Whitney Houston’s life was a constant cycle of drug addiction, secret lesbian relationships, family dramas, and an ever-increasing scandal waiting to explode.
Iconic singer Whitney Houston took over the eighties with her powerful vocals and natural good looks which made her a living legend. Long after her passing, the irony of her life and death remains a topic of discussion as several pieces of the puzzle do not seem to fit.
From her supposed secret relationship with assistant and long-time friend Robyn Crawford to her alleged contract marriage to Bobby Brown that was plagued with infidelity, drug abuse, and domestic violence; the image of Houston, which surfaced after her death is a far cry from the legendary songstress the world came to love.
The contradictory versions of the singer in life and death have raised lots of questions, so much that many have settled for dabbing her with two distinct personalities: Whitney Houston the beloved singer, and Nippy the broken black woman.
Whitney Houston’s Early Life
The “I Will Always Love You” singer was born on August 9, 1963, to Cissy Houston and John Russell Houston. Her parents welcomed her in Newark, New Jersey, and wasted no time introducing her to the world of music.
Whitney Houston started as a youngster singing in the New Hope Baptist Church choir alongside her mom. As a teenager, she began performing with her mom professionally, in hopes of snagging a record deal.
After a brief modeling stint, Clive David of Arista Records discovered the songstress in a nightclub and signed her. She was nineteen at the time.
Shortly after, Houston made her television debut, singing on “The Merv Griffin Show,” in 1983. She and Davis spent the next two years working on her debut album, which sure enough, became a hit. She released three more albums before the nineties, with all of them topping the charts, and skyrocketing her to superstardom.
In the early nineties, Houston could easily pass for the most famous woman on the planet thanks to her vocal abilities and trailblazing success. As a consequence, she became increasingly plunged into a wave of drug abuse and media backlash.
One of her darkest moments came at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, where she was booed while receiving her award for best vocalist. The African-American majority castigated her for being “brown on the outside, and white on the inside,” alluding to her crossover music style that was somewhere between pop and R&B.
The public onslaught led her into the arms of R&B singer Bobby Brown that same night. Brown turned out to be a crucial part of her chaotic history, and perhaps, her nightmare.
Houston’s Life With Bobby Brown
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown ended up on the altar in July 1992, just as rumors of the songstress’ alleged secret lesbian affair began to swirl. Their marriage proved to be trouble in paradise, with Brown having several run-ins with the law.
After a series of arrests for battery, DUI, and drug possession, it didn’t take long for the world to link Houston’s drug use to her husband’s influence.
Not even the arrival of their daughter Kristina Brown a year later could stop the pair from spiraling further into substance abuse. Their marriage seemed to turn even more sour as the years progressed.
In addition to battling substance abuse, their marriage was always on the headlines for increasing incidents of erratic behaviors and infidelity on both sides. Houston also accused Brown of emotional abuse and domestic violence. Some of the ugliest details of their crumbling marriage were caught on camera, in the filming of the reality show, “Just Bobby Brown.”
Soon, those problems began seeping into Houston’s career, evident in last-minute concert cancellations and reduction in the quality of her voice.
Following a brow-raising interview with Sawyer in 2002, where she appeared unnaturally thin as she addressed “crack” and other controversies surrounding her life, fans became increasingly worried the star was on the verge of a breakdown.
Ultimately, Whitney Houston’s marriage to Brown ended in divorce in 2007.
The Hidden Love Story
Following Whitney Houston’s passing, her long-time friend and former assistant Robyn Crawford released a book, “A Song For You,” where she detailed her secret relationship with Whitney Houston.
Crawford’s book brought out another secret about Whitney Houston, which was her life as a lesbian, or perhaps, bisexual.
Houston and Crawford met as teenagers and instantly connected, forging the onset of a love story wrapped under the wings of friendship. The two women were unarguably friends and each other’s confidants. But hiding it from the world for decades that their relationship went beyond “platonic terms” was indeed a sad story. However, that was Houston’s reality.
Given her stardom, the “Bodyguard” actress, who spent years hiding her romance with her best friend, could not risk putting everything on the line. Hence, when it seemed the truth was about to go public, her marriage to Brown shut down the rumors.
Sadly, these secret lovers, who could not live out their romance, could hardly hide their love from Brown and other close acquaintances. Gay rights activist, Peter Tatchell recalled noticing the love and intimacy between the women the first time he encountered them. That led him to the conclusion that Houston’s marriage was “strictly a business arrangement.”
David Roberts, the singer’s former bodyguard once revealed that Crawford and Brown always hated each other. He attributed their rivalry to their constant contest for Houston’s affection.
In 2000, Crawford quit her job as the icon’s assistant, eventually settling down with wife, Lisa. As the years went by, the star grew more dependent on drugs to fill the vacuum created by her best friend’s departure. Meanwhile, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s marriage crawled on for the next seven years.
Untold Truth About Houston’s Childhood
Many schools of thought have labeled Bobby Brown as the “bad guy” in Witney Houston’s tragic life. However, shocking details revealed in the documentary “Can I Be Me, ” released after the actress’ death suggests otherwise.
The documentary dabbled into the legend’s rough childhood, where she and her half-brother Gary Houston, were abused as children. The perpetrator was their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, sister to actress Dionne Warwick.
The heartbreaking ordeal, which began at the young age of two, took a drastic toll on Houston in her adulthood.
Then there was her introduction to drugs as a teenager. Contrary to speculations that Brown influenced the vocalist’s incessant use of crack and cocaine, Whitney’s brother Michael admitted he and Gary introduced her to drugs until it got out of hand.
Somehow, these, among other encounters, drove the star to the brink. Coupled with the pressure of her early brush with fame, which availed her the resources to fund her vices, she became unstoppable.
After 48 tragic years on earth, plagued with scandal, heartbreaking experiences, and fame, Houston met her tragic end.
Whitney Houston died on February 11, 2012, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, a day before the Grammy Award Show. Her assistant discovered her lying face-down in the bathtub a day before the Grammy Awards.
The Los Angeles County Coroner office released a report a month later, disclosing her cause of death as accidental drowning. According to the reports, a significant amount of cocaine was found in her system. By implication, the effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use were major contributors to Houston’s death.
With her passing, the world lost a legend, and one of the most beautiful singers to walk the earth.