I have known Courtney Love – professionally and personally – for 26 years. I have interviewed her several times and have hung with her in New York City and Los Angeles and San Francisco and New Orleans and Salt Lake City and Provincetown and London and Hudson, New York, where I now live, as does her former Hole bandmate, Melissa Auf der Maur. I even took her as my date to the Vanity Fair Oscar party one year. 

Courtney Love turned 57 years old today, July 9th. Happy birthday, Courtney. Here are five timeless questions I once asked you. Oh, forget birthdays. You are timeless yourself.   

Courtesy of Getty Images

What do you think your reputation once was?

 At times wildly inaccurate to the point it astonished me.  And it still does.  But there are parts of it that are and were applicable.  I do think for myself. I am, I suppose, a provocateur.  It’s a painful thing, however, to be classified as entirely mad and bad and even dangerous to know when you’re actually rather boring and maternal and empathetic.  But the fact that I didn’t use my sexuality foremost or my looks in my music career and instead let the rage be my calling card forged my reputation early on.

What is your reputation now?

Much more mellow.  I can still shoot straight if I need to, though.  I just can’t suffer fools.  I can’t.  But I’ve won the big boys over by being a very good girl for as long as possible.  I run from any controversy at all.  If I even smell it, I’m gone.  I want no piece of that anymore.

What do you want your reputation to be in the future?

A hell of an actress and a great rock-and-roll front man/woman.  And to keep it simple.  I also love fashion.  I can’t wait to design, and I hope that my designs speak to people.  I also paint and draw.  I love doing that.  It’s not a dilettante thing with me.  I’d love to be known as an artist with great conviction. So to put it simply, I want to be accountable, and I want to excel.

Do you even worry about such a concept as “a reputation”?

Oh, terribly.  Not everyone knows I’ve been off any hard drugs since 2003.  I’m not really a person who repeats my mistakes too many times once I’ve learned my lesson.  It’s crucial – especially as an actor going back to acting – that my reputation as a nice person and reliable actress follows me.  I have a lot more I could say on the matter, but if you have wealth and a controversial reputation, you’re screwed.  So I keep on the safe side of the road these days.  I stick with the winners and the people who have survived and thrived from having been through an unreliable reputation of their own and fixed that notion – as I have done, and I continue to do.

What was the most important thing to you when I met  you over 20 years ago?

World domination.  And raising my beautiful daughter.