drug addicts, but as two doting parents. (Guzman)

Peacock said he didn’t see two drug addicts. Instead, he witnessed two doting parents eager to escape the glaring media spotlight. The photo shoot was their attempt to portray themselves in a different light.

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“They were just totally in awe of their new baby,” said Peacock. “That was one reason why the pictures look the way they do. They were in their own little family bubble. 

“They were in their own little world away from all the craziness, all the press, the roller coaster of celebrity. We captured a moment in their lives where they were just at peace. It was very brief. … Anyone with a newborn will tell you this is a special moment in your life. It was a moment full of love and just good vibes.” 

Courtney Love carrying Francis Bean as a baby

Francis Bean was only five weeks old when the photo shoot took place. (Guzman)

Frances Bean was just five weeks old when the photos were taken. 

“She was a super, super little baby,” said Hansen. “They were just charmed by her. As soon as Kurt got the baby in his arms, he just melted. He was cooing and playing with her. Both of them were very attentive parents.” 

The book described Cobain, in particular, as a loving, engaged father. 

“He was playful, he was funny,” Hansen explained. “The baby was completely comfortable. He was just in awe of her just by holding her, watching her. When we were taking the photos, he didn’t even pay attention to us. All of the attention was on Frances Bean. … The expression was, ‘How lucky are we?’

The cover of the photobook "Family Values."

“Family Values” describes Cobain as an engaged and loving father. (powerHouse Books)

“You could feel the love,” Hansen added. “He was very gentle. He was a very gentle man. Even with us, he was very gentle, very sweet. He could have been guarded with us for a lot of reasons.” 

Nirvana’s breakthrough album, “Nevermind,” was released in 1991. Featuring the hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the album went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. 

Nirvana was the most prominent of the era’s Seattle grunge bands, including Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, that would go on to release bestselling records. 

“This was the year after this explosive, amazing, successful album of his, where his entire life basically changed,” said Hansen. “Both of them were famous. They were very wealthy. But it didn’t appear that way. They weren’t caught up yet with the reality of that.” 

A black and white photo of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love hugging

The photo shoot took place just one year after Nirvana’s breakthrough album was released. (Guzman)

While the Vanity Fair profile was “really disruptive” for Cobain and Love, they never showed it. 

“All kinds of things happened between them and Frances Bean and lawyers after that article,” said Hansen. “I don’t know if it was resolved by the time we got there or whatever. … But there was a lot of love in that home. There was a lot of love in that family. … These guys were just in their own little bubble. It was their version of family values.

“Courtney was very charismatic,” Hansen shared. “She knew she was charismatic. She enjoyed that part of her personality. … She was so brilliant and fabulous. I think Kurt struggled with that. He was more subtle. He would have little toys in his room. … They were both super unique in how they presented themselves.” 

Bliss was brief for the new parents. Cobain died on April 5, 1995, in his home located in a wealthy neighborhood near Lake Washington. He was 27. 

A black and white close up photo of Kurt Cobain

Cobain died in April 1995 in his home. (Guzman)

Cobain’s angst-filled lyrics and his band’s powerful, dark rock struck a chord with young people. Days after his death, thousands of people gathered near the Space Needle for a public memorial. 

An investigation determined he took a massive dose of heroin and then shot himself. 

“[His death] freaked me out,” Hansen admitted. “I was devastated. We loved the music, just the idea of this young man. My first thought was, ‘How could this have happened?’ … It was really depressing.”

“Obviously, I was very sad to hear the news,” said Peacock. “I wasn’t totally surprised because I think he was clinically depressed, and he struggled with that for a while. It was just a very sad day.” 

A black and white photo of Courtney Love

Guzman photographed Love and her band Hole for the cover of “Celebrity Skin,” which was released in 1998. (Guzman)

Guzman later photographed Hole for the album cover of “Celebrity Skin,” which was released in 1998. 

“What’s interesting is that their music is still popular,” said Hansen. “There’s a new generation of people that are listening to the music long after Kurt died. They’re still getting something out of it. … They really were talented. The lyrics were so good. They touched lives. … [But in these photographs] we see a young couple, new parents, enjoying a brief, private moment in their lives. … They were icons. But they were also human.

Black and white photo of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in bed with Francis

Kurt Cobain was a doting father to his young daughter. (Guzman)

“Kurt valued his own family values,” she noted. “In these images, he’s saying, ‘This is my family, and I love them dearly.’ … It all boils down to love.”

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