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After a very public funeral attended by thousands yesterday, Whitney Houston is laid to rest surrounded by just a select few in New Jersey today.
Whitney Houston is to be buried in a private ceremony at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield where her father, John Russell Houston Jr., was interred in 2003.
The late singer’s silver casket was transported to the cemetery in a gold-painted hearse on Sunday morning, closely following a black truck brimming with purple roses, pink carnations and white lilies.
Whitney Houston’s casket was reportedly watched over by 10 security guards after it left the invitation-only service attended by some of the music world’s biggest stars yesterday.
Authorities said the tight security has continued during the burial, with a heavy officer presence in and around the ceremony in anticipation of fans flocking to the site to say their final goodbyes.
Fans carrying banners, flowers and photographs of the late star were gathered along the route to the cemetery as police escorted the hearse. It arrived at the cemetery just before 11:45 a.m.
Whitney Houston is to be buried in a private ceremony at the Fairview Cemetery in Westfield where her father, John Russell Houston Jr., was interred in 2003
The driver appeared to be crying as she played the singer’s greatest hit I Will Always Love You, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported.
The burial comes a day after the singer was mourned at the funeral – called her “going home” by her family – held in the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark where she sang in the choir as a child.
High-profile friends of Whitney Houston, including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, music mogul Clive Davis and her The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner, spoke or performed at the highly-charged service.
The ceremony, which closed with Whitney Houston’s song I Will Always Love You, was also attended by her mother Cissy Houston, who wailed “My baby!” as the casket was carried out.
Whitney Houston’s on-off boyfriend Ray J – who reached out for the casket as it passed – and her teenage daughter Bobbi Kristina also attended the service.
The star’s distraught ex-husband Bobby Brown caused a ruckus when he bickered with security about the number of guests accompanying him. He was told he could bring two but arrived with nine.
Bobby Brown stormed out of the service after security tried to move him, but later returned.
The service came a week after Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel in California.
Questions remains about what caused Whitney Houston’s death and investigators are examining prescription drugs found in her hotel room.
Coroners have deferred city a cause on her death certificate as they are waiting for the outcome of toxicology tests.
It was believed the family would be able to see Whitney Houston’s body once more before she is buried, TMZ reported.
As Whitney Houston’s silver casket was carried out of the New Hope Baptist Church, her unforgettable voice could be heard singing her greatest hit I Will Always Love You, reducing many mourners to tears, as the star made her final journey before being laid to rest.
The singer’s mother Cissy Houston followed right behind the casket and had to be supported by two helpers as she tearfully watched her only daughter’s coffin being taken out. Bobbi Kristina followed closely behind.
Whitney Houston will be laid to rest tomorrow alongside her father John Russell Houston Jr.
Among the mourners at today’s highly-charged service, were singers Chaka Khan, Brandy, Roberta Flack, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson. Singer Ray J, who spent time with Houston during her last days, broke down crying before the service had even begun.
Cissy Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown were in the front row, both in black, both with heads bowed in grief.
Whitney Houston’s casket was carried out of the church while her unforgettable voice could be heard singing her greatest hit I Will Always Love You
Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown was seen storming out of the church shortly before the service began. He was driven away from the funeral but later returned in time for the start of the going-home service.
TMZ reported that Bobby Brown got into an argument with Whitney Houston’s family over whether or not he could bring nine people into the church with him. Bobby Brown was invited and told he could bring two people but instead showed up with an entourage of nine.
Bobby Brown reportedly became upset when he was told his party could not be seated. He was also refused to sit beside his daughter Bobbi Kristina in the front row.
In a statement put out by his representative after the funeral ended, Bobby Brown explained: “My children and I were invited to the funeral of my ex-wife Whitney Houston. We were seated by security and then subsequently asked to move on three separate occasions.
“I fail to understand why security treated my family this way and continue to ask us and no one else to move. Security then prevented me from attempting to see my daughter Bobbi-Kristina. In light of the events, I gave a kiss to the casket of my ex-wife and departed as I refused to create a scene.
“My children are completely distraught over the events. This was a day to honor Whitney. I doubt Whitney would have wanted this to occur. I will continue to pay my respects to my ex-wife the best way I know how.”
Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston’s mother, paid an emotional tribute to her beloved daughter today as family, friends and some of the biggest names in the music world gathered at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, for the singer’s funeral.
Among the mourners at today’s highly-charged service, were singers Chaka Khan, Brandy, Roberta Flack, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson. Singer Ray J, who spent time with Houston during her last days, broke down crying. His sister, singer Brandy, put her arm around him.
After a brief welcome by City Mayor Cory Booke, Pastor Joe Carter took to the alter to read some scripture and start the celebration of Whitney Houston’s life.
Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was the first soloist to sing. He performed Stand which was a request from the Houston family. As he came up to sing he briefly stopped to greet Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy and her daughter Bobbi Kristina who are sitting next to each other on the front row of the church.
Members of the congregation stood up and started raising their hands and praising as Donnie McClurkin sang to the congregation accompanied by the large gospel choir.
Dionne Warwick, who is officiating the service and introducing the guests to the congregation, told Donie McClurkin after his performance: “This song means a lot to Cissy and a great deal to Whitney so thank you.”
She then invited Tyler Perry to come and say a few words.
Tyler Perry started by saying: “It was Pat [Whitney’s sister-in-law] that introduced me to Whitney. I met her a few years ago. She told me about things that she went through. I saw this sadness and heaviness.
“But before she would say what was bothering her she would interrupt and say <<But the Lord… But my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ>>. I’m thankful for all that God has done in her life.
“There was a grace that followed her through her life. There was a grace that kept on carrying her. She loved the Lord.”
Tyler Perry ended by saying: “God bless you family. We love you Whitney.”
Dionne Warwick said: “That’s someone who truly knew Whitney. He loved the lord and still does.”
She then invited gospel singer Bebe Winans to come up and sing.
Bebe Winans and his sister CeCe Winans came up to the altar. CeCe was a close friend of Whitney Houston’s and is Bobbi Kristina’s Godmother.
“Whitney invited us over to her home and we sat in her closet. It was a huge closet,” Bebe Winans said.
He told the story of how Whitney Houston changed her tour so they would be the ones to headline instead of her which made “Clive Davies” mad.
Bebe Winans said that Whitney Houston was doing it because they were “poor” and she was “rich” and she wanted to help them and get them more exposure.
He told the story through tears and laughter at how giving their long term friend was.
Bebe Winans sang a heartfelt rendition of I Really Miss You. The lyrics of which speak of how much he will miss her “wit, charm, just want to hold you in my arms”.
“I’ll miss her voice when she will call. I’ll miss her smile most of all. I’m gonna miss you.”
During the song, his voice broke as he became emotional and he ended the song in tears.
Dionne Warwick then invited renowned pastor Bishop T. D. Jakes to the pew who met her on the set of the remake of Sparkle, Whitney Houston’s final movie which will be released in August, which he helped to produce.
“I really the dichotomy at this time. Surrounded by friends and admirers enthralled by the beautiful Whitney Houston. But that’s not what brings you here because you knew who she was. Not what she did. You shared her with the world and we just want to take a moment to say thank you,” he opened up with saying.
He embarked on a sermon where he talked about the Bible speaking of love being stronger than death.
“One day you’ll be driving and hear Whitney’s voice in your head, something that she said or did, and you’ll giggle. They may leave you outwardly but they never leave you inwardly.”
Kim Burrell was next to take to the altar. The gospel singer and pastor says Whitney Houston helped her in the start in her career.
She was supposed to sing I Believe In You and Me, a favourite of Whitney Houston’s, but she instead did a personalized version of A Change Is Going To Come, where she sang that a change had to come in Whitney’s life.
Her lyrics were directed to Cissy Houston and sang about how she would get on her knees and pray for her daughter during all the trials and tribulations in her life.
“Whitney a change has come,” she ended the song and then went and gave Cissy Houston a huge hug.
The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend Whitney Houston
The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner got up to share memories of his time with his beloved friend.
Kevin Costner started by saying: “I would like to thank Cissy and Dionne for the honor of being here. Everyone treating my wife and I so gracefully.”
“The song I Will Always Love You almost wasn’t. She was meant to sing What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. So what becomes our broken hearts.
“For a moment we should dry our tears, suspend our sorrow and anger. Never forgot that Cissy and Bobbi Kristina are sitting among us.
“Your mother and I had a lot in common,” Kevin Costner said to Bobbi Kristina.
“He’s a boy, she’s a girl. I’m white, she’s black. You’d think we had nothing in common but we did.
“We both grew up in a Baptist church. My grandmother led the choir and played the piano.”
Kevin Costner told stories of his childhood in the church that Whitney Houston enjoyed him telling her when they worked together including him “drinking grape juice” in the back of the church.
He laughed: “I can see her as a skinny girl running around this place, using her smile to get out of trouble and Cissy having enough of it. Whitney said she was waiting no whisper, her mother Cissy and cousin Dionne.
“As I’m sure of Whitney’s place in musical history. I’m also sure of how she felt about her mother. Was she good enough. Could I have done better. Did they really like me or were they just being polite because they’re scared of you Cissy?”
The actor spoke about how there was initial anxiety about Whitney Houston, a black woman, to play alongside Kevin Costner.
He said that there was a sigh of relief when it turned out that Whitney Houston was going to be able to do The Bodyguard because she was going to be one tour. But Kevin Costner said he would wait a year for so she would be available.
“Whitney was nervous and scared that she wasn’t good enough for the role. But I told her I would be with her every step of the way.
“I wanted to tell her that the fame was rigged. That I didn’t care how the test went, that she could fall down and start speaking in tongues. That somehow it was a kind of acting method.
“The Whitney I knew despite her worldwide fame always worried. Am I good enough. Am I pretty enough. Will they like me. The part that made her great and the part that made her great was also the part that made her stumble.
“A lot of men could have played my role. But you Whitney were the only person who could have played Rachel Marron. People didn’t just like you Whitney. They loved you. I was your pretend bodyguard once. And now you’re gone too soon.
“What you did was the rarest of achievements. You set the bar so high. That your colleagues don’t even sing that little country song. What’s the point.
“I think Whitney would tell you, little girls wanting to become singers. Guard your bodies and guard the precious miracle you have.”
Fighting back tears Kevin Costner said: “Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before him. Don’t you worry. You will be good enough.”
Singer Alicia Keys was next to perform and, introducing her Dionne Warwick said she was “a young lady that Whitney adored”.
Alicia Keys was tearful as she walked to the piano and spoke about her friendship with the singer.
“We called each other Meema. She was such a beautiful human being. Call you for no reason at all but just to say hi. And that’s rare I think sometimes.
“I feel like in so many ways she reached back to me and to Michael and Brandy and Jordin and all these young artists and made us feel strong and capable and loved. I think she is an angel to us. She has been an angel to us.”
Alicia Keys then sang a medley of songs on the piano starting with Send Me An Angel, changing the lyrics to Whitney is an Angel.
Whitney Houston’s funeral service began in New Hope Baptist Church shortly after noon today.
Dressed in white, dozens of gospel singers performed traditional gospel songs including Grateful, by Hezekiah Walker, in keeping with a traditional “home-going” service which is common among the African American community. It is based on death being a time of rejoicing because the person is going on to a better place.
After a brief welcome by City Mayor Cory Booke, Pastor Joe Carter took to the alter to read some scripture and start the celebration of Whitney Houston’s life. Pastor Joe Carter said: “Whitney you are the only woman who could bring all of us together, Whitney today is your day.”
Pastor Joe Carter took to the alter to read some scripture and start the celebration of Whitney Houston's life
Some mourners stood in the aisles in the full church. Others were more mournful. Singer Ray J, who spent time with Whitney Houston during her last days, broke down crying. His sister, singer Brandy, put her arm around him.
A program featuring a picture of Whitney Houston looking skyward read “Celebrating the life of Whitney Elizabeth Houston, a child of God”. Pictures of Whitney Houston as a baby, with her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston and daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown filled the program.
