Whenever the name Whitney Houston is mentioned, all that comes to mind is her magical voice. It is wonder why she previously received over 400 awards in her entire career. By the age of 48, she had been named the person with the most awards. Some of the most prestigious awards ever won were her 7 Grammy Awards, 22 American Music Awards, 31 Billboard Awards, 1 Emmy Awards, amongst many others. She even won a Guinness World Records.
Despite the many challenges that she faced in her personal life, she was still a darling to many. She was born on August 9th, 1963, in the city of Newark, New Jersey. She was raised as the only girl in a family of three. Whitney came from a musical family as her mother, her cousin's and "godmother" were also highly talented, though they never made it as far.
Her passing came as a shock to the world, as the public knew little about the circumstance, and the struggles she was dealing with in her personal life. In a documentary called "Can I Be Me," which is going to premiere this week at The Tribeca Film Festival, it follows the life of Whitney Houston and those closest to her, in an attempt to find out what really happened.
It’s hard to believe that she would leave this earth at such a young age (48) while her career was still doing exceptionally well and her daughter was also becoming a successful young lady. Let’s uncover some of the things we know about her.
15 Whitney "Nippy" Elizabeth Houston
Little is known about her brothers and father. As we wait to watch the documentary, we also anticipate seeing what the Houston brothers had to say about their sister. Whitney’s dad, John Russell Houston, passed away in 2003. He served in the army as a serviceman and later went ahead to join the entertainment world as an executive.
They gave Whitney the nickname Nippy, which she used as her company name, later on, Nippy Inc. Whitney Houston's younger brother, Michael, is a musician, while her older brother, Gary Garland, played basketball for the Denver Nuggets. Michael and Whitney had a close relationship growing up. He shared a lot of childhood memories of teaching her how to drive and playing together while enjoying each other's company.
It is through him that Whitney got introduced to the dark life.
During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Michael shared a lot in regards to his sister and how he felt responsible for what had transpired. He said, "I feel responsible, I let it go so far."
It all started as something they enjoyed doing together but, little did they know, it would get out of hand. After his exit from football, Gary went ahead and joined her sister in the music industry. He went on to perform, on several occasions, with her as her background singer and vocalist.
14 Her First Love Was For Modeling
Before her debut as a musician, Whitney Houston started her career as a model. With her natural beauty and standing at a height of 5’8, her gorgeous shape was a perfect fit for the modeling industry. She was more interested in modeling than singing at the time before she started singing professionally.
One editor from the Bridal Guide had a sweet thing to share on her blog concerning Whitney. She shared a whole blog page on her site as a remembrance to Whitney. As a fashion editor with Seventeen Magazine and Fashion Director YM Magazine, Diane Forden said she had the pleasure to interact with Whitney on numerous occasions. “She was sweet delightful, a wonderful person, and all of us who worked with her loved her.” She said. Most of the time they had an opportunity to shoot, they always said “Let’s book Whitney” “See if Whitney is available” “Whitney would be great for this story.” They would always say to each other.
She was a kind soul and was always easy to work with. She was never the one to murmur and was a professional at all times. They didn’t even know she was a musician as she never spoke about it. They didn’t even know about her as Aretha Franklin's Goddaughter.
13 Then, She Became An Onscreen Face
Whitney was known by her voice and people did not recognize her as an actress even after playing various roles in Hollywood movies. Just before her passing, she was about to debut the movie Sparkle, starring herself amongst other amazing characters. It would have been a comeback for her in the movie industry. It’s a surprise that she never took on a lot of acting scenes, considering her charming personality and amazing voice.
Whitney Houston's first role was when she was only 21 years of age.
She was a guest star at "Gimmie A Break," in 1984. She acted as Rita, in the NBC Sitcom. However, the show only lasted one episode. Her big break came about when she was called to star in the movie The Bodyguard. She played the famous singer Rachael Marron, who was a love interest to one of the star’s Kevin Coaster. The movie became a major blockbuster hit and she bragged that one of the most famous songs was part of it. The Warner Brothers are in the process of remaking the movie due to it remaining a famous movie even after years of making it. In 1996, she was featured in a movie Preacher’s Wife, Saturday Night Live, and Cinderella (1997.)
