Belfast Telegraph

Courtney Love: Sean Penn inspires me

Sean Penn helped light a fire in Courtney Love's belly, which made her want to act again.

Although best known for her music with band Hole, the star is also an accomplished actress. She's been showing off her skills in Lee Daniels' smash-hit musical TV show Empire alongside Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson, but it was actually Sean who made her realise that was where her heart lay.

"I decided that I wanted to act again after I saw Sean Penn a few years ago in an independent film called This Must Be the Place [in which he plays a retired, middle-aged rock star]. I always think that if I were a guy, I would be Sean - he's like my male doppelgänger," Courtney wrote in an essay for Harper's Bazaar. "But that film lit a fire in my belly. So I sat down with Sean and his agent, and they gave me a bunch of tasks, and I've checked every box over the past three years. I just became determined to claw my way up that greasy pole."

That meant rethinking how she was perceived by others, and so Courtney decided to be more of a "good girl".

She also recognised she had to think more about her appearance and has started taking more care of herself. The 51-year-old star used unflattering pictures taken of her during a photoshoot to help with this. Although they were retouched for the publication, she took the originals and pinned them to her fridge to spur them on.

"After that I went to great lengths to lose the weight. I put my daughter's carbs in a secret drawer where I couldn't find them and went on the Zone diet, and I got back to a healthy size," she explained.

Courtney's love of chanting has been well documented and she believes the practice helps centre her, especially when coupled with her interest in Pilates and yoga. She is proud to have "good spiritual hygiene", citing it as the reason why she has such renewed self respect and no longer cares what people think about her.

That said, she still enjoys hearing nice things from people.

"I went out on Oscar night this year, and it was like going back to high school and seeing old friends," she recalled.

"I met Natalie Portman, and she said, 'I thought we were going to be best friends because I wore barrettes in high school, just like you!' And I was like, 'Barrettes?!' I'd forgotten I did that back in the day."

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From Belfast Telegraph