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Heartbreaking Facts About Whitney Houston, The Tragic Queen Of Pop

Heartbreaking Facts About Whitney Houston, The Tragic Queen Of Pop

Whitney Houston was not only a great singer but also one of the most revered and successful pop artists of all time. Houston was famous and loved by fans, but behind the scenes, her life was filled with heartbreak and scandal, from her early years all the way up until her untimely passing. Here are heartbreaking facts about Whitney Houston, the Queen of Pop.

1. She Was Born For It

From the moment she was born, powerful musicians surrounded Whitney Houston. Not only was her mother, Cissy Houston, a gospel singer, but she was also first cousins with Dionne “I Say a Little Prayer” Warwick, and her godmother was Darlene Love. Aretha Franklin also served as her “honorary aunt.”

Little Whitney grew up hoping to become a teacher or a vet—but with that pedigree, a life in music was basically inevitable.

L. Busacca, Getty Images

2. She Was Always Getting Into Trouble

Houston was a diva straight out of the womb. She was a fussy baby who had the habit of kicking off her blanket when her parents tried to put her to bed. Her dad nicknamed her Nippy, after a mischievous cartoon character. As she grew up, this rebellious streak only intensified. Later, her pastor nicknamed her “Illegal”—because if anything was against the rules, she’d find a way to do it.Screenshot of Whitney Houston with her father - from Whitney: Can I Be Me - 2017Passion Pictures, Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

3. Turmoil Plagued Their Home

Whitney Houston was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. However, when she was just four years old, her family suddenly left the once-sleepy town. In 1967, riots broke out in Newark after law enforcement injured a local cab driver while detaining him. A march followed, but so did looting and destruction. In the end, 16 local residents had died and the brutality had injured over 350 more.

The Houston family quickly packed their bags and moved to East Orange, where Whitney grew up.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston wearing black and white jacket is looking at side - from Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)Passion Pictures, Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

4. She Got An Early Start

During her formative years, religion played a large part in Houston’s life. Church became her first creative outlet, offering an arena where she honed her skills—but she also spent a lot of time in an unlikely place for a young girl. When Houston would join her mother on tour, she’d spend her nights in nightclubs—even occasionally jumping onstage to sing with Cissy.

B&W Screenshot of Whitney Houston looking at side and smiling - from Whitney- Can I Be Me (2017)Passion Pictures, Whitney- Can I Be Me (2017)

5. She Learned From Them

It’s common knowledge that men sometimes lack chivalry in general, especially when it comes to how they talk about women they have courted. Growing up with two brothers, Houston used that inside knowledge to her advantage: “Then I’d think, ‘I wonder if Sheila knows they’re talking about her like this?’… ‘[saying] I had her the other night.’”

Houston gave potential suitors a tough time. She knew what they were like behind closed doors.Screenshot: Whitney Houston wearing grey shirt is laughing with parents next to her - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

6. She Got It From Him

Aside from unintentionally demonstrating how crude guys can be when talking about girls, Houston’s brothers also provided support during her career. Her older brother Michael wrote several songs for her 1995 album, Waiting to Exhale—but there was a dark side to their relationship. Michael admitted that he was the one to introduce Whitney to illicit substance use.

The two spent a lot of time hanging out as they grew up, and Whitney ended up partaking in all of the same activities he did.Whitney Houston wearing white dress is performing live - 1991PH2 Mark Kettenhofen , Novice7, Wikimedia Commons

7. She Found Her Real-Life Bodyguard

In 1980, while working as a camp counselor, Whitney Houston met a woman who would change her life. Robyn Crawford had a similar background. Her family had also left Newark for East Orange, and her parents were also separated. The two formed a close bond—sometimes so close that rumors circulated about them—that would last for the rest of Houston’s life, with Crawford often acting as the singer’s protector.Robyn Crawford in white jacket - left, and American singer Whitney Houston in blue dress seating on the table, circa 1988.Dave Hogan. Getty Images

8. He Knew She Was Special

Houston spent the early 80s struggling to get attention for her music—until one fateful night changed it all. An A&R rep who had heard Houston convinced his boss, Arista Records head Clive Davis, to see her perform at a club. Before the night was over, he had offered her a worldwide recording contract. It was like a fairy tale—except, as we all know, there was no happy ending.s_bukley, Shutterstock

9. They Couldn’t Hold Her Back

Critics praised her debut album, Whitney Houston, which produced a handful of hits—but still, as a black artist, Houston had to fight against the music industry’s invisible barriers. She had sent MTV the video for one of her first singles, but they refused to play it. Well, the joke was on them—Houston’s next few singles were so huge that MTV was forced to put them into rotation.

