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Whitney Houston: Early Life, Controversies & Net Worth

If you are a devotee of R&B and pop music, you definitely know about Whitney Houston. The American legendary pop artist Whitney was a true legend of the R&B music genre.

Whitney went from singing in churches to singing on massive stages worldwide due to her hard work, dedication, and unique vocal abilities.

Most importantly, Whitney has two best-selling albums of all time to her name.

Michael Jackson pictured alongside Whitney Houston.
Michael Jackson pictured alongside Whitney Houston.

Furthermore, you might also know Houston from her fascinating role in The Bodyguard.

Moreover, Whitney is included in the Top 100 Greatest Artist of All Tie by Rolling Stone.

This article discusses detailed information about early life, career, net worth, drug use, and much more about Whitney Houston.

Quick Facts

Full Name Whitney Elizabeth Houston
Stage Name Whitney Houston
Nicknames The Voice, Nippy, The Prom Queen of Soul
Date of Birth August 9, 1963
Date of Death February 11, 2012
Age at the time of Death 48 
Place of Birth Newark, New Jersey, USA
Place of Death Beverly Hills, California, USA
Resting place Fairview Cemetery, Westfield, New Jersey, ISA
Profession Singer, Actress, Producer, Model
Active years 1977- 2012
Nationality American
Father John Russell Houston
Mother Cissy Houston
Marital Status Divorced (at the time of her death)
Spouse Bobby Brown (m. 1992 – div. 2007)
Children Bobbi Kristina Brown
School Mount Saint Dominic Academy 
Languages Korean, English
Religion Baptist Christian
Ethnicity African-American
Zodiac Sign Leo
Labels Arista Records, RCA Records
Genres R&B, pop, soul, gospel, dance
Associated acts Mariah Carey, Bobby Brown, Stevie Wonder
Favorite Color Purple
Favorite Food Hamburger, Sushi, Sweet, and Sour Chicken and Shrimp 
Favorite Actress Jessica Lange
Favorite Movie Sparkle
Height In feet: 5 ft 8 in
In centimeters: 176 cm
Weight In Kilograms: 64 kg
In Pounds: 141 lbs
Body Measurement 34-23-33 inches
Shoe Size 9 (US)
Dress Size 4 (US)
Hair Color Dyed Brown
Eye Color Dark Brown
Net Worth Negative $20 million
Social Media  N/A
Last Updated [current-month], [current-year]

Whitney Houston: Early Life, Family, and Education

Whitney Houston was born as Whitney Elizabeth Houston.

The multi-talented singer-turned-actress was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, USA.

Cissy Houston and John Russell Houston raised nippy. Likewise, Whitney was raised alongside her two brothers, Michael Houston and Gary Garland.

Moreover, Nippy’s mother, Emily Cissy Houston, is a two times Grammy-winning former American gospel and soul singer.

Additionally, Cissy has been a backup singer for artists like Elvis Presley, Roy Hamilton, Aretha Franklin, and many more.

John was an entertainment manager who helped Nippy achieve stardom. Additionally, her father also served in World War II.

Moreover, Whitney’s parents are African-American; her mother has Dutch and Native American ancestry.

A childhood photo of Nippy.
A childhood photo of Nippy.

Most importantly, alongside her family, she moved to East Orange, New Jersey, when she was only four.

Her parents divorced when Whitney turned five, and she was raised by her mother ever since.

Whitney always wanted to become a singer like her mother, so she tried to learn from Cissy as much as possible.

The multi-talented Houston attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy. Also, she graduated from the Catholic girl’s high school in 1981.

Whitney Houston: Age, Height, and Weight

Whitney was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 64 Kilograms. Moreover, Houston had a body measurement of 34-23-33 inches.

Furthermore, the actress had Dark Brown colored hair and Dark Brown colored eyes.

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Whitney Houston: Career

Early Career

Whitney’s bright career began too early under her mother’s influence.

Since the age of 11, Nippy started performing at the New Hope Baptist Church as a soloist; she also used to play the piano.

In addition to that, her first solo church performance was Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.

In 1977, Whitney got the chance to become the backup singer on Life’s a Party, a single by Michael Zager’s band.

At the age of 16, this singer sang background vocals for Lou Rawls and Chaka Khan.

Likewise, in the 80s, Whitney started modeling and became the first black woman to be featured on the cover of Seventeen, a teen magazine.

She was featured in Young Miss, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Likewise, Whitney also appeared on the Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial.

In 1982, Houston became a part of the group Material, which released the One Down album.

Most importantly, in 1983, Arista Records offered a worldwide record deal to Houston.

Furthermore, Whitney signed the deal and became associated with the label owned by Sony Music Entertainment.

