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We’ve already written about the many things Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix had in common: Seattle, left-handed guitar playing, troubled childhoods, the 27 death Club, and the fact that they both left their mark on a generation with their music. But what about their relationships with women? Were they similar in that regard as well?

The answer is a resounding no. While Jimi Hendrix needed air to breathe as much as he needed the women around him, having countless relationships, girlfriends, and even two children, Kurt Cobain, on the other hand, always had a very apathetic relationship with women from a young age. Due to his more introverted personality, some problems with his mother, and the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of his stepfather, Cobain had fleeting episodes of relationships with the opposite sex.

In 1980, when Kurt was 13 years old, he had his first crush in his hometown of Montesano; the girl’s name was Roni Toyra. Three years later, in the summer of 1983, at the age of 15, Kurt Cobain had one of those innocent relationships for that age, with kisses and little more, with a girl named Andrea Vance. In the documentary ‘Montage of Heck,’ there’s a little-known passage to most Cobain fans: at 16 years old, he supposedly had attempted sexual intercourse with a girl with mental problems. This episode evolved into a police case.

In the book ‘Heavier Than Heaven,’ Richard Cross describes that Kurt Cobain’s first attempt to have sex with someone was between the fall of 1983 and the spring of 1984, with a girl named Jackie Hagara. Ironically, Kurt didn’t get to have party time with this girl because he was interrupted by… his mother! Nevertheless, Kurt would soon find realization when, shortly after, he had the desired sexual experience with one of Jackie Hagara’s friends.

But it wasn’t until 1987 that we could actually talk about Kurt Cobain’s girlfriends. It all began with Tracy Marander, followed by Tobi Vail, Mary Lou Lord, and the famous and dramatic relationship with Courtney Love.

Discover more about Kurt Cobain’s girlfriends below!


Kurt Cobain’s Girlfriend List

Tracy Marander (1987 – 1990)

Tracy Diane Marander, Born April 27, 1965, was Kurt Cobain’s first girlfriend, and they were together from 1987 to 1990. Kurt Cobain, then 20 years old, would live with Tracy Marander in their apartment in Olympia, outside Aberdeen. This moment was of massive importance in Kurt Cobain’s life, as Tracy was one of the keys to the early days of Nirvana.

Tracy Marander was there for Nirvana’s historic first concert in Raymon and consistently supported Kurt Cobain, encouraging him to play guitar, write songs, and create paintings. Tracy Marander helped Kurt Cobain financially by working in a cafeteria.

However, Kurt Cobain never quite felt deserving of someone’s love, particularly Tracy Marander’s, leading to frequent arguments between them. They tried to heal their relationship, but tensions were palpable among their friends. Kurt once called Tracy and admitted their relationship wasn’t working, suggesting they should no longer live together. They both knew it was the end.

Tracy Marander significantly shaped Kurt Cobain’s life, influencing the creation of the song “About a Girl.” Tracy is also known for taking the photo of the band historically featured as the artwork cover for Nirvana’s debut album “Bleach.”


Tobi Vail (1990)

When Kurt Cobain and Tobi Vail began their relationship in July 1990, Kurt had already broken up with Tracy Marander. However, they continued to share their Olympia house for a short period.

Tobi Vail, born on July 20, 1969, was the drummer of Bikini Kill and a central figure in the Riot Grrrl movement. Although Cobain and Vail had first met in 1986 through the Go Team, their romantic involvement wouldn’t begin until four years later.

Their passion for music fueled their connection, but Kurt Cobain was deeply infatuated with Tobi Vail, who couldn’t reciprocate his intense feelings like Tracy Marander had. This presented continuous challenges to Cobain’s self-esteem throughout their relationship.

Sadly, their romance was short-lived. In November 1990, Tobi Vail broke up with Kurt Cobain after less than six months together, leaving him devastated.

The intensity of Kurt Cobain’s relationship with Tobi Vail is widely acknowledged to have profoundly influenced his songwriting during a pivotal time in Nirvana’s career. He channeled the emotional turmoil of their relationship into several songs that would appear on Nirvana’s landmark second album, “Nevermind.” Tracks like “Aneurysm,” “Drain You,” and “Lounge Act” all bear the mark of this short but intense connection with Tobi Vail.


Mary Lou Lord (1991)

Born in 1965, Mary Lou Lord embarked on an adventure across the Atlantic in the 1980s. She settled in London, where she discovered the art of busking. She honed her musical talents for nine years, singing on city sidewalks and subways in London and later back in Boston.

in the fall of 1991, her path crossed with Kurt Cobain. Their initial encounter at a Melvins gig in Boston sparked an instant connection. Kurt Cobain opened up to Lord about his recent breakup with Tobi Vail. A bond of empathy formed between them, and as “Nevermind” was released on September 24th, they were officially dating.

However, Courtney Love’s looming presence soon overshadowed their budding romance. One night, while watching Nirvana perform on television, Lord was shocked to hear Cobain proclaim his love for Love, the lead singer of Hole. Before the performance, Kurt Cobain declared, “I just want everyone in this room to know Courtney Love, the lead singer of the pop band Hole, is the best F*** in the world.

Unknown to Mary Lou Lord, Kurt Cobain had already met Courtney Love, and though not yet officially dating, their connection was growing stronger. Kurt was juggling relationships with both women simultaneously.

The situation grew even more complicated when Courtney Love announced her pregnancy shortly thereafter. This revelation is often cited as a potential catalyst for the end of Cobain and Lord’s relationship, which had lasted a mere two months.


Courtney Love (1991 – 1994)

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s relationship was a whirlwind of passion, controversy, and tragedy that captivated the world in the 1990s. Their paths crossed in 1990, but their relationship began after a chance encounter at a Nirvana show in 1991. Kurt Cobain was still dating Mary Lou Lord, also known as the last girlfriend Kurt Cobain had before Courtney Love.

Courtney Love’s fiery personality and Kurt Cobain’s introverted nature often clashed, creating a volatile dynamic in the media spotlight. Despite the chaos, their love was undeniable. In February 1992, they married in a beachside ceremony in Hawaii, and Love was already pregnant with their daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. The birth of their child brought a brief period of joy, but the underlying issues in their relationship persisted.

Kurt Cobain’s battle with depression and drug addiction worsened, culminating in his tragic suicide in April 1994. Love’s grief was public and raw, further fueling the media frenzy surrounding their relationship.

In the aftermath, Love became controversial, facing accusations of contributing to Cobain’s death and exploiting his legacy. However, she fiercely defended Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s legacy. The intricacies of how Cobain’s estate was managed after his passing have been a subject of much debate and speculation, with the value of his net worth fluctuating over the years.

The legacy of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s relationship was a love story filled with passion and pain, marked by both tender moments and destructive tendencies. Their tumultuous union remains a subject of fascination and debate, forever intertwined with the tragic end of a music icon.

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