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Love Gets Court-Ordered Rehab After Admitting More Drug Use

Times Staff Writers

A judge Friday ordered rock musician Courtney Love into an immediate, monthlong drug rehab program after the troubled singer-actress admitted to violating her probation by using drugs.

“I think that you need to hit rock bottom before you make a decision about what you’re going to do in the future,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin told a sobbing Love. “I think you either need a long-term drug program or a long term in County Jail.”

Love’s tearful admission marked a significant failure in the popular star’s effort to extricate herself from a web of criminal proceedings and will probably have major repercussions on her efforts to revive a stalling career and maintain custody of her 13-year-old daughter.

Love’s court appearance Friday was prompted by her overdose at a Hollywood nightclub last month and comes less than six months after she regained full custody of her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, whose father was the late rock icon Kurt Cobain.

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By acknowledging that she used controlled substances, Love has admitted to violating probation on three convictions for assault, drug possession and possession of a fake medical prescription.

Love, 41, had insisted for months that she had finally kicked her drug habit, telling reporters at a red carpet event this month: “I’m clean and sober for over a year and no one seems to care!”

But Friday the former lead singer of the band Hole admitted using an unidentified controlled substance. “Yes, your honor,” Love meekly replied when Rubin asked if she understood that she was admitting to violating the terms of her probation.

After Love had made light of events at a recent roast of friend Pamela Anderson and again stated that she had been clean for a year, the judge told her, “It certainly is not something to joke about.”

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Rubin said that he had planned to send Love to jail, but decided to order her into treatment after talking with lawyers in the case.

Rubin then ordered Love to appear in court again Sept. 16 for sentencing on the probation violations.

“There will be sentencing and some further consequences at that time,” he said.

The judge also ordered her on Friday to enroll immediately in a 28-day drug treatment program.

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Love’s defense lawyer, Howard Weitzman, told reporters outside court that his client would succeed in ending her involvement with drugs.

“I believe she has every intention of continuing to stay clean and sober. She had a relapse. She’ll deal with it,” Weitzman said. “She’s serious, she’s sincere, and she’s pretty tenacious about getting her life in order.”

“You know what, if Courtney relapses again, jail isn’t the issue. Courtney taking care of herself is the issue,” he said.

Love’s struggle with addiction has received widespread publicity, as has her faltering career.

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Although she won strong critical and commercial acclaim for her music and praise for some of her film work in the 1990s, attention has shifted to her personal life and legal troubles. Her most recent album, last year’s “America’s Sweetheart,” has sold only 100,000 copies -- a steep decline from when her recordings sold millions of copies.

Many of Love’s current legal troubles stem from an October 2003 incident in which she was arrested at the Los Angeles home of Jim Barber, an ex-boyfriend and her former manager. Love was charged with forcing her way into the home and with attacking a female musician who was sleeping there.

Kristin King testified that she had been sleeping on Barber’s couch when she heard Love yelling at Barber and then watched her storm through the house.

“She picked up a ... bottle of whiskey and dumped it all over me,” King said at a preliminary hearing. “She threw the bottle at the left side of my face. She picked up a big candle that was lit and threw it at the back of my head.”

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The musician added that Love then sat on her, pulled her hair, dug her nails into her arm and grabbed her left breast in the “worst pinch I ever had.”

Police arrived to find Love in the street, and she subsequently tested positive for cocaine and opiates. Hours after the arrest at Barber’s house, paramedics were called to Love’s Beverly Hills home, where she was treated for what appeared to be a painkiller overdose.

The incident prompted officials to place Love’s daughter in the custody of her grandparents. Authorities had previously initiated custody proceedings in 1992 after a Vanity Fair article quoted Love as saying she used heroin during her pregnancy. Love maintained that she didn’t know she was pregnant at the time.

Another case in which Love pleaded guilty occurred in March 2004. Hours after the singer repeatedly flashed her breasts on “Late Night With David Letterman,” a fan at the Plaid nightclub in New York was injured when Love tossed her microphone stand into the audience.

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The charge to which Love pleaded guilty was the equivalent of a traffic violation, and it replaced more serious charges of assault and reckless endangerment. Love was ordered to pay the victim’s $2,236 medical bills and participate in a drug treatment program over the course of the year.


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