Additionally, this artist turned down offers from multiple records and agencies before signing a deal with Arista.

Rise to International Stardom

In February 1985, her debut album Whitney Houston was released; The New York Times praised it and called it an impressive musical conservative showcase.

Likewise, her song You Give Good Love peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top Hot 100 US chart and one on the R&B Hot chart.

Nippy started to tour nightclubs for promotion around the USA.

Whitney was so famous that she was invited by multiple late-night TV talk shows that weren’t much accessible to the black community back then.

Her third single, How Will I Know, ranked at No. 1 on release, and the video of the song premiered on MTV, which increased her popularity drastically.

Most importantly, her album topped the Billboard 200 and made a record by staying in the top for 14 non-consecutive weeks.

Additionally, Nippy became the No.1 artist of the year, and her album, Whitney Houston, was named the album of the year on the 1986 Billboard charts.

This singer started her world tour titled Greatest Love Tour. Likewise, her album became a certified 13 x Diamond, and she sold 22 million copies worldwide.

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Hits After Hits

Likewise, the Prom Queen of Soul released her second studio album, Whitney, in June 1987.

Moreover, critics claimed that the album was similar to her first album, but it still enjoyed commercial success.

She became the highest-earning African-American woman and ranked at No.8 for the highest-earning entertainers by Forbes.

On June 11, 1988, during Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday, Whitney performed in front of 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium.

This concert raised over a million dollars which was donated for charities related to apartheid.

In 1989, Nippy founded The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, which helped homeless children with cancer or AIDS.

In 1990, the Voice released her third studio album; I’m Your Baby Tonight; the album features artists like Stevie Wonder, Babyface, and Luther Vandross.

Most importantly, the album ranked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and became a certified 4x Platinium, selling 10 million copies worldwide.

On January 27, 1991, Nippy performed at the US national anthem at the Super Bowl XXV.

Likewise, Nippy performed in a free concert for the soldiers returning home from the Persian Gulf War.

In addition to that, she performed at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia with a partnership with HBO.

Moreover, Houston decided to act in a movie with success in the music industry.

Furthermore, The Bodyguard was her debut movie, where she was cast as Rachel Marron.

Likewise, the movie shockingly grossed $410 million worldwide.

The Prom Queen of Soul also co-executively produced the film’s soundtrack, which was also successful.

Tours and Movies

Houston became the third highest-earning female entertainer of 1993-94 after going on The Bodyguard World Tour.

She won multiple music awards for her album, singles, and movie. Additionally, she broke the record by winning eight AMA‘s plus a Merit Award.

In 1995, Waiting to Exhale was released in which Whitney starred as Savannah Jackson.

Whitney Houston acting in Waiting to Exhale (Source: Twitter)

Surprisingly, the movie grossed around $81 million worldwide at the box office.

In 1996, she starred in a comedy-drama film alongside Denzel Washington in The Preacher’s Wife.

Nippy was cast as Julia Biggs, and she earned around $10 million for her role in this comedy film.

This actress released her fourth studio album, My Love Is Your Love, worldwide on November 17, 1998. 

In 1999, she became the top-selling R&B Artist of the Century and won the Decade’s Best Artist and other honorable mentions.

In 2001, Nippy signed a record extension deal for $100 million with Artist/BMG.

She signed a deal for a hefty amount and stated that she would release six new albums.

The R&B queen also appeared on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special.

In September 2009, Houston appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s season premiere; the critics called the most anticipated music interview.

Moreover, in August, Nippy released I Look to You, her final album.

She also performed her single Million Dollar Bill on The X Factor and the Season 9 final of Dancing with the Stars.

On May 21, 2012, Whitney recorded her last ever song with Jordin Sparks; the song is the soundtrack for Sparkle: Music from the Motion Picture.

Likewise, the movie was released on August 17, 2012.

Whitney Houston: Tragic Death

On February 9, 2012, Nippy, alongside Clive Davis, visited Brandy and Monica at their rehearsals at The Beverly Hilton hotel.

Houston made her last public performance in Hollywood, California, and sang Jesus Loves Me alongside Kelly Price.

On February 11, Nippy was pronounced dead in Suite 434 at the same hotel at Beverly Hills.

Moreover, on the 18th of February, a memorial service was held for Whitney at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

The service lasted four hours with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R.Kelly, CeCe Winans, and Kim Burrell performing.

On February 19, she was buried next to her beloved father in Fairview Cemetery situated in Westfield.

Likewise, after a month in March, reports revealed that she died due to accidental drowning, heart disease, and cocaine use.

Additionally, some drugs like Benadryl, Xanax, Flexeril, and cannabis were found in her system through toxicology results.