The service program featured a picture of Whitney Houston looking skyward read “Celebrating the life of Whitney Elizabeth Houston, a child of God”
“I never told you that when you were born, the Holy Spirit told me that you would not be with me long,” Cissy Houston wrote her daughter in a letter published in the program.
“And I thank God for the beautiful flower he allowed me to raise and cherish for 48 years.”
“Rest, my baby girl in peace,” the letter ends, signed “mommie”.
Whitney Houston’s flower-covered casket arrived this morning at the church where her powerful voice first wowed a congregation as family made final preparations to remember the pop superstar in her hometown.
Mourners at the New Hope Baptist Church, including the Rev Jesse Jackson, fell quiet as three police officers escorted Whitney Houston’s silver casket, draped with white roses and purple lilies, a couple of hours before the service.
It is thought the Houston family arrived in four limousines and was given a police escort with motorcycle outriders and two police cars at the front and the back of their convoy.
Mourners, officers and the choir gathered inside the New Hope Baptist Church at Whitney Houston’s home-going service
Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown arrived shortly before noon. It was reported earlier this week that the singer’s family had banned him from attending the service.
But on account of his connection with daughter Bobbi Kristina, Bobby Brown was later told he would be able to pay his last respects to Whitney Houston – who he was married to for 14 years.
According to CNN, guests held in their hands an invitation with a cover featuring a photo of a smiling Whitney Houston. The six-page funeral program contained color family photos and a note from Cissy Houston, the singer’s mother.
The funeral service marks exactly one week after the 48-year-old Whitney Houston -one of music’s all-time biggest stars – was found dead in Beverly Hilton Hotel in California. A cause of death has yet to be determined.
Whitney Houston’s casket arrived at the church where her powerful voice first wowed a congregation as family made final preparations to remember the pop superstar in her hometown.
Mourners at the New Hope Baptist Church, including the Rev Jesse Jackson, fell quiet as three police officers escorted Whitney Houston’s silver casket, draped with white roses and purple lilies, a couple of hours before the service.
White-robed choir members began to fill the pews on the podium. As the band played softly, the choir sang in a hushed voice: “Whitney, Whitney, Whitney”.
Ray J – who was thought to have been dating Whitney Houston when she died – sister Brandy and singer Mary J. Blige were some of the first celebrities to arrive at the church.
Family prepared a service where singer Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston’s cousin, music mogul Clive Davis, who shepherded singer’s career for decades, actor Kevin Costner and sister-in-law Patricia Houston were to speak.
Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, R. Kelly and gospel stars CeCe and Bebe Winans are expected to sing. Whitney Houston’s voice, a recording of her biggest hit, I Will Always Love You, is expected to be played at the end.
Close family friend Aretha Franklin, the singer’s godmother, whom Whitney Houston lovingly called Aunt Ree, was expected to sing at the service, but she is too ill to attend, said a person close to the Houston family who was not authorized to talk about Franklin’s decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The service marks exactly one week after the 48-year-old Whitney Houston – one of music’s all-time biggest stars – was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel in California. A cause of death has yet to be determined.
“She always had the edge,” Rev Jesse Jackson said outside the church on Saturday.
“You can tell when some kids have what we call a special anointing. Aretha had that when she was 14. Whitney cultivated that and took it to a very high level.
“The memories are so powerful, the music will be with us forever. We have a lot to rejoice about. Today we praise, we preach and we appreciate.
“Whitney had that special something.”
Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and Jay-Z, actor-producer Tyler Perry and American Idol musical director Rickey Minor were all expected to attend Saturday’s invitation-only service.
Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown also is expected to attend, along with the couple’s only child, Bobbi Kristina.
According to the invitation issued to the singer’s friends and family, the ceremony will be seen as a “going home” service rather than a funeral.
The invitation, featuring a picture of the smiling star that appears to date back to the peak of her success in the early 1990’s, states: “With heartfelt gratitude, the Houston family requests the honor of your presence at the going home service for Whitney Elizabeth Houston.”
According to the invitation issued to Whitney Houston's friends and family, the ceremony will be seen as a “going home” service rather than a funeral
Pastor Joe Carter, who will read the scripture, said the service will be a musical celebration of Whitney Houston’s life.