12 Whitney Houston's Personal Life Wasn't Glamorous
From the documentary, we get to learn that Whitney never got a chance to fully express herself as she would have liked. Becoming a celebrity at a young age, and having to deal with the pressures that came with it, not to forget the relationship she had to keep a secret, and a recording company that wanted her to portray a specific image. She didn’t get to be the person she had hoped to be. Having to hide your real identity can be hard and it can only happen for so long before it comes crushing.
Being the most famous and successful financially, it meant she felt the need to take on the brunt of the responsibility of taking care of the whole family, her friends, her friend's friends and maintaining her own lifestyle. This pushed her to constantly work extra to keep up with her lavish lifestyle and those she was supporting. However, her mom did not approve of her relationships. This brought about friction between the two of them.
In an interview with Daybreak, in 2013, she admitted to saying her daughter’s life would have taken a different turn had she not met Bobby Brown. She shares, in her book Remembering Whitney, that she wants people to remember Whitney Houston as the singer and loving, caring person she was.
11 Her Past Was Darker Than Fans Knew
In the documentary, directed by Kevin Macdonald, it revealed that Whitney had been mishandled as a young girl. It's a tragic event, especially since it happened while her mother, Cissy, was on tour. sad because it happened at the hands of her own cousin, Dee Dee Warwick (sister of Dione Warwick,) when her mother, Cissy, was on tour.
Whitney was too ashamed to tell her mother about the events.
Her mother, Cissy, never knew about it until years later, after several documentaries brought it to light. Whitney shared her ordeal with her family’s assistant, Mary Jones. The assistant, Mary Jones, stated that, due to the inappropriate allegations, it affected Whitney's life and lead her down the dark path that she ultimately took. This was her way of not having to feel so much sorrow and pain that the events caused her. Jones revealed in the documentary, "It made me question my [...] preference." That’s what Whitney felt afterward.
Her older brother, Gary, also revealed that he had lived through the same ordeal in his early childhood and confirmed that his sister had also been a victim, just as Whitney Houston had said he'd been inappropriate with her too. The Houston's cousin never commented on the allegations.
10 Then, She Went On To Meet And Marry Bobby Brown
Everyone's heard the stories about New Edition's, Bobby Brown, and his turmoil relationship with Whitney Houston. The two wed on July 18, 1992, and separated in 2007 and finally, they later divorced. Bobby was and still is a singer, which is exactly how Bobby and Whitney met. In fact, when Whitney met Bobby Brown, she was already in a relationship with comedian-actor, Eddie Murphy.
But, Whitney was absolutely gaga over her new beau, Bobby Brown. Their relationship progressed quickly and later, they welcomed Whitney's only child. Bobby placed a lot of blame about Whitney's passing on himself and her family. There was a lot said and sadly, most of it was untrue, according to the documentary. Fans around the world learned that Bobby Brown was not responsible for the life Whitney Houston lived, despite the scandalous relationship that they had. In fact, Bobby Brown even kept Whitney's sexuality a secret and came to her defense on many occasions.
Fortunately, not all is lost with Bobby Brown. The star shared his insight on what exactly caused the singer to pass away. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, he said “I don’t think she died of [...] No, not at all. She was really working hard on herself to try to be a sober person and, um [pauses] she was a great woman.” His view about her death is that she passed away of a broken heart. If she only voiced her thoughts and emotions back when the world was listening.
9 But, She Remained In A Close Relationship With Robyn Crawford
Robyn Crawford was Whitney Houston's longtime friend and assistant for roughly 20 years, before quitting her career with the famed star. Rumor has it that she was in a secretive relationship with the singer. Whitney’s mother never approved of their friendship and romance, which is probably why the pair stopped their longtime relationship so abruptly.
Those who spent a lot of time with the musician, the stylist, and her security personnel confirmed they were in a relationship together.
Her friends tended to agree that if she came out her sexuality, she would still be alive. Though we cannot confirm or deny this would take place, it seems even her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, concurred her life would have been spared had she been able to come out about it.
Most of her friends believe that the relationship that she had with Robyn was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. In the years they were together, she was at the most successful and accomplished part of her career. Robyn was Whitney's safe haven and Robyn allowed Whitney to be herself. But, of course, with Bobby Brown's shady past, it came as no surprise that there were a lot of quarrels and fights between him and Robyn. Both shared feelings and affections for Whitney and caused rifts between them. Robyn moved on with her life where she later got married and had kids of her own. She did not want to be involved in the documentary making.