As she put it, “[they] had no choice but to play [the video] and I love it when they have no choice.”

Whitney Houston - his first album, released in February 1985Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74, Shutterstock

10. She Had A Passionate Affair

An elite crew of accomplished musicians and producers had been assembled to help Whitney make her debut album—but behind the scenes, she was mixing business with pleasure. One of the more famous contributors was Jermaine Jackson (of the Jackson family). Jackson and Houston would work late together in the studio, and then one night, everything changed.

Whitney Houston in black dress is performing with Jermaine Jackson on stage - 1984Dave Hogan, Getty Images

11. He Left Her Behind

Houston and Jackson’s relationship went from platonic to romantic. There was just one problem: Jackson was married to another woman. Not only that—his wife was the daughter of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. It was not a great look for an up-and-coming R&B star. Regardless, they snuck around for months behind Jackson’s wife’s back. Ultimately, he refused to get a divorce—and Houston was utterly heartbroken by his choice.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking down with upset face - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

12. It Wasn’t Easy

Luckily, the best revenge is living well—and Houston certainly ticked that box. Her album rocketed to the top of the charts, set records, and earned her scores of awards. It’s hard to explain just what an impact Houston had on the music business. She paved the way for scores of other artists after her—but back then, even though she’d left a trail of hits, she still had to struggle against to be recognized and respected.Whitney Houston wearing black dress is performing at Wembley Arena - 1988David Corio, Getty Images

13. They Wouldn’t Leave Her Alone

With fame comes scrutiny, and the tabloids were utterly merciless with Houston. They constantly speculated on her personal life, even insinuating that she was in a romantic relationship with her friend Robyn Crawford. Of course, in the same breath, they would also link her to famous men like NFL player Randall Cunningham and TV host Arsenio Hall—but they were off by a mile.

Arsenio Hall wearing purple shirt and tie is pointing and smiling at side - 2012Joe Seer, Shutterstock

14. They Played With The Tabloids

For years, there had been rumors about Houston and comedian Eddie Murphy. Neither ever confirmed that they were dating, but they did certainly seem to egg the gossip on. At Houston’s 26th birthday party, Murphy presented her with a 5.5-karat diamond ring. Houston did her bit too—in an interview with Ebony magazine, she claimed they were just friends, only to joke about dating him seconds later.

However, they would soon put those rumors to bed.

Whitney Houston in black dress and Eddie Murphy in black suit are talking and looking at side - 1989Ron Galella, Ltd., Getty Images

15. She Couldn’t Win

Unsurprisingly, Houston’s second album was a huge hit—but she immediately faced brutal backlash. Fans and critics accused her of “selling out” to white audiences, and it culminated in a cruel incident at the 1989 Soul Train Awards. She was up for an award, and when the presenter read her name aloud, many in the audience loudly booed her.

Houston was hurt by the incident, but that wasn’t the only momentous occasion that night.CD cover of the second album of Whitney Houston -1987.Stefano Chiacchiarini ’74, Shutterstock

16. He Had a Checkered Past

It was at the same awards ceremony that Houston met R&B singer Bobby Brown. She fell hard and the two immediately began a whirlwind romance, but Brown had a disturbing and dark past. He’d been involved with gangs, had once been shot, and had already had three kids by the time he was 22. And that wasn’t all…

Whitney Houston wearing white dress is performing live - 1991

17. She Was The Other Woman

Houston didn’t know it, but when she was dating Brown, he was hiding a chilling secret. He was already in a relationship. Her name was Kim Ward and she was the mother of one of his children. Ward was two months pregnant with another one of his kids when she looked at the news one day and got the shock of a lifetime—Brown and Houston were engaged. Ward had no idea. The two broke up soon after, leaving Brown free to continue his relationship with Houston.

Screenshot of Bobby Brown is looking at camera with sad face - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

18. He Tried To Stop Them

Just before Whitney Houston got married to Bobby Brown, one of her closest friends called her to make a dire plea. The day of the wedding, Eddie Murphy called Houston and begged her not to go through with it. Whether it was because he feared he’d missed the boat with her or he just though Brown was a loser, we’ll never know—but either way, Houston ignored him and went ahead with the marriage.Eddie Murphy wearing white shirt and black suit is looking at camera and smiling - 2016Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

18. She Wasn’t As Innocent As She Looked

Brown may have seemed like the bad boy in the relationship, with Houston as his squeaky-clean counterpart—but she had a dark side of her own. In his tell-all memoir, Brown revealed that on the day of their wedding, he checked in with Houston, only to find her doing lines in the room she was getting ready in. It was a shocking start to a union that would be tumultuous, to say the least.Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown are showing their wedding rings - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

19. She Branched Out

With an unstoppable career and a high-profile marriage to match, Whitney Houston was in heavy demand. There had been film offers in her past, but she rejected each one until she was offered the lead role in The Bodyguard. With a talented cast and crew, a powerful soundtrack, and lots of hype, the movie was going to be a sure-fire hit—but that didn’t mean the road would be easy for Houston.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston with colorful earrings is singing - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

20. It Didn’t Go As Planned

Houston was advised not to take acting lessons for The Bodyguard by director Mick Jackson, since he wanted a natural performance—but his plan totally backfired. Apparently, test audiences felt the performance was downright flat and Jackson was forced to admit that Houston and co-star Kevin Costner had “no chemistry.” Jackson’s remedy was to cut some of Houston’s longer speaking parts and add more close-ups of her face—and that wasn’t the only cutting her did.Screenshot of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner talking outside - from The Bodyguard (1992)Warner Bros., The Bodyguard (1992)

21. They Tried To Whitewash Her

While Houston was a pop princess, there were worries that the interracial relationship in the film between Houston and Kevin Costner’s characters would turn away audiences—so they took drastic measures to downplay it, practically leaving Houston out of the trailer. It was a controversial decision, and Houston commented it on it after the film’s release, saying: “People know who Whitney Houston is—I’m black. You can’t hide that fact.”

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is talking with Kevin Costner outside - from The Bodyguard (1992)Warner Bros., The Bodyguard (1992)

22. They Couldn’t Hold Her Back

Despite the controversy—and some bad reviews—The Bodyguard was a huge hit. Whitney was responsible in more ways than one, but so was another unlikely figure: Dolly Parton. The country singer had suggested her song “I Will Always Love You” to the producers of The Bodyguard, but never received confirmation Houston would sing her song for the film. Then, one day, she was driving when she heard Houston’s cover on the radio. Her reaction was astounding.

Whitney Houston wearing white dress is performing live - 1991

23. She Got The Stamp Of Approval

Many stars might not take it well if one of the biggest pop stars in the world totally overshadowed you with your own song, but Parton was, as always, totally gracious. She said of hearing the song for the first time: “That was one of the most overwhelming feelings I’ve ever had in my life. About anything.” The song broke all kinds of records, and is the best-selling song by a female artist of all time. Houston was on top of the world—but life is never without its ups and downs.Whitney Houston wearing black dress is looking at side and smiling - 2001Scott Gries, Getty Images

24. She Was Queen Of Pop

By 1993, Houston never worried about competition much, due to her place as one of the forerunners among women on the charts at the time. People debuting after her, like Mariah Carey, got compared to Houston, not the other way around. That dynamic wasn’t lost on the diva: “…everybody tries to follow. But I’ve been out here since 1985, so whoever comes got to come after me.” Mariah Carey wearing black jacket is performing live on stage - 1993Kevin.Mazur, Getty Images

25. Boxed In

By now I’m sure we’ve all picked up on the fact that fame has a price. More public adoration comes with more scrutiny and criticism. Amid all the dark things in her life, one of the criticisms Houston hated the most was that she lacked soul or “rhythm.” These allegations were partly due to Houston’s music, which some viewed as being simple pop. Some black radio stations also chose not to play her music.