Whitney Houston’s South Orange grade-school principal Henry Hamilton said outside the funeral home: “It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, she’s up there, this is Whitney’s day.”
Traffic cones lined the street outside the church where those attending would be dropped off for the service.
The electronic sign outside the front simply read “Whitney Houston” followed by her date of birth then the words: “We will always love you.”
The streets around the building were closed off for six blocks on either side to ensure the public had no access to the surrounding area.
Most had also apparently followed police instructions not to attend. But small pockets of fans got as close to the church as they possibly could.
Her fans had already covered the front of the church in dozens of balloons, flowers and card that formed a deep 12ft by 6ft blanket by the entrance.
On the streets there was a heavy police presence with mounted officers patrolling around, a police helicopter flying overhead and police cars by barricades.
Whitney Houston’s fans were so desperate to be at the service that some journeyed 500 miles from Canada or slept in their cars overnight by the church to be there.
With no single point of focus, they ended up grouping in bunches of 50-100 at various points around the perimeter of the fenced off zone singing Whitney Houston’s hits like I Will Always Love You and I’m Every Woman.
Vendors sold T-Shirts and posters with Whitney Houston’s name on them whilst one man used a pair of opera glasses to see what was going on. Others had radios they were carrying around with Whitney Houston’s music blaring out of them.
Most of the fans wanted to be there on what they said was a “historic day” but there was also frustration and anger that they had been kept back at least three blocks from the church with one man claiming the star’s mother, Cissy Houston, had “betrayed” them.
New reports claim that Whitney Houston binged on cocaine, alcohol and pills in her final months.
Insiders say that after months of sober living during 2011, Whitney Houston fell off the wagon.
A source told Star magazine: “The last three months of Whitney’s life were truly tragic.”
Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on the eve of the Grammy Awards.
Eyewitness told Star magazine about Whitney Houston partying at Hollywood club Playhouse on January 2.
“Whitney got buck-wild. She drank cognac and champagne and seemed completely out of it from the moment she arrived until the moment she left at 2:30 a.m.”
Whitney Houston, pictured here with her daughter Bobbi Kristina, was said to have binge on cocaine, alcohol and pills in her final months
The reports go on to detail Whitney Houston partying at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel, the Beverly Wilshire.
“Whitney was in a lounge chair drinking pina coladas all afternoon,” another eyewitness told Star magazine.
“Once in a while, she would get on her cell phone and start screaming at someone. She seemed almost manic at moments and practically unconscious the next.”
Whitney Houston’s wild behavior continued right until her death.
CNN anchor Don Lemon claimed he saw Whitney Houston doing somersaults in the pool just days before she died – saying she had been drinking alcohol from as early as 10:00 a.m.
Whitney Houston will be laid to rest tomorrow after a funeral service at New Hope Baptist Church in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
Meanwhile Ray J, who was dating Whitney Houston in the months before her death, has finally broken his silence.
Ray-J, 31, released a statement that said: “Over the past few days, I’ve tried to process the emptiness that I am experiencing. What my heart feels cannot be expressed in words. The world lost an icon, but I lost my close friend.”
Alluding to a nickname given to Whitney Houston by her father he added: “Nippy, I miss you so much!”
“You were so happy and full of love. Your smile will live in my heart forever.”
Ray-J was seen at LAX airport today catching a flight to New Jersey ahead of Whitey Houston’s funeral tomorrow.
There will be a galaxy of stars paying tribute to Whitney Houston including Kevin Costner, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder – the final duo who will be performing.
Today it has been revealed that Mel Gibson reached out to Whitney Houston a few years ago to try and deal with her addiction issues.
Mel Gibson was invited to the funeral tomorrow by Whitney Houston’s family but is unable to attend because of prior family commitments TMZ reports.
Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston’s godmother, has been asked to sing at the singer’s funeral, Franklin’s spokeswoman said.
According to CNN.com other stars confirmed on the guest list are Chaka Khan, Bebe & CeCe Winans, songwriter Diane Warren, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, pop singer Darlene Love, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Antonio L.A. Reid, Ray J and Brandy.
