Bobbi Kristina Brown's Legacy 2 Years Later: Checking in With Those Who Were Closest to Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown's Daughter

As the two-year anniversary of the death of Houston's only daughter approaches, a look at where her loved ones are now

By Natalie Finn Jan 31, 2017 1:00 PMTags

The sad case of what happened to Bobbi Kristina Brown remains a cold reminder of how fragile life is.

The only daughter of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her Atlanta townhouse on Jan. 31, 2015, having slipped under the water for reasons seemingly related to the mixture of alcohol, marijuana, morphine and other drugs found in her system.

She never regained consciousness and died on July 26, 2015, a little less than three and a half years after Houston accidentally drowned in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, having suffered heart disease linked to cocaine use.

While six weeks is more the norm, Bobbi Kristina's cause of death—pneumonia, brought on by drug intoxication and brain damage incurred from being immersed in water for too long—wasn't announced until March 4, 2016, as investigators combed over every detail in an attempt to connect the dots of the day she slipped away, still alive technically but unable to tell her story.

"I'm glad that s--t is all over," Nick Gordon told when the announcement was made on what also would have been Bobbi Kristina's 23rd birthday. "I just want to wish my girl a happy birthday."

Yet while we know what ailments officially caused her death, the manner of death—accidental or otherwise—remains an unanswered question.

Bobbi Kristina Brown's Life in Pics

Nick Gordon, Bobbi Kristina's longtime live-in boyfriend—whom she let people believe was her husband, though while she was in a coma it would come out that they weren't actually married—shared photos of them together just yesterday, a move seemingly sure to upset the rest of Bobbi Kristina's family, who is convinced he played some sort of role in her death.

"You're the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep," he tweeted. "I love&missyou RIH my angel."

In September, Gordon, who participated in a Dr. Phil intervention and went to rehab while Bobbi Kristina was in a coma and again after she died, was found legally responsible for her death, the result of a negligence lawsuit filed by the administrator of the aspiring singer's estate that was later joined by Bobby Brown and amended to be a wrongful-death suit. Bobbi Kristina had been Houston's sole heir upon her mom's death in 2012.

But even that doesn't mean exactly what it sounds like. A judge arrived at the decision by default after Gordon missed his second straight hearing in the proceedings and was found in contempt of court, thereby allowing the allegations—including that he abused Bobbi Kristina, was making unauthorized withdrawals from her bank account and plied her with a "toxic cocktail" before she fell unconscious—to be what's called "admitted by omission." As in, he never showed up to deny it and, while a lawyer initially denied the allegations on his behalf, no one was representing Gordon as of November 2015, per the Los Angeles Times.

AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool

Gordon was ordered in November to pay Bobbi Kristina's estate $36 million in damages. 

Brown had testified in court that his daughter had unlimited earning potential thanks to her talent and famous lineage.

"I am pleased with the outcome of today's court proceedings," the "My Prerogative" singer stated after damages were awarded, knowing that they were unlikely to actually see any money from Nick. "I do know that Mr. Gordon will be unable to slander my daughter's name in the future or obtain any benefits from the use of Krissy's name.

"Finally, I do need for the District Attorney's Office to step up and begin the criminal prosecution of Mr. Gordon. The delay in that matter is of great concern to me and my family. We need for District Attorney Howard to act now."

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Gordon and Bobbi Kristina had grown up together after he was taken in by Houston at a young age and raised like a member of the family, though he was never officially adopted. The story is that he and Bobbi Kristina became romantically involved after Houston died.

On Nov. 29, Gordon tweeted a picture of himself with Houston, writing, "Learned so much from this amazing woman. Miss you so much!!"

In the wake of Bobbi Kristina's death, Gordon went to Florida, where his mom lived, but he has understandably been keeping a low public profile. He does seem to be back in Atlanta, as he's been tweeting up a storm about the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons, including a pic of himself in a Falcons jersey taken with Bobbi Kristina.

He has never been charged with any crime in connection with her death.

As for the loved ones of Bobbi Kristina on the other side of that lawsuit:

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Bobby Brown welcomed his third child with his second wife, Alicia Etheredge-Brown, last July, making him a father of seven (including Bobbi Kristina). He's dad to son Landon with ex Malika Williams, daughter La-Princia and son Bobby Jr. with Kim Ward, and son Cassius and daughters Bodhi Jameson Rein and Hendrix Estelle Sheba with Etheredge.

