2021 EMMY AWARDS
On Feb. 11, less than a day before the Grammy Awards, Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Stars showed their love and support for Houston at the awards, culminating in a tribute by Jennifer Hudson, who sang "I Will Always Love You" at the show.
Despite a brief stint in rehab in May, the end of 2011 looked promising for Houston as it was announced in September that she was slated to produce and star in a remake of 1976's Sparkle alongside Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps.
Houston kicked off 2010 with two NAACP Image Awards for Best Female Artist and Best Music Video, for her single "I Look to You." The next month, she received the BET Honors Award for Entertainer, which celebrated her career and achievements in the industry.
The No. 1 debut of her album, I Look to You in 2009, saw Whitney's first chart-topping, original album since the soundtrack of The Bodyguard in 1991.After a few television performances promoting the album, Houston announced the 2010 Nothing but Love world tour.
After requesting her divorce from Bobby Brown be fast-tracked, Houston's divorce was finalized in 2007, and she was awarded custody of their daughter, Bobbi Kristina. In the same year, Houston also released The Ultimate Collection, the first single-CD collection of the singer's greatest hits.
Fans were given an inside look into Houston's personal life and her trainwreck marriage to Bobby Brown in Being Bobby Brown, Brown's Bravo reality series that aired for one season. Houston popularized the phrase "Hell to the no" on the short-lived series and was nominated for a VH1 Big in '05 Award for Quote of the Year.
Brown turned himself in for misdemeanor charges after reportedly striking his wife. Houston appeared in court alongside her husband to support him, despite this being only the latest in a string of legal problems for him—including a 2002 drug-related charge, a 2000 jail visit and a 1996 DUI arrest.
After releasing the lackluster Just Whitney... in 2002 (Houston's fifth album and the first one not produced by Clive Davis), the diva released her first holiday-inspired album, One Wish: The Holiday Album in 2003. Her single "One Wish (For Christmas)" reached the top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart and she spent the following year touring and performing all over the world.
In her infamous interview with Diane Sawyer, the chanteuse discussed her upcoming album and drug-related rumors. In response to her drug use, Houston went on the record as saying, "First of all, let's get one thing straight: Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight, OK? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." Despite her denial of using crack, Houston admitted to using other drugs such as cocaine.
A frighteningly thin Houston was joined onstage by Mya and Usher to sing "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' " to celebrate Michael Jackson at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special in New York. Her frail physique ignited rumors that Houston was abusing drugs.
Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards, but her performance was dropped from the show after she appeared "destracted" and "defiant" and she sang the wrong song during rehearsals. Later that same year, her long-time executive assistant and best friend Robyn Crawford resigned from her management team. (To be fair, the Oscars may have been a bust, but she did the Grammys proud!)
In a January flight from Hawaii, airport security found marijuana in the singer's luggage, but she and Brown boarded the plane and departed before police could arrive. The charges were dropped, but the rumors about Houston's weight loss, drug use and marital problems continued to fly. Two months later, Houston was scheduled to play at Clive Davis' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but she failed to show up for the performance.
Houston both starred in and coproduced the made-for-TV remake of the classic fairytale Cinderella. Although Houston was originally slated to play Cinderella, she suggested someone younger: singer Brandy. Brandy only agreed if Houston—who Brandy called "her idol"—would play her fairy godmother.
The Bodyguard's lead single, "I Will Always Love You," topped the Billboard Hot 100, the R&B chart and the adult contemporary charts—becoming the first single to top those three charts simultaneously for five weeks. In 1994, the album went on to earn Houston three Grammy Awards—including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.
A year after getting married, Bobby and Whitney welcomed daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown on March 4, 1993. Bobbi was Houston's first and only child, and Brown's fourth.
The Bodyguard, which starred Houston and Kevin Costner, premiered in 1992. The film marked not only Houston theatrical debut, but also the release of the film's soundtrack, for which Houston served as executive producer. Despite later success for the music of the film, The Bodyguard earned several Razzie Award nominations—for Worst Picture, Worst Original Song and Worst Actress.
After meeting singer Bobby Brown of New Edition at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989, the pair tied the knot in 1992 at her New Jersey home. They exchanged rings engraved with "Love Whitney" and "Love Bobby."
Whitney was given one of the biggest compliments a singer can receive when she was asked to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Fla. Her rendition garnered such attention that it was released as a single and a video, which made her the first singer to turn the national anthem into a Top 20 single. In turn, she donated proceeds to the Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund.
Whitney Houston, Houston's self-titled, debut album, was released on Valentine's Day of 1985. The album went on to not only earn Houston her first Grammy—for Best Pop Vocal Performance at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards—but also became the best-selling album of 1986, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction.
At 17, Whitney Houston became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of Seventeen magazine; at the time, she was an aspiring model who had only begun singing backup for Chaka Khan a few years earlier. Khan sang the original version of "I'm Every Woman," later popularized by Houston herself.
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