One person expected not to attend the funeral, which will take place at 12:00 p.m. EST, in Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church, is Bobby Brown, who family members are said to have told that he is not welcome.
Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston's godmother, has been asked to sing at the singer’s funeral
It has also been claimed that Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy is doing her best to stop the singer’s ex-husband Bobby Brown from getting closer to their daughter Bobbi Kristina, for fear it is a ploy to get his hands on Whitney’s fortune.
A source told TMZ.com that friends of the family have contacted Bobby Brown to tell him he’s not welcome at her funeral, and should not increase his part in Bobbi Kristina’s life.
However, a friend of Bobby Brown’s is said to have told TMZ that Bobby is keen to “bury the hatchet for the sake of his daughter”.
By the end of her life, Whitney Houston had thrown away every last scrap of the poise and beauty that had made her the ultimate diva of her generation.
Leaving a Hollywood nightclub two days before her death, Whitney Houston was drenched in sweat and disoriented a wad of mint chewing gum visible in her gaping mouth.
Blood from a cut trickled down her leg, but the singer herself, surrounded by party-loving hangers-on, didn’t seem to notice.
Alternately waving and cursing, this was not the Whitney Houston who conquered the world – a church-going supermodel with a once-in-a-generation voice of exceptional power and sweetness.
This was a woman who, despite at least three attempts at rehab in the past eight years, appeared fully in the grip of drug addiction: wired, wrecked and out of control. Inside the club, it is claimed, Whitney Houston nearly came to blows with a partygoer who she felt had “got into her face”.
So why could nobody save Whitney Houston? In truth, having spent almost two decades destroying herself, she was past saving.
Her voice, with her signature, high-octave power note, had been pitifully diminished by years of abuse, particularly the smoking of crack cocaine. The soaring vocals had become a soft, whispery falsetto.
“She doesn’t want to come, my soprano friend,” Whitney Houston told a booing concert audience in London in 2010.
The years of material plenty were behind her, too. Whitney Houston was reportedly once again “flat broke”, even though she should have had a fortune well in excess of $160 million.
Indeed, despite earning up to $30 million with a colossal 50-date global tour only two years ago, she was reportedly this month reduced to asking her great benefactor, Clive Davis, the music mogul who “discovered” her, for hand-outs yet again.
Whitney Houston’s home in New Jersey was said to be in danger of being repossessed. Another home in Atlanta already had been.
The legendary singer was partying at the Beverly Hilton only because she was on someone else’s tab: the record label was paying for her to be with them in the run-up to last night’s Grammy awards.
There were hopes of yet another album from Whitney Houston, despite the relatively poor performance of her comeback in 2009, and she had recently been in the studio. She had also finished making a film, Sparkle, a showbiz saga about a trio of singers, which Sony has announced will still be released in August.
Whitney Houston’s most recent romantic partner was a 31-year-old rapper, Ray J, who is chiefly famous for being the man in a homemade sex tape shot in 2003, which made reality star Kim Kardashian famous.
Ray-J is also the cousin of rapper and drug advocate Snoop Dogg, so he was not the kind who might have been counted on to keep her on the straight and narrow.
Whitney Houston and Ray-J had an on-and-off four-year liaison, which her fans felt had depressing echoes of her mutually destructive marriage to “bad boy” rapper Bobby Brown, who she divorced in 2007.
Whitney Houston pictured in 2006, sick and haggard
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born in 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, and her mother was the successful gospel singer, Cissy Houston. Her cousin was Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin was her godmother.
Known as Nippy as a child, Whitney Houston was the youngest of three children. Her mother divorced John Houston, an Army serviceman, but Whitney remained close to both parents.
They supported her in her dreams of stardom – a fact she later said accounted for her enormous self-confidence.
From the age of five Whitney Houston would sing in the choir at the All Hope Baptist church in Newark, where the family worshipped.
As a teenager, Whitney Houston started to get involved in the music business. Aged 15, she sang backing vocals on the Chaka Khan hit I’m Every Woman.
Clive Davis of Arista records first laid eyes on her in 1983, when she was 20, and was bowled over.