Love & Blessing . Have a Beautiful day Fam. ???? #Bodhi #Hendrix @aliciaebrown

A photo posted by Love Me or Hate Me I AM BOBBY! (@kingbobbybrown) on

Last week, BET had a ratings smash with its three-part miniseries about the group Brown rose to R&B fame with, New Edition—which, after a painstaking process, counted all six former members of the boy band as producers. New Edition was also just honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Jan. 23.

Michael Tran/FilmMagic

"Watching and being alive to be able to see what my life was and has become and where my life is going from this point on? It's special, man," Brown said at a panel Q&A following the premiere of The New Edition Story last month in Beverly Hills. "These kids put their hearts and souls into this, just like we put our hearts and souls into our lives."

Brown and Whitney Houston divorced in 2007 after 15 years of turbulent marriage that saw, at times, both of them battling substance abuse and starring in the dysfunction-driven reality series Being Bobby Brown not long before they split up.

After Houston died, her family blamed Brown for her demons, and that animosity still lingered when Bobbi Kristina died.

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, told People in 2013 about her daughter, "She finally got rid of him, but it was too late. I blame him for the way he treated her. And he didn't help [with her drug issues]. Damn sure he didn't do that. He was no help to her at all."

Cissy expressed worry about Bobbi Kristina after Whitney's death, and she was said to be devastated when her granddaughter died.

Though people close to Bobby have spoken up in his defense, he didn't entirely absolve himself of what happened to Whitney, or in their daughter's eerily similar tragic spiral.

"We should have been better [as parents]," he told Robin Roberts on 20/20 last June. "We could have been better." Like the Houstons, however, he was also convinced that at least part of the blame lay with Gordon.

"It's not a mystery to me," Brown said. "The same thing that happened to my daughter is what happened to Whitney...There's only one person that was around both occasions. Only one person who says they were there to protect them...and he didn't."

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Cissy took apart Bobby's interview and his memoir Every Little Step: My Story point by point, saying in a statement: "I only wish he had loved and respected her enough to make some of the negative statements about her and Krissi while Whitney was alive and able to respond from her perspective...My prayer for Nippy [Whitney's nickname] and Krissi is that they will soon rest in peace. My prayer for me is that someday, somewhere beyond the horizon where we cannot see, I will be with them again...And Joy will come in the morning."


Cissy, now 83, and Pat Houston, wife of Whitney's half-brother Gary Garland who had also served as the executor of the trust Whitney set up for Bobbi Kristina, were appointed co-trustees of Bobbi Kristina's estate.

"When we really found out that Krissy was in trouble [with drugs], we were really making plans to do something about it, but it came too late," Pat told Entertainment Tonight in November 2015. She had filed a restraining order against Nick in 2014, alleging he had made threatening comments and posted photos of him with guns on social media in an attempt to intimidate her and the Houston family.

Pat said she wished she could have told Bobbi Kristina, "'You have to love yourself. You have to call on people and not allow someone to divide you and then conquer you.'"


Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The women were sued by estate administrator Bedelia Hargrove in February 2016 for allegedly not keeping up with bills and other expenses incurred by the estate, "impairing and impeding the proper administration of the estate" by holding up each transaction, according to the lawsuit obtained by RadarOnline.

Regardless of any squabbles over money, a sadly frequent occurrence when it comes to estate management, Cissy and Pat are both committed to keeping their departed loved ones' legacies alive. 

Pat and Gary were seen in September at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where Whitney memorabilia includes the gown she wore when she won 11 awards at the 1993 Billboard Music Awards. 

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Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Leolah Brown, another sister-in-law of Houston's who made headlines when she seemingly stormed out of her niece's funeral when Pat was about to speak, told ET in September 2015 that the deaths of both Whitney and Bobbi Kristina were suspicious to her.

"I believe somebody killed my niece, just like they killed her mother," she said. "I don't know who actually murdered Whitney."

As for her feud with the rest of the Houstons, Leolah said Bobbi Kristina "was surrounded by people who cared nothing for her." 

Last summer, Leolah started a GoFundMe account to raise cash for a private investigation into the two deaths.

As for Bobby Brown's plea for some sort of criminal prosecution with regard to his daughter's death, the most recent statement from Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard included no sign of when or if that will ever happen.

"As we have stated on numerous occasions and we will repeat again today, this case remains under active investigation by our office," Howard said last September, after Gordon was found liable for Bobbi Kristina's death. "Our investigation will encompass all relevant facts and circumstances, including the body and content of the civil action holding Nick Gordon civilly responsible for the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown."