Whitney Houston lived a very public life, but the details of her private life were largely unknown until her death, Feb. 11. In the days since then, some of those close to her have revealed the lurid details of her decline.
Whatever the rumors were, they never overpowered her image as a superstar. Even in the depths of her crack-ravaged period, there always seemed to be a feeling that Whitney would work through it, pull herself together and resume her stellar career. After all, she was only 48 when she died.
Check out two key interviews in Whitney’s life.
In the last days of her life, she clearly had fallen off the wagon and was deep into drugs and alcohol again. It was visible in the photos that emerged of her out partying until all hours of the night leading up to the Grammy Awards last weekend.
After she died, presumably from a fatal combination of prescription drugs, alcohol and possibly cocaine, she was still looking forward to a comeback. As her mentor, Clive Davis, recalled at her service:
“She looked at me and quietly said, ‘I want you to know I’m getting in shape. I’m swimming an hour or two a day. And I’m committed to get my high notes back. No cigarettes, plenty of vocal exercising. Clive, I’ll be ready by August.'”
Her downward spiral could be traced to the contradictions in her life, according to those who knew her. She was viewed as the sweet, church-going girl, but she recoiled at the image. “I’m nobody’s angel,” she once said. “I can get down and dirty.”
“People thought they had to protect her. She hated that. She was always the one doing the driving. Nobody kept Whitney from doing anything. She did what she wanted to do,” said her life-long friend, Robyn Crawford.
That included marrying Bobby Brown, an R&B singer, who had a tough upbringing in Boston and a bad reputation for drug use, criminal run-ins and abusive relationships with women. They wed in 1992.
Brown would later claim after their divorce in 2007 that he was force to compete for her affections because she was bisexual. It’s something she never admitted, but it may have been one of the conflicts in her life she could never reconcile.
Kevin Ammons, who dated Houston’s publicist, asserted in a book that Crawford and Houston had an affair. He claimed Robyn wanted to commit suicide when Houston told her she was going to marry Brown.
During her marriage, her downward spiral began. Al Bowman, Houston’s former chauffeur told London’s Daily Mirror that Brown and Houston would smoke crack in his car with Bobbi Kristina next to them.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes; here was Whitney Houston in the back of my limo smoking crack with her six or seven-year-old daughter sat next to her playing with a doll, it was heart-breaking, out of control,” he said. “Whitney would just say, ‘Baby, mommy and daddy are doing adult things,’ it wasn’t anything major to her.”
He also said he would drive her to rundown neighborhoods to buy crack and said Bobby and Whitney once had a threesome in the car with an unidentified A-List soul singer.
“It was tragic to see. Here was this glamorous superstar adored around the world, but in the back of my car she was a rambling drug addict, a complete train wreck,” he said.
“I’ve driven some big stars over the years, Michael [Jackson] and Janet Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, but Whitney was by far the worst behaved.
Houston gave a soul-bearing interview with Oprah Winfrey where she detailed the depths to which she had fallen.
Although her 2009 comeback album went platinum, her follow up European tour was a disaster. Houston shocked fans when she looked bloated, sweaty and puffy faced. What’s more, she could no longer hit the high notes that were her trademark.
The tour may have marked the beginning of a new downturn.
“Bobbi Kristina, Clive Davis, and members of Whitney’s closest advisers were urging her to go back to rehab because people close to her saw her downward spiral into drugs and alcohol,” a source told gossip site radaronline.
“It was extremely hard for Clive in particular to see Whitney under the influence again. He was absolutely powerless to stop her.”
Check out two major interviews in her life. In one with Diane Sawyer she is in denial. In another with Oprah in 2009, she tells a different story.