Her first album, Whitney Houston, was released two years later, yielding the No 1 hits The Greatest Love Of All, How Will I Know and Saving All My Love For You. It remains the best-selling debut album by a female artist in music history.
Her second album, Whitney, released in 1987, included the hits I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. It sold 25 million copies worldwide.
Whitney Houston would often travel with her mother. Also always present was her “executive assistant” Robyn Conway, her best friend at school, who she said was “like a sister” to her. She put Robyn Conway on her payroll, but was she something more?
Whitney Houston always denied the persistent rumors she was bisexual, and claimed people got the wrong impression only because she didn’t start dating until she was in her late 20’s.
In 1989, Whitney Houston met Bobby Brown at a music awards show, and they married in 1992. Daughter Bobbi Kristina was born a year later.
Whitney Houston was at the peak of her fame, thanks to the film The Bodyguard and the colossal cover version I Will Always Love You.
But outside the spotlight, her life was far from perfect. Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown had settled in a huge mansion in New Jersey, complete with a pool and recording studio, but the marriage was not happy. He was accused of domestic violence against her in 1993. Whitney Houston said he had slapped her during a jealous argument.
In his autobiography, Bobby Brown hints she deceived him about her true sexual orientation and that their marriage was designed to cover up her bisexuality.
“I realize Whitney had a different agenda than I did when we got married,” Bobby Brown said in his book. “I believe her agenda was to clean up her image; mine was to be loved and to have children.”
Talk of her impossible behavior began to circulate as Whitney Houston started failing to turn up to events, including a celebration of the career of her mentor, Clive Davis.
Whitney Houston admitted in a recent interview that she would take cocaine “every day” in the mid-Nineties.
The singer became skeletally thin and appeared disoriented at times. She was fired from a slot on the Oscars ceremony in 2000 after singing the wrong song at rehearsals.
Later that year, Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were found to be carrying marijuana on a trip to Hawaii.
In 2002, Whitney Houston gave a notorious interview in which she denied taking crack, on the grounds that it was “too cheap” a drug for her.
“We don’t take crack. Crack is whack,” Whitney Houston said. Nobody was very convinced by her denial.
Clive Davis tried to get her into rehab in 2004, with an ultimatum that they could not work together again if she didn’t clean up.
In 2005, Whitney Houston’ sister-in-law leaked pictures to the Press of her bathroom in Atlanta – a sordid, dirty space covered with crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia – to try to shock her into sobriety.
In 2005, Whitney Houston’ sister-in-law leaked pictures to the Press of her bathroom in Atlanta, a sordid, dirty space covered with crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia
In 2006, Clive Davis tried again. Whitney Houston recalled in an interview: “Clive called me one day and said: <<OK, are you ready now? I’m tired of seeing what I’m seeing. I want you back.>>”
In denial about her problems, Whitney Houston said she resisted because she was happy being a mum to Bobbi Kristina. Finally, though, Clive Davis persuaded her that she needed to conquer her addictions and attempt a professional comeback.
The singer Courtney Love had told Clive Davis that the one person who could help Whitney Houston was a former addict named Warren Boyd.
Fabled in Hollywood as the person who got actor Robert Downey Jr. off drugs, his view is that addicts need to have a sober coach to live with them 24/7.
After residential rehab for several months in Pennsylvania, Warren Boyd “secured the perimeter” around Whitney Houston, relocating her to a rented beachside shack in Laguna, Los Angeles, and keeping her away from family and friends – and dealers – in New Jersey for months at a time.
Eventually, Whitney Houston felt strong enough to end her marriage to Bobby Brown. It had been the unhappiest of unions, raven by jealousy and drug use. They were divorced in 2007.
Whitney Houston said she and Bobby Brown started doing drugs together daily around the time of The Bodyguard film, and that Brown couldn’t handle her stardom.
“I think somewhere inside, something happens to a man when a woman has that much control or that much fame.”
Whitney Houston also said that he was unfaithful. “The only thing I did was the drugs. He was too promiscuous, dragging dirt into my home. It disturbed me.”
Getting her off drugs cost more than $1,300 a day for three years – the bill being picked up by Clive Davis. He also paid off a $1.2 million debt on her home.
