Sun, Jul 11, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Love turns 40 with legal trouble, calls ambulance for help

MISSED IN COURT A judge issued a warrant as the punk icon alternately tossed bottles and smiles to a crowd that sang `Happy Birthday' for her


Courtney Love spent her 40th birthday on Friday in typically public fashion.

She became a fugitive from justice after missing a court date in Los Angeles, and the police arrived at her Manhattan apartment early in the afternoon following a report that bottles had been thrown. But after a group of paparazzi serenaded Love with a lively rendition of Happy Birthday from under her open third-floor window, her mood seemed to turn somber, according to people who saw her from the street.

Love, who had been bantering with people on the street, blocked her windows. Some time later an ambulance arrived, the witnesses said. She sat on a stretcher while emergency workers put her in the ambulance and a gaggle of photographers, well-wishers and journalists followed.

"After the Happy Birthday, that's when she put the blinds up," said Samuel Jackson, a fashion designer, who was there. "Maybe the Happy Birthday upset her."

Love, a punk rock icon, is known nearly as well for her public displays of bad behavior as for her music. (Her band, Hole, broke up but she recently released an album, America's Sweetheart.) Earlier this year, she lifted her shirt at a taping of Late Show With David Letterman. She has been arrested in the past on charges that she had punched fans and cursed at flight attendants.

It was not clear why she need-ed an ambulance. A Fire Department spokesman said a 911 call had reported a miscarriage. A police officer who responded to reports that Love had thrown bottles said the singer told her she had had an abortion on Thursday.

The police said she was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, but a spokesman for the hospital said he could not confirm or deny that she was there.

"She looked very, very pale," Jackson said.

Love's lawyer, Michael Rosenstein, said that she had been receiving medical treatment for a gynecological condition and that she had medical problems when he spoke with her on Thursday night.

The day's problems seemed to have begun in California, when Love did not make a mandatory court appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court regarding April 24 assault charges that she denied. Rosenstein said she had confused the date with another that did not require her presence.

"The judge wasn't particularly interested in the story," he said by telephone. "He issued a bench warrant."

Then there were the reports of the thrown bottles in New York. One police officer who responded said that it was hard to recognize Love.

"She didn't look like a star to me," said one of the officers. "I calmed her down, because Courtney was really out of it."

Love appeared to have been alone in the apartment, the witnesses said.

"She's like, `Today's my birthday,'" the officer said. "She was really unhappy. Her apartment is a wreck."

But when the officers left, Love seemed almost cheerful.

"When we left she was looking out the window," the officer said. "She actually waved at me."

Greg Benjamin, a friend who went to buy Love cigarettes and juice Friday afternoon, said he did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Still, he said, "She understandably has some big concerns right now."

Love was fighting with medical attendants as they brought her out on the stretcher, wit-nesses said. Yelena Mironova, an artist who works across the street from her apartment, did not find the incident funny.

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