Houston defended her rhythm, saying “How could I come from where I come from and be rhythmless.” Houston also hated the soul criticism since it fed into the idea that pop was the white person’s domain. She wasn’t scared to break barriers.Whitney Houston wearing white dress is performing live on stage looking at front - 2009Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

26. She Was Proud

Houston wasn’t naïve to the pressure and scrutiny she faced as a black celebrity in America. At the time of Houston’s emergence, music charts heavily favored rock music, thereby creating a more segregated chart. Some people embrace the color-blind narrative but Houston believed that part of white America wanted to see her with a white person. In a sense, marrying a black man was an act of defiance against what society expected, she knew “the union emphasized her blackness.”Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston wearing white suits are smiling and looking at camera - 1998Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock

27. He Didn’t Handle It Well

The Bodyguard was a turning point in Houston’s career, in terms of popularity and record sales, but that didn’t really sit well with her jealous husband. Bobby Brown didn’t have nearly as much clout and Houston believed that “something happens to a man when a woman has that much fame.” According to some reports, the tense dynamic exploded into horrific attacks.

Brown was allegedly abusive, and he did admit to having affairs over the course of their marriage—but that’s not all.Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, Kevin Costner with his wife Cindy Costner attendKypros, Getty Images

28. They Grew Their Family

Despite the difficulties that Houston’s success presented for the marriage, there was one shining bright side. In March of 1993, Houston gave birth to the couple’s daughter, who they named Bobbi Kristina Brown. Both Houston and Brown had yearned to start their own family, and they’d finally done it.

Whitney Houston with her new born, Bobbi-Kristina, sometime during the Bodyguard World Tour in 1993.Neno8403, Flickr

29. It Had Ups And Downs

Shortly after Bobbi Kristina’s birth, Houston began the physically and emotionally taxing rehearsals for her ambitious The Bodyguard World Tour. It was controversial from the start—tabloids reported that Houston had shown up late to the first night and been rude to a fan. Tabloids also reported that Houston had overdosed on diet pills.

The singer shot back by not only addressing the rumors on stage, but by suing the tabloid in question—and it didn’t stop there.

Whitney Houston is looking at side and singing - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

30. The Tour Was Grueling

As the tour went on, it was clear that it was taking its toll on Houston, until it culminated in a heartbreaking tragedy. Late in the tour, Houston announced that she was pregnant again—but just a few days later, she suffered a miscarriage, forcing her to cancel a show. This sequence of triumph and loss soon became a bitter pattern in Houston’s life.Screenshot of Whitney Houston is getting ready for live performance on stage - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

31. She Had A Stalker

Obsessed fans almost seem like a rite of passage for stars. One persistent fan would call Houston’s office repeatedly, just to make sure Houston didn’t forget he was her “soul brother.” Persistence pays off in rom-coms, but in this case, it resulted in handcuffs for the fan. That’s when law enforcement made a disturbing discovery: they found that he owned two rifles, a pistol, knives and a crossbow.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking at side with upset face - from The Bodyguard (1992)Warner Bros., The Bodyguard (1992)

32. Things Were Looking Up

Throughout the mid-90s, Houston cemented her status as an A-list star with more hits and more critically-acclaimed performances in films like Waiting to Exhale. In 1996, Houston got pregnant again, and made a heartbreaking confession to People magazine, saying that she dreaded another miscarriage. “My greatest fear is I’ll lose this baby and be told I can never get pregnant again,” Houston said. “I have nightmares about it.”

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking at side and smiling - from Waiting to Exhale (1995)Twentieth Century Fox, Waiting to Exhale (1995)

33. She Couldn’t Fulfill One Dream

Houston had just appeared in another movie and performed at its premiere. She was planning to take some time off and enjoy her pregnancy when tragedy struck yet again. Sadly, just weeks after she gave the interview to People, Houston’s darkest fears came true, and she had another miscarriage. Houston was left heartbroken yet again.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking down with sad face - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

34. They Were Opposites

Just because Houston and Brown had been attempting to grow their family didn’t mean that Brown wasn’t getting into trouble on the side. While Houston was appearing in wholesome fare like The Preacher’s Wife, Brown’s name was getting splashed across the papers for his run-ins with the law, including a driving under the influence charge that resulted in a short stint in prison. Over the years, he didn’t exactly reform himself, either…Screenshot of Whitney Houston is smiling and answering questions - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

35. She Was Producing Hits Like Never Before

Despite her personal struggles, Whitney Houston experienced great career success in the late 90s. She had begun to work on few new tracks for a greatest hits album, but the sessions were so fruitful that she ended up coming up with an entire new album, My Love Is Your Love, which was packed with hits. An actual Greatest Hits compilation followed.

As the year 2000 approached, things were looking up—but the next decade would be utterly brutal for Houston. Collection of covers and cd inserts of Whitney Houston albums - 2019Kraft74, Shutterstock

36. They Came Down Hard

It all began on the 1999 tour for her album My Love Is Your Love. Houston was frequently late to start the concerts, and behind the scenes, her behavior grew increasingly more bizarre by the day. The tabloids descended like vultures, speculating on Houston’s substance use and troubled marriage. She was even detained by law enforcement after security officers found a small bag of pot on her at an airport in 2000, although she was later released.

It was the beginning of a long period of negative attention that she wouldn’t be able to shake.Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking at side and talking - from Waiting To Exhale (1995)Twentieth Century Fox, Waiting To Exhale (1995)

37. She Wanted To Slow Down

Once a star has conquered the world, in terms of their popularity and sales, sometimes all they want to do is live a simple life. In a 2002 interview, an interviewer asked Houston where she envisioned herself in 2012. Houston didn’t mention anything business-related, saying all that she wanted was a slower life where she could spend time with her daughter.

Whitney Houston in grey dress performingAsterio Tecson, CC BY-SA 2.0 ,Wikimedia Commons

38. She Was The Only One He Recognized

Houston and husband Bobby Brown once met the Dali Lama in the mid-2000s. By 2000, Houston was an A-list star while Brown was for lack of a better word, washed up. He had begun with an R&B group called New Edition and had a solo career as well, but his last Top 40 hit had been in 1992. Additionally, his songs didn’t quite achieve the same level of adoration that many of Houston’s did.

When the couple met the Dalai Lama in 2004, he recognized Houston, but Bobby Brown had to explain that he was her husband, since his own career hadn’t given him enough clout. Ouch.

Dalai Lama at Vancouver - 2009kris krüg, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

39. There Was Always Something For Them To Target

Among the more persistent rumors that the media spread about Houston, one that popped up time and time again had to do with her weight. They often assumed or proposed that Houston’s thin mid-2000s frame was a result of an eating disorder or substance use—but Houston shot back at them. In a 2002 interview, she argued that her thin frame was mainly a result of stress. Houston said that she had the habit of skipping meals when she had a bad day or week.

Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

40. The Temptation Was Real

During her career, Houston’s substance use went from occasional to addiction-level. It peaked during the mid-2000s and the paparazzi couldn’t help but notice that it was affecting every aspect of her life. Things would only get worse, but the substances weren’t the only problems in her life.Whitney Houston at the Soul Train Awards in black transparent shirt - 1998Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock

41. She Was In Denial

Houston denied her substance use issues, and she seemed to be equally in denial about Brown’s violent nature. However, law enforcement did respond to a 9-1-1 call in 2003 where they found Houston with a bruised cheek and cut lip. Brown was charged with misdemeanor battery and the couple later left court arm-in-arm. An anonymous friend of Houston probably described it best when she said they were “like Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”Pool, Getty Images

42. They Went The Reality Route

In 2005, Houston’s husband, Bobby Brown, began filming a reality TV series. Being Bobby Brown was released in 2005—and it captured the shocking dark side of their marriage. During this period, both were involved in substance use and quarreled often on camera. The show got good ratings initially, but Houston understandably shied away from the camera.