8 Whitney Began Spiraling Out Of Control
Despite the many rumors that her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, was the one who introduced her to the variety of street substances, it was her brother, Michael, who finally revealed that he was the first person to introduce them to the megastar. The brother-sister duo didn’t know that taking and using these substances was not something to joke around, and soon, they were hooked.
Michael also became hooked on the substances. After Whitney tragically passed away, he went back to his dark ways, in an attempt to deal with the loss. As per when the interview was conducted, Michael had been able to remain clean for a few months. The many challenges that went on in her personal life drove her to this life.
There came a time when Cissy went to visit Whitney in her home, in Atlanta, after receiving a disturbing call from her older son, Gary, that Whitney was in trouble. Upon opening the door, what she saw left her completely shocked.
Cissy shared in her memoir, “They were evil eyes, staring out like a threat. And in another room, there was a big, framed photo of Nippy, Bobby and Krissi, but someone had cut Nippy’s head right out of it.” When she saw her daughter “she appeared like someone I didn’t know.” She shared with People Magazine,” I knew my daughter was in grave danger
7 Later, She Had Her Pride And Joy, Bobbi Kristina
Then came Bobbi Kristina. She's the only child of the famed superstar and her husband, Bobby Brown, but she is not Brown's only child. A lot of information came to light when Whitney sadly passed away, and the world only had eyes for the only heir to Whitney Houston's legacy. Everyone focused on what she wore, who she dated, what she was up and what had been said.
Though, having being born in a family of famous parents came its own challenges. She was lucky to walk the red carpets, be on live primetime shows with her mom, and also had the opportunity to tour with her mom and dad. The darling little girl the world watched grow into the young adult she had become, was only 18 years when her mom passed away. Unfortunately, Bobbi Kristina was with Whitney Houston at the time of Whitney's passing, in the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Whitney was confirmed deceased. Bobbi Kristina was later hospitalized that same day for having a complete meltdown, that same day. Doctors ran tests for stress and anxiety.
Bobby Kristina had to live through the publicity fiasco with every situation and paparazzi that followed the Houston household and was exposed to more substances than the average child.
However, Bobbi Kristina had denied, on several occasions, to not using any kinds of substances that paralleled to her mother's habits, after certain outbursts on social media. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, BK stated that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footstep for to sing and dance. This, in fact, did not happen as her life took the same unfortunate terms as her mother's.
6 The Many Men That Came After Bobby Brown
When it comes to her dating life, we only know of Bobby Brown (and allegedly, Robyn Crawford.) But throughout her lifetime, she dated a few people, some were rumors but after the release of the documentary, a lot has come to light about her dating life.
Before there was Bobby, there was Eddie Murphy. Their relationship was made public by Clive Davis who reported the couple in his biography. They dated for quite some time before Bobby spotted Whitney. She started dating Bobby Brown before calling it quits with Eddie Murphy.
In his biography, Clive Davis also stated that the singer dated Jermaine Jackson, at which time he was living separately from his wife. Rumor had it that she also dated her longtime friend Robyn Crawford. The two spent a lot of time together but people were not able to confirm the relationship, especially after she got married to Bobby Brown. It is said the song "I Will Always Love You" was a dedication to Crawford.
Whitney Houston also dated a football player She dated a quarterback football player who goes by the name, QB Randall, but he wasn’t a match to her and called it quits soon after. Then, there was Alvin Jones, a southern pastor whom she reportedly started dating for a short time as well. However, not much information has been released on that relationship. But, at the time of her passing, Whitney Houston was reportedly dating singer Ray-J (also know as Kim K's leaked beau, and Brandy's younger brother.)
5 Her Heart Was On Display When She Performed
From a very young age, Whitney loved to perform. She would accompany her mom on tour and would not shy away from performing with her. She even went to the recording studios with her. What a childhood!
Before she could start performing professionally on her own, she sang as a backup singer for several artists.
Every time she went up on stage, she left the audience happy and fulfilled by her performance. She engaged them and allowed them to sing along. In 1984, she had her first big break and got a deal from Clive Davis and Arista Records.
