June 06, 2003 11:00 AM

Label-less rocker Courtney Love, who broke with Universal Music Group’s Geffen Records in a widely publicized 2001 lawsuit, is about to find a new professional home, says the Hollywood Reporter. And that would be EMI’s Virgin Records.

If the deal goes through as is expected, Virgin will release Love’s first solo album since the breakup of her former group, Hole, which produced its last studio album, the multi-platinum “Celebrity Skin,” in 1998.

In her lawsuit against Universal, which was settled last year, Love, 38, was released from her contract and was no longer liable for any albums that she owed the company. She also regained ownership of some unreleased songs by Hole.

As for how a Virgin-Love marriage may have happened, earlier this year the rocker and Virgin chairman Richard Branson, 52, met at the after-party for a London benefit concert with Elton John. (On stage, Love performed in a Donald Duck suit before she stripped down to her underwear and fishnet stockings).

A day before the concert, Virgin Air, which is also owned by Branson, had turned Love into authorities at London’s Heathrow Airport for allegedly disruptive behavior onboard her flight from Los Angeles.

At the after-party, Branson and Love spent a half-hour talking. After the chat, she told reporters, “We’ve sorted it all out now … He’s given me four free first-class flights on Virgin.”

Since then, Love has placed full-page ads in several alternative weekly newspapers, looking for “goddess” types to play in her new backing band.

Love also has been busy removing her foot from her mouth. The rocker is apologizing this week after telling Vanity Fair that her ex-boyfriend Edward Norton will never marry actress Salma Hayek because “he can barely understand half of what she’s saying.”

Now, Love tells New York’s Daily News that Norton “has never made any negative comments about Ms. Hayek to me and does not discuss that part of his personal life with me, except to let me know how happy he is.

“I especially apologize to Miss Hayek, who is nothing if not brilliant, with a loving relationship and a massive I.Q., not to mention a firm grip and style with the English language.”

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