Another head-spinning week in the ongoing soap opera that is Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston.
First, Whitney enters drug rehab. Then Bobby gets sprung from jail. Earlier today comes word that the missus has made a fast getaway from rehab. And now Bobby is back behind bars.
Dizzy yet? Okay, we'll take it slow.
On Wednesday afternoon, a family court judge in Massachusetts tossed a bawling Brown in jail for 90 days after the former King of New Jack Swing said he couldn't come up with child support payments to an ex-girlfriend and mother of two of his kids.
Brown was released from a Georgia jail Monday so he could attend the emergency paternity hearing in suburban Boston.
A Beantown native, Brown was due in Norfolk County Probate and Family Court at 9 a.m. ET for a contempt of court hearing. His onetime lover, Kim Ward, says Brown owes $63,500 in child support to their two children, a 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son. (Brown and Houston have an 11-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.)
But Brown didn't show up until 12:45 p.m., a move that ticked off Judge Paula Carey. Then, when Brown told the judge that he couldn't come up with the money, Carey ordered him immediately taken to the county jail. He will spend the next 90 days behind bars unless he coughs up the cash.
The former New Edition star said he had no job and no income. He said he planned on releasing an album next month and was going to star in a movie but didn't have any ready money.
"I never wanted this to happen," he said.
His lawyers offered to pay $10,000 now, another $15,000 within 10 days and then negotiate the rest. Attorney Vincent Dimmock said Brown's income was "nowhere near" his late-'80s/early-'90s "My Prerogative" heyday.
Carey wasn't buying it, though, saying she didn't find it "credible" that Brown was broke and figured that maybe jail would help him get the payments in order.
Meanwhile, earlier Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported that Houston has exited an Atlanta-area drug-rehabilitation center just five days after checking herself in to deal with a substance abuse problem.
While Houston's publicist, Nancy Seltzer, was not available Wednesday to comment on the report, she is quoted in the Daily News saying nothing is amiss with Houston's hasty exit. "Miss Houston is continuing the prescribed treatment, as was planned," Seltzer told the newspaper. "Her movements are in total keeping with the program."
Seltzer declined to elaborate on Houston's outpatient status and also refused to reveal the whereabouts of the 40-year-old pop diva.
However, the Daily News quotes an unnamed source from the Houston camp saying the "I Get So Emotional" singer couldn't stand being cooped up in a facility and opted to work on getting clean in a rented location not far from her Atlanta home.
"Whitney got extremely upset and said she felt the walls were closing in on her," the source said.
Seltzer has refused to say exactly why Houston sought rehab, but Houston has spoken with Diane Sawyer about abusing alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and pills and was infamously busted in 2000 at a Hawaiian airport for a small stash of pot (the charge was eventually dropped after a drug counselor's report said Houston didn't need treatment for substance abuse).
Appearing on CBS' The Early Show Tuesday morning, Houston's spiritual advisor, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, said the Grammy winner was hooked on pharmaceuticals, not street drugs.
"When you've got the demands of the press and the demands of your public, you're trying to take a pill to stay up and one to lay down," Ben Israel said. "I think it's that kind of lifestyle."
Ben Israel, who brought Houston and Brown to visit African Hebrew Israelites last year, said Houston was in denial for a long time about her problem but agreed to seek help at the urging of her family.
"I think that with the support from the family and friends, you come to grips with these kinds of things and finally say, 'There must be something I need to do.' I think that's where we are," he added.
While we can't say for sure where Whitney is, we definitely know one place she was not--Bobby's paternity hearing. While she issued a statement saying she supported her husband, she declined to attend the festivities.
Brown, 35, had been serving a 60-day sentence in DeKalb County Jail in Georgia for violating his probation on a drunken driving charge. He was granted release three days early to attend to the Massachusetts matter.
"This is the last time you'll see me coming out of here or going in," Brown told Extra as he exited the jail. Brown told the syndicated show he planned on going to church and added, "If you can just do us a favor and let us live for a while and enjoy each other. Get some sobriety, you know. Enjoy your lives and we're going to enjoy ours."
His docket is far from empty, though. Aside from the Boston mess, Brown is due back in a Georgia courtroom on May 5 to answer to domestic battery charges after he allegedly hit Houston, leaving her with a cut lip and bruised cheek. Despite Whitney's pleas to authorities to let them work it out privately, Brown was charged. It's not immediately known whether Brown will be allowed to leave the Boston area to attend the May 5 preliminary hearing.
During his TV appearance, Ben Israel defended the R&B star.
"At 20 years old, he was a millionaire and married an icon, a musical icon. That kind of pressure brought about another kind of mental and spiritual change," he said. "I think again with those of us who love, we're trying to work both of them through the social issues, which many couples who are high profile experience.
"You must remember, married to Whitney Houston, it's got to be great, but it's got to be a lot of pressure."