Love: 'I Just Want My Daughter Back'

10/24/2003 at 10:00 AM EDT

In recent weeks, friends of Courtney Love had grown alarmed by the former Hole singer's increasingly self-destructive behavior: an attempted break-in at a private home, an overdose of painkillers, then a suicide threat after county officials removed Frances Bean, her 11-year-old daughter by the late Nirvana rocker Kurt Cobain, from her care on Oct. 10, PEOPLE reports in its latest issue.

"She's been erratic for months," pal Julie Panebianco tells the magazine. "Everyone around her is concerned."

Yet Love, 39, saw no cause for worry at the time. "I'm not on some downward spiral," Love told PEOPLE as she applied mascara before the court appearance. "This is stupid. I'm not on narcotics. I'm fine. I just want my daughter back."

Though no one close to Love disputes that last claim, the "fine" part proved a no-go in court. After an hour-long hearing, the judge decided to leave Frances in the temporary custody of Cobain's mother, Wendy O'Connor.

Young Frances has not been shielded completely from Love's troubles. The girl was with her mother after Love took at least 20 mg of OxyContin "to be knocked out," the singer says. When Love got sick, Frances made her green tea and kept her company, along with a nanny, until an ambulance came.

"That's the only time my daughter has ever, ever, ever pitched in on one of my little crises," Love tells PEOPLE. "I made it fun. I said it was going to be gross and I was going to have to make myself throw up, but it was going to be okay."

According to an L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services report, Frances stated at the time that she was "scared but knew her mother would be okay after they pumped her stomach."

According to Love's stepfather Frank Rodriguez, at the follow-up hearing on Oct. 21, a judge determined that Love will move out of the 7,100-sq.-ft. house that she leases in Beverly Hills, and Frances will move back in with a nanny and be monitored by Rodriguez and an aunt.

Love, he says, will be permitted frequent visits. He also says that the tense negotiations brought Love and O'Connor to blows. "Courtney had words with Wendy. It escalated. There were slaps."

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