Today (February 11th) we remember the life of Whitney Houston -- who died on this day back in 2012 at the age of 48. The music icon was found dead in her hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The cause of death was accidental drowning, but cocaine use and heart disease contributed to her death. Whitney was preparing to attend Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy party at the time of her death.
Whitney Houston is known as the most awarded female artist in music history. In her almost 30 year career, Whitney won two Emmy awards, six Grammys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards. Her album Whitney was the first female album to debut at number 1 on the Billboard Charts. She has sold 200 million albums worldwide.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9th, 1963 in Newark, N.J to John Russell Houston, Jr. and Cissy Houston. Whitney's mom Cissy was gospel singer and back up singer. Her godmother was Aretha Franklin and Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick were her cousins. By age 11, Whitney started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church.
By the time she was a teen, Whitney was singing back up for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. Around this time, she embarked on a modeling career, and she became one of the first African-American women to grace the cover of Seventeen Magazine and was also featured in Glamour Magazine.
In 1983, at age 19, Whitney was discovered by Clive Davis was signed to Arista Records. Her 1985 debut album Whitney Houston spawned three no. 1 singles, "Saving All My Love For You," -- for which she won her first Grammy, "How Will I Know," and "The Greatest Love of All." Her debut single "You Give Good Love" peaked at no.3 on the Billboard Hot 100. With her debut album, Whitney became a huge crossover star.
Whitney's follow up album Whitney was released in 1987, and delivered hits like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." Whitney won her second Grammy for or Best Female Pop Vocal Performance "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
By the late 90's, rumors started circulating that Whitney was using drugs with her husband Bobby Brown. The pop diva started displaying erratic behavior, like missing concert performances, running hours late for interviews, etc.
In 2001, she renewed her contract with Arista/BMG for $100 million to deliver six new albums. Later that year, she made an appearance on Michael Jackson's: 30th Anniversary Special. Her extremely thin frame further fueled even more rumors of drug use.
In 2002, Whitney did an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her then-upcoming album, Just Whitney. During the prime-time special, the singer spoke on topics including rumored drug use and marriage. When asked about her reported drug use, she said, "First off all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack, let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack, we don't do that. Crack is whack."
After years of being out of the spotlight, Whitney returned in 2009 with I Look To You. The singer claimed that she was clean and sober. In September of that year, in an interview, she admitted to Oprah that she and Bobby did drugs together.
- In 2010, Whitney embarked on The Nothing But Love tour -- her first tour in ten years. Poor reviews and rescheduled concerts brought in some more negative media attention for the diva.
Whitney returns to rehab, shoots Sparkle
In May 2011, Whitney returned to rehab, as an outpatient, citing drug and alcohol problems. In September, it was announced that Whitney was set to produce and star in a remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. Shooting wrapped from the film in November. She was also set to star in the upcoming sequel to Waiting to Exhale.
I think it's pretty much agreed that of all the performances of the National Anthem, Whitney's stands head and shoulders above all the rest.
Photo: Getty Images