Once she refused to appear in the partially-filmed second season, the network brought it to an end. During an Oprah interview, Houston was quick to agree that the show was a “trainwreck.”Screenshot of Whitney Houston wearing orange shirt is talking - from Whitney (2018).Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

43. They Showed Everything

While it was still on the air, Being Bobby Brown laid bare the ups and downs—particularly the downs—of the relationship between Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown. Audiences marveled at seeing the visceral truth of the A-lister’s day to day life, with critics calling it “undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television.”Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown wearing black clothes are smiling in front of a camera - 1998Featureflash Photo Agency, Shutterstock

44. The Loss Destroyed Her

Houston’s emotional turmoil was sadly on display in the series—but she had good reason to be heartbroken. The singer had always been close to her parents, and in 2003, her father John Houston Jr. passed on at the age of 82. Houston was devastated by the loss, and would frequently break down in tears on Being Bobby Brown if the subject came up.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston laying on the bed and talking - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

45. She Saw Them At Their Worst

Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina was a witness to some of her mother’s worst years of substance use, sometimes helping to take care of her mother during a time when her mother should have been taking care of her. An anonymous family remembers recalls visiting the Houston and Bobby, and having a preteen Bobbi Kristina answer the door, advising that Bobby Brown had to put Whitney to bed.

The room was covered in dirty clothes and dishes, and the family source could only describe it as “the bedroom of a junkie.”Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina wearing black dresses are looking at side and smiling - 2011s_bukley, Shutterstock

46. They Split For Good

Throughout their marriage, Houston and Brown’s struggles had always played out in public. Regardless, they had always presented a united front and made statements about their marriage being a work-in-progress. So, when Houston filed for divorce in late 2006, people were shocked. Both were individually fragile, but as a couple, they seemed unbreakable—yet it was clear that this time, Houston was capital-D done with Brown.

She even asked a judge to fast-track their divorce in 2007.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston wearing white shirt is talking - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

47. She Finally Got Out

That year, the courts finalized Houston’s divorce from Brown and gave her custody of Bobbi Kristina. She even avoided having to pay his spousal support. After the darkness of the past decade, it seemed like Houston was determined to turn over a new leaf—but it wasn’t meant to be.Whitney Houston performing outside in grey shirt - 2009.Asterio Tecson, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

48. She Let It All Out

At this point, Houston hadn’t done in interview in years, but in 2009, she finally sat down with Oprah and revealed all the dark secrets and nitty-gritty details about what she’d been going through. Houston confessed to having a problem with substance use, saying that it had begun years earlier before becoming a daily part of her life, resulting in a stint in rehab.

Houston went on to say that she was clean and was taking her sobriety one day at a time, stating she still had the desire to return to illicit substances. Unfortunately, what happened later made it clear that the temptation was too much for her.Screenshot of Whitney Houston is looking at side with sad face - from The Oprah ShowHarpo Studios, The Oprah Show

49. It Was A Horrifying Scene

One of Houston’s rehab stays had happened at her mother’s behest after a disturbing incident at the Houston home. Cissy Houston tried to visit her daughter one day, only to find, in her words, “”Somebody had spray-painted the walls and door with big glaring eyes and strange faces. Evil eyes, staring out like a threat…In another room, there was a big framed photo of [Whitney]—but someone had cut [her] head out.”

Cissy Houston was so terrified that she called law enforcement and got a court order that forced Houston to enter rehab.

Screenshot of Cissy Houston is seating and looking at side - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

50. She Tried Hard To Stay Clean

Houston returned to her career, but after some shaky performances and a tour marked by multiple cancelations, she admitted that her problem was still ongoing and voluntarily entered rehab again. It was a last-ditch effort to get her to clean up—but sadly, it wasn’t enough.

Whitney Houston FactsWikimedia Commons, Luca Viscardi

51. She Didn’t Make It

On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston was found unconscious in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Paramedics attempted to revive her for 20 minutes, to no avail. Houston passed on at the age of 48, and nearly immediately, the world mourned.James Devaney , Getty Images

52. Some Found It Unsavory

That night, Houston was supposed to appear at a pre-Grammy Awards party hosted by the man who had discovered her, Clive Davis. Instead of canceling the fete, Davis went on with the show, and many spent the evening celebrating Houston’s life—however, there was a dark side to this decision. The party took place in the same hotel where Houston had passed, and her body was still in the building.