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Whitney Houston: Posthumous Sales and Releases

Nippy sold 4.3 million singles worldwide during the first ten months of her death.

Whitney became the only female artist to have three albums in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.

This singer turned actress became the second female to have two albums in the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200.

Moreover, on November 13, 2012, her first posthumous album was released titled, I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston.

Additionally, in 2020, RIAA certified the album as Gold. On November 10, 2014, Nippy’s posthumous live album was released.

This album was titled Her Greatest Performances and was released by Legacy Recordings.

Most importantly, Higher Love was released in 2019, which features Houston and Kygo.

This record won multiple awards and became certified platinum in many countries.

Whitney Houston: Bobby and Bobbi

Whitney was rumored to be dating the likes of Eddie Murphy, Jermaine Jackson, and Randall Cunningham during the 80s.

In 1989, the actress met her future husband Bobby Brown at Soul Train Music Awards.

After two years, on July 18, 1992, the couple tied the knot. Bobby is an American who fused genres between hip hop and R&B.

Whitney and Bobby only have a child. The couple gave birth to Bobbi Kristina Brown on March 4, 1993.

Whitney Houston with her husband and daughter.
Whitney Houston with her husband and daughter.

After her mother died, Bobbi was determined to carry her legacy and wanted to become an actor or a dancer.

Furthermore, she was cast as Tina in For Better or Worse, a television series.

She announced her engagement with her family friend Nick Gordon in July 2013.

Additionally, the announcement caused a severe controversy within the Brown family.

Although Gordon and Brown didn’t announce they married legally, they said they had married on January 9, 2014.

Most importantly, on January 31, 2015, tragedy struck when the 22-year-old was found by Gordon and a friend in the same conditions how her mother died.

Fortunately, Brown survived but was placed in a medically induced coma as she was announced brain dead by the doctors.

Bobbi was announced dead on July 26, 2015, with autopsy reports claiming that she had alcohol, cannabis, morphine, and other drugs in her system.

The final autopsy report claimed that she died from drug intoxication and lobar pneumonia.

Whitney Houston: Controversies

Houston was considered a good girl throughout the 80s and 90s, but her behavior changed from the 2000s.

Moreover, Nippy started coming late for rehearsals and interviews and often canceled concerts and talk shows.

The singer started to have weight loss, and the canceling of the shows led to the rumors about her using drugs alongside her husband, Bobby.

In 2001, Houston appeared on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special, where she looked extremely thin.

Furthermore, rumors began that she was under stress mainly due to family and drug abuse.

She was part of some more controversies as Kevin Skinner, the president of John Houston Enterprise, sued her for $100 million.

Interestingly, Kevin Skinner was her father’s business partner.

Although Nippy’s father had nothing to do with her daughter’s case, the company was still in his name.

Furthermore, John Houston died in February 2003; eventually, the court dismissed the lawsuit against Whitney, and Skinner didn’t get a thing!

Additionally, Skinner stated that Houston owed money to the enterprise for helping her negotiate the $100 deal with Arista Records.

In an interview in 2002, Whitney admitted using cocaine, pills, marijuana, and alcohol to ease her pain.

In December 2003, Bobby threatened and beat Whitney, thus was charged with battery; as police stated, Nippy had injuries in her face.

On April 24, 2007, Whitney Houston officially divorced Bobby Brown, and Nippy was granted custody of Bobbi Kristina.

In September 2009, she admitted to using drugs with her former husband.

Likewise, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Houston stated that her ex-husband had given her laced marijuana with rock cocaine.

Moreover, Nippy claimed that Brown had emotionally abused her and even spit on her.

She also told Oprah that she went to rehab for 30 days due to her drug use.

Whitney Houston: Net Worth

Whitney Houston had an estimated net worth of approximately negative $20 million before her death.

Despite signing a $100 million contract and selling 200 million albums, Houston was considered flat broke at the time of her death.

Whitney Houston: Social Media 

Although Whitney hadn’t opened any social media account personally, her team has opened social media accounts to remember her legacy.

She has an Instagram account with around 704k followers. Houston also has a Facebook account, followed by 13 million people.

This singer turned actress also has a YouTube account with over 6.8 million subscribers.

Whitney Houston: Fun Facts

  • Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford were inseparable best friends who had a relationship involving sexual activities.
  • In addition, Whitney Houston has inspired many artists like Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, and Beyonce.
  • Nippy had a great sense of humor.

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Whitney Houston: FAQs

How did Whitney Houston die?

Whitney was announced dead at 3:55 pm on February 11, 2012.

She died because of accidental drowning, heart disease, and cocaine use.

Is Whitney Houston inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Yes, Whitney Houston was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently in 2020.

In addition, she was also included in the R&B Hall of Fame in 2014.

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