Linda was born to Paula Fox when she was 20, the result of a short-lived relationship.  Paula lived under the roof of acting coach Stella Adler at the time, as did then unknown actor Marlon Brando. There have been persistent rumours that Brando fathered the child, although neither Brando nor Fox ever commented on these and Carroll's paternity remains unknown. Given the tumultuous relationship with Paula's own biological parents, she gave the child up for adoption. Linda was adopted into an Italian Catholic family, and raised in Pacific Heights by Jack and Louella Risi. Linda took her surname after her friend Judy Carroll, after Judy's death. Linda graduated from high school in 1961. She married writer and one time-Grateful Dead manager Hank Harrison in Reno, and gave birth to Courtney Love in 1964. Within years of Courtney's birth, both Carroll's adoptive parents died. Also, Carroll's three-month-old baby died of a heart defect.   She divorced Harrison in 1969, alleging that he had given Love LSD, and brought her daughter with her to Marcola, Oregon. She had two other daughters with the second husband, and settled on a hippie commune in Oregon. She divorced and married Frank Rodriguez. 
After finishing her bachelors degree in Oregon in the 1970s, she moved to New Zealand. She returned to Oregon in the 1980s and received a masters in counseling, and began practicing as a therapist. In the nineties, she and her veterinarian husband, Tim Barraud, began to teach a couples course based on the Imago work of Harville Hendrix, the PAIRS training of Dr. Lori Gordon, and their own insights, study, and practices.
As an adult, Carroll found that her birth mother is the novelist Paula Fox (her grandmother was screenwriter Elsie Fox). In 2006, her memoir Her Mother's Daughter: A Memoir of the Mother I Never Knew and of My Daughter, Courtney Love, was published by Doubleday. Carroll has not spoken to her daughter in years and remains estranged. Love's agent called the book a work of "vicious and greedy fiction", and said, "We find it astonishing that any mother should write such a book. This is especially true in the case of Ms Carroll, who abandoned her daughter when she was a seven-year-old and whom Ms Love thus barely knows at all." In 2008, Remember Who You Are was published by Conari Press, and she is currently working on a book about relationships entitled Love Cycles. 
As of 2014, Carroll has five children and ten grandchildren.
- Linda Carroll's background and family
- Neva Chonin (February 5, 2006). "MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS / Courtney Love's mom, Linda Carroll, reflects on her daughter and her own birth mother". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Acocella, Joan (May 16, 2011). "From Bad Beginnings". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- Linda Carroll's paternity
- Gaby Wood (28 May 2006). "No love lost for a mother's lost love". Independent Woman. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Carroll, Linda (2005). Her Mother's Daughter. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385512463 Check
- Jung, K Elan (2010). Sexual Trauma: A Challenge Not Insanity. The Hudson Press. pp. 188–189. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Courtney Love's mom denies paper's story". USA Today. 2003-08-24. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Jon Spayde (May 2012). "The Same Old Argument". Experience Life. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Linda Carroll children and grandchildren
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