Many wound up publicly condemning Davis for not canceling that evening.Clive Davis wearing coat is looking and smiling at camera - 2014Debby Wong, Shutterstock

53. The Show Must Go On

Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown took something of a similar route. He spent the day grieving his ex-wife, but also appeared at a scheduled performance that night. Fans reported that he blew a kiss to the sky and proclaimed “I love you, Whitney,” during the show.

Whitney Houston wearing white dress is performing live - 1991

54. It Was Accidental

After announcing the news, law enforcement stated that they did not believe foul play was a factor in Houston’s passing. One month later, an autopsy confirmed this when doctors deemed it accidental. They found the cause to be drowning, as well as the combined effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and substance use.Flowers after Whitney HoustonSimeon87, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

55. It Took Everything From Her

By the end of Houston’s career, fans and those close to her noticed that her voice wasn’t the same. The coroner’s report revealed that Houston had mild emphysema, an inflammation of the lungs, and it appears that Houston’s smoking contributed to it. Sadly, even after law enforcement wrapped up the details on her passing, Houston still could not stay out of the news…Whitney Houston in white jacket is performing live on stage - 2010Egghead06, CC BY 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

56. The World Mourned

Soon after, the Houston family planned a massive memorial for Whitney. Her The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner spoke, and many of her close friends performed musical tributes. A visibly distraught Bobby Brown appeared, only to leave soon after the service began.Simeon87, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

57. She Was All Alone

The news of Houston’s passing broke the hearts of her friends and family—and the effect on her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was absolutely devastating. After days of grieving “inconsolably,” it got so bad that family members took her to a nearby hospital. Following the loss of her mother, Bobbi Kristina moved in with an aunt and uncle.Bobbi Kristina Brown wearing black dress is smiling and looking down - 2012Jaguar PS, Shutterstock

58. Horrific Stories Popped Up

Shortly after Houston’s passing in February 2012, the Twittersphere was host to a chilling dark rumor about Bobby Brown. According to the rumor, Brown had taken his own life, marking his exit from the mortal coil with a note that read “Two can play at that game.” Of course, the rumor wasn’t true—but the controversy over Houston’s passing didn’t end there.

Bobby Brown wearing black leather jacket and black hat is looking at side - 2018Sister Circle Live, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

59. She Had A Final Flame

In her final years, Houston was rumored to have been dating Ray J, the younger brother of her friend and collaborator Brandy. Significantly, he is probably most known for an intimate video he made with his then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian in 2003. He ended up being one of the first people on the scene at the hotel where Houston passed, and was said to have been devastated by the loss.

Whitney Houston and Ray-J are looking and smiling at camera - 2019John Gichigi, Getty Images

60. She Revealed Her Thoughts

Whitney Houston lived in a rental home in California during a period in 2011, and after her passing, a former landlord found a bible she left behind. Aside from the word of the almighty, the Bible also featured Houston’s notes. They ranged in topic from her ex to her daughter. The Bible was found on June 7 and went to sell at auction through the Moment in Time auction house, with a starting price of $95,000.

Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

61. She Invaded Their Privacy

Back in 2006, Bobby Brown’s sister, Tina, released pictures she’d taken of Houston’s home when she’d been in the worst stages of her substance use. The gruesome photos showed disgusting negligence and rotting food, beer cans, and smokes strewn all over. Tina Brown claimed that she published them in order to force Houston to get help—but she later regretted it.

Sadly, it wasn’t the only time that exploitative photos played a part in Houston’s life.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is talking and looking at side - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

62. They Showed The Setting Of Her Last Moments

Following Houston’s passing, tabloids published leaked photos of the hotel room where she’d spent the final hours of her life. The chilling photos paint a bleak picture. They show the tub where Houston drowned, wet debris from where paramedics attempted to revive her, and the remnants of the room service she had ordered, which inadvertently became her final meal.

