Whitney Houston’s tragic life – drug-fuelled wedding to sexuality heartache
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's divorce was finalised 14 years ago today on April 24, 2007.
The pair were the talk of the world when they got married on July 18, 1992, but their romance was plagued with infidelity, domestic violence, and drug use, according to Houston.
After the I Have Nothing singer died in 2012, Bobby remarried a few years later.
They met at the Soul Train Awards in 1989 and following the encounter, went on to have one hell of a rollercoaster of a romance with ups and downs.
Whitney invited Bobby to her 26th birthday party after meeting at the awards and shortly later they became an official couple.
Whitney died in 2012 and was tragically found unconscious and submerged in the bathtub in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
A coroner later ruled that the legendary singer died by drowning after being affected by atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.
Here's what reportedly went wrong for Houston and her dark secret family trauma.
Cocaine on wedding day
In 2017 Bobby released a book about his life named Every Little Step and made claims that he saw Whitney taking cocaine on their big day.
Bobby told in the memoir that he looked in on the pop singer before the ceremony and was "shocked" to witness her "hunched over a bureau snorting a line of coke".
In his book, he went on to claim that Whitney asked if he wanted some.
The star has been open in the past about taking drugs himself throughout his life and his relationship with Whitney but has always been adamant that he had nothing to do with Whitney's addiction issues.
"I smoked weed, I drank the beer, but no, I wasn't the one that got Whitney on drugs at all.
"It's just unexplainable how one could, you know, [claim that I] got her addicted to drugs," he penned in his book.
In 2018, Oscar award-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald uncovered one of Houston's tragic secrets when he deep-dived into her life to film his documentary Whitney.
The documentary was premiered at Cannes Film Festival of that year and revealed the childhood trauma the star had suffered.
Macdonald made it clear his intentions were to shift through family videos and private videos from Houston's life in a bid to focus on the positives of her life to lift the sad narrative which had surrounded her story.
However, he sadly discovered a much darker family secret.
"There was something very disturbed about her, because she was never comfortable in her own skin," Macdonald told Vanity Fair at the time.
"She seemed kind of asexual in a strange way. She was a beautiful woman, but she was never particularly sexy.
"I’ve seen and done some filming with people who have suffered childhood sexual abuse, and there was just something about her manner that was reminiscent to me of that sort of shrinking—a lack of comfort in her own physicality that felt, maybe that is what it was."
Macdonald wasn’t positive that his hunch was right—but "shortly after thinking that, someone did tell me off the record about being told by Whitney about being abused, and it being one of the central reasons behind her self-torture. It took awhile for anyone to go on record about it, and eventually the family did."
It then dropped in the documentary that Whitney that both Houston and her half-brother, Gary, were allegedly molested as children by their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, the sister of Dionne Warwick and the niece of Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston, who died in 2008.
Macdonald then managed to persuade Houston's close friend and longtime assistant to go on the record to share Houston's tragic story.
Mary recalled a conversation she had once with Houston in the documentary, Mary said: "[Houston] looked at me and said, 'Mary, I was molested at a young age too. But it wasn’t by a man—it was a woman'.
"She had tears in her eyes. She says, 'Mommy don’t know the things we went through.' I said, 'Have you ever told your mother?' She says, 'No.' I said, 'Well, maybe you need to tell her.'
"She said, 'No, my mother would hurt somebody if I told her who it was.' She just had tears rolling down her face, and I just hugged her. I said, 'One day when you get the nerve, you need to tell your mother. It will lift the burden off you.'"
The star never did speak publicly about the alleged abuse but she once made a point of saying child abuse is the thing that upsets her most.
On a red carpet once she was asked by a reporter during a press interview about what makes her most angry, in a palpable rage Houston quickly replied: "Child abuse makes me angry… I hate to see kids… it bothers me that children, who are helpless, who depend on adults for security and love, it just bothers me. It makes me angry."
Secret lesbian romance
The secrets surrounding Houston's love life was unearthed when documentary maker Mick Broomfield decided to search into what exactly killed her and published it in his film, Whitney: Can I Be Me.
He said: "In the end I think the divide between who she was and what her public persona was became more and more difficult. And she just went down, down, down."
In 2016 it was claimed and circulated that Houston was allegedly bisexual and reportedly had a secret lesbian romance with her friend and assistant, Robyn Crawford.
Robyn confirmed the romance in her 2019 memoir, writing: "We were friends. We were lovers. We were everything to each other. We weren’t falling in love. We just were."
She also told People: "We never talked about labels, like lesbian or gay. We just lived our lives and I hoped it could go on that way forever," before saying their romance ended "because it was the 80s" and it would be too difficult to be together.
It was also claimed that the reason she kept it quiet was to avoid upsetting her mum Cissy who once famously admitted she would not have been accepting if Houston was gay.
In an interview with Oprah, she was asked if she would have been bothered if her daughter was gay.
"Absolutely," Cissy said, as Oprah replied: "You would not have liked that?"
"Not at all," the mum responded.
Bobby also later addressed the rumours, admitting that he believed Whitney only married him to end the intense speculation about her and Robyn.
He told Handspike: "I think we got married for all the wrong reasons. Now, I realise Whitney had a different agenda than I did when we got married … I believe her agenda was to clean up her image, while mine was to be loved and have children."
Whitney and Bobby's daughter died
On January 31, 2015, Whitney and Bobby's daughter, Bobbi Brown was found face down in a bathtub in her home in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Brown died in hospice care on July 26, 2015, at the age of 22.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office announced on September 25, 2015, that it had "classified the cause and manner of Bobbi Kristina Brown's death", while citing a Superior Court order that prevented the office from releasing any details to the public.
The findings were provided to the Fulton County District Attorney and to Roswell Police.
On March 3, 2016, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk granted a motion, requested by local media, to unseal the autopsy report on Brown's death. In doing so, the judge noted that "13 months have gone by, and I don't think there is anything particularly earth-shattering in the report…Privacy interest does not exist to the deceased."
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The Medical Examiner's office stated it would release the report upon official receipt of the granted motion, and gave an initial statement on March 3, 2016.
The office indicated that it used both medical records and police investigative files to arrive at a determination.
According to the statement, "marijuana, alcohol (ethanol), benzoylecgonine (a cocaine-related substance), benzodiazepines (medications used for sedation or to treat anxiety), and morphine" were found in the body.
As to the cause of death, it found the "underlying cause" of death as "immersion associated with drug intoxication".
However, the manner of death could not be ascertained.
The summary statement read "Death was clearly not due to natural causes, but the medical examiner was not able to determine whether death was due to intentional or accidental causes, and therefore classified the manner of death as undetermined."
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