Later on, she went on to be one of the greatest performers. Her performance at the Super Bowl in 1991. She sang the ‘The Star-spangled Banner’. Her version was incredible, so much so that the song was used as a fundraiser anthem for families from the Gulf War Soldiers. Her performance of ‘How Will I Know,’ at the MTV Awards, had given her the biggest break in televised performances. During the Grammy Awards, in 1986, she brought the house down with the song ‘The Greatest Love of All." This song propelled her to become an established singer in the industry, not just an upcoming singer.
4 Her Final Resting Place
Bobby Brown recently sought the services of Hollywood medium, Tyler Henry, to get closure over his daughter’s and ex-wife’s tragedies. The reading was exactly what Bobby Brown needed to move on and keep the past as the past.
Tyler Henry had this to say, "This woman was here and she transitioned another woman who passed away," "She is connecting hands with what looks like a child and she's coming through and she wants everybody to know that she helped her little girl when her little girl transitioned." He continued, "She's coming through and giving me this feeling of, I was there to hold her hand when she made her transition when she left. People would've felt her mother around when she passed away."
When Whitney connected with Tyler Henry, she confirmed that her issues of love caused her tragic ending. “It's heart, it's heart, a heart is fundamentally what she perceives as being the catalyst to her death. Just because the amount she would've used she'd done before. And so the feeling is like, if it didn't kill me then why would it kill me now? Unless there's something wrong with my ability to kind of process or metabolize this."
3 Peace At Last
Whitney tragically and suddenly passed away on February 11th, in a Beverly Hills hotel. She was found in a tub of water. The initial assumption was she later lost her life by drowning, but after investigations, it proved otherwise. Her toxicology reports revealed that she had a mixture of 12 substances in her system. Some of the illegal substances were the white powder, anti-anxiety medications, and a muscle relaxer. In her room, there were also a few bottles that ranged in percentage levels.
In the report, fans also learned that the singer had also had several plastic surgeries and had undergone an augmentation surgery. The brown wig she had was tightly secured on her head, which says it was not a wig but instead, a weave. She had been filled with many debts, from her longterm substance issues.
Whitney Houston also showed signs of milk Emphysema, which is the condition after smoking for so long.
It also had adverse effects on her voice, as it was discovered that her voice becoming hoarse and raspy, which explains why there was no new music coming out. It is believed that the tub water was very hot, and so Whitney Houston was left with minor burns on her face. A tragic end for such a promising woman.
2 A Special Tribute From Robyn Crawford
After leaving Whitney’s team in 2000, and staying out of the limelight for years, Robyn Crawford shared a heartwarming tribute to her dear friend. It is breathtaking as you read through and get to understand the power of friendships.
"She had peachy colored skin and she didn't look like anyone I'd ever met in East Orange, New Jersey. She was nothing like the Whitney Houston she became but at the same time, she was already there. She knew, and so did everyone around her."
"...Not long after I met her, she said, "Stick with me, and I'll take you around the world." She always knew where she was headed. She shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that's what made her tired."
"I have never spoken about her, until now. And she knew I wouldn't. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can't believe that I'm never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that's what I miss most, that's what I miss already."
"I'm trying not to think of the end. I'm trying not to listen to all the reports. All these people talking about [...] — well, a lot of people take [...], and they're still around. Whitney isn't, because you never know the way the wind blows. I just hope that she wasn't in pain and that she hadn't lost hope. She gave so much to so many people; I hope that she felt loved in return. She was the action, for such a long time. She's out of the action now. I hope she can finally rest."
1 Bobbi Kristina Brown Joined Her Mother Under Similar Circumstances
Bobbi Kristina was just a child when her mother tragically passed away. Though Bobbi Kristina felt she could never live up to her mother's expectations and greatness, the world mourned when the news broke that just a year later, Bobbi Kristina would also be found unresponsive in an eerily similar situation. Bobbi Kristina sadly lost her life at the age of 22, after being found unresponsive lying face down in a hotel bathtub.
A few painfully long months later, Bobby Brown made the ultimate decision to remove Bobbi Kristina from life support and let her go with ease and without pain. The cause of her passing is still in question, though many believe her boyfriend at the time, and longtime family friend, Nick Gordon was the one responsible for ending her young life.
As mentioned before, Bobby Brown sought out a Hollywood medium who said that Bobbi Kristina was greeted by Whitney Houston when she was found in the bathtub. Although we will never know what exactly happened, the case against Nick Gordon continues to be brought to light.
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