It’s not known who leaked the photos, but they were likely part of the law enforcement investigation into her passing.

Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

63. It Was Insensitive

Surprisingly, the photo controversy didn’t stop there. In 2018, Kanye West paid $85,000 to use one of Tina Brown’s 2006 pictures for an album cover for Pusha T. Pusha T said they originally agreed on another image, but West changed it “around 1 AM” the night before the album was supposed to debut, May 30. Bobby Brown and the Houston estate were obviously not happy about it.

Bobby Brown said: “Something should happen to Kanye. He’s already crazy. I knew that when I first met him…He needs somebody to slap him up or something. And I’m just the person to do it.” West has yet to issue any apology or retraction.Kanye West wearing dark blue shirt is looking at side - 2013Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

64. The Pattern Repeated

Following the loss of her mother, Bobbi Kristina frequently made tabloid headlines for all the same reasons Houston had—substance use, unstable relationships, and dramatic weight loss. There was also a dispute about her relationship with a man named Nick Gordon, who she’d grown up with and had, according to rumors, married. Tragically, the eerie similarities to her mother’s troubles didn’t end there.

Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock

65. It Was Just Like Her Mother

On January 31, 2015, Bobbi Kristina’s friend and rumored partner Nick Gordon found her floating face down in a bathtub in her home. They called an ambulance and performed CPR, but the damage was done. She spent the next six months in and out of a coma before ultimately passing away at the age on 22 on July 26, 2015.Funeral services for Bobbi Kristina Brown - 2015Bobby Bank, Getty Images

66. She Suffered A Heartbreaking Loss

No one knew, but while making the hit 1992 film The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston was hiding a dark and painful secret. Houston was pregnant when she began working on the movie, but soon after, she suffered a miscarriage. Years later, she finally revealed what had transpired. Houston described the agony of showing up to set the next day after experiencing such a painful loss and having to act as if nothing had happened.

Whitney Houston FactsWikimedia Commons, John Mathew Smith

67. It Wasn’t Her

Kevin Costner recently revealed that the woman he is carrying on the movie poster for The Bodyguard wasn’t actually Whitney Houston, but her double. Following her miscarriage, Houston had left the set to rest, so Kevin Costner decided to shoot the picture with her double. He only told her to keep her face hidden, so she could show the fear that the character was experiencing. Costner himself then picked that photo for the movie poster.s_bukley, Shutterstock

68. She Was Hopeful

Just hours before Whitney Houston passed on, she called her longtime assistant Mary Jones and made a heartbreaking confession. Houston told Jones about her desire to get her life together and to get into heaven one day. Tragically, she passed soon after.

Screenshot of Mary Jones is talking at camera - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

69. They Were So Close

For years, there were whispers that Whitney Houston was in a lesbian relationship with her lifelong friend Robyn Crawford. Even Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown said that it was true, and that Crawford and Houston had an intimate bond. He said that they kept it quiet because they feared Cissy Houston’s disapproval. No one knew what to believe…until Crawford broke her silence.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is smiling and looking at side and Robyn Crawford - from Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)Passion Pictures, Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

70. The Truth Came Out

In 2019, Crawford finally revealed the truth about their relationship. Their friendship had turned into an intimate relationship at one point, but Houston feared for her career and ended the affair. They went back to being just friends. Crawford’s words about the tragic loss of her best friend are positively heartbreaking: “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.”

Whitney Houston with diamond earrings is smiling and looking at side - 2007Kathy Hutchins, Shutterstock

71. She Held A Painful Secret

The truth about her relationship with Crawford wasn’t the only thing that came out after Houston’s passing. Some of Houston’s friends and family members have recently alleged that an older cousin molested Houston when she was a child. Whitney’s half-brother and her former manager say that Houston told them about the molestation in private. Whitney’s half-brother alleges he was a victim of it as well.

The cousin’s name was Dee Dee Warwick. She was in her 20s when she allegedly abused her much-younger cousins. A 2018 documentary named Whitney finally made the allegations public. Warwick passed on in 2008, so we will never hear from her side.

Screenshot of Whitney Houston is smiling and looking at side - from Whitney (2018)Lightbox, Whitney (2018)

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