The debt was pretty extraordinary given that Whitney Houston had sold more than 140 million albums worldwide by then. In the event, the subsequent album, I Look To You, was a damp squib. Released in 2009, her five-octave vocal register was gone thanks to smoking and crack use.
And when she launched the album at a hotel in London, it appeared that without the help of Warren Boyd she had fallen back into her old ways. A nugget of what seemed to be crack cocaine fell from one of her pockets.
There were repeated problems on the tour. Whitney Houston couldn’t hit the high notes and seemed to struggle even to chat with the audience. High-profile promotional gigs – singing on TV chat shows – revealed her ragged form.
And there were still plenty of signs of her infamous temperament. She wouldn’t film in the mornings, and refused all offers of live televised interviews. Clive Davis called her “the most impossible person” he had ever worked with.
Whitney Houston said repeatedly that her teenage daughter Bobbi Kristina helped her to sobriety. In 2009, she said: “She was with me every step of the way.” But the truth seems rather darker.
Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, now 19, was pictured last year snorting lines of cocaine at a party, smoking joints and drinking beer.
A former boyfriend told the National Enquirer magazine: “Krissi is addicted to cocaine. I’ve tried to stop her, but all she said was: <<I’m just like my mother!>>
“It was difficult to stop her from buying alcohol and drugs because her mother gave her $1,000 a week.”
Last May, Whitney Houston entered rehab for one final time. Sadly, it appears not to have worked. She was out of control on an airplane to Houston in the autumn, when she narrowly avoided arrest after refusing to buckle her seatbelt.
It seems that despite global fame and a constantly supportive family, nothing was enough to keep her clean.
“I have a mother who is very strong and a family that surround me and constantly tell me they love me. And my daughter is my greatest inspiration. She loves me,” Whitney Houston said in an interview earlier this year.
Whitney Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was reportedly taken to hospital today just hours after her mother was found dead in a hotel bathroom.
Bobbi Kristina, 18, was rushed out of the Beverly Hilton hotel on a stretcher at around 10:30 a.m. this morning. She was reportedly suffering from anxiety after learning of the devastating news.
It comes as the first picture emerged today of Whitney Houston’s on-off boyfriend Ray-J leaving the hotel with his head in his hands, completely distraught.
Whitney Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was reportedly taken to hospital today just hours after her mother was found dead in a hotel bathroom
Whitney Houston drowned alone in a bathtub having accidentally overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol after two back-to-back evenings of out-of-control binges, it has been claimed.
The singer was found dead under the water by her bodyguard in a luxury hotel suite said to have been littered with bottles of prescription pills. She was 48.
Ray-J mentioned “missed calls” from Whitney Houston, according to the International Business Times, adding: “We all gotta live with that.”
Paramedics battled to revive the singer but she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. yesterday afternoon, hours before she had been due to perform at a pre-Grammys party at the Beverly Hills Hilton in LA.
At first it was thought that Ray-J had found Whitney Houston’s body but a statement was later released by his spokesman saying “he was nowhere near the scene but no less distraught”.
According to reports on gather.com moments before the news broke, Ray-J was seen trying to console Bobbi Kristina, who was screaming, in the lobby of the hotel.
The singer/reality TV star and Whitney Houston dated between 2007 and 2009 but it was believed they had recently picked up their romance after being spotted at an LA restaurant.
Ray-J, 17 years younger than Whitney Houston, is the youngest brother of the singer Brandy and made a sex tape with Kim Kardashian in 2003 which was reportedly “leaked” on to the Internet.
Bottles of Lorazepam, Valium, Xanax and a sleeping medication were found in the hotel room, it has been claimed. The drugs were believed to have acted as sedatives, causing her to fall asleep in the bathtub once they had been mixed with alcohol from the previous evenings.
An autopsy is to be carried out today, according to TMZ, but the results will be delayed as toxicology tests must also be run.
Her frantic daughter Bobbi Kristina is understood to have got into a “furious screaming argument” with authorities who refused to let her into the hotel room to see the body of her dead mother. Friends of Whitney Houston’s cousin Dionne Warwick, who also went to the hotel to try to see the body, have said that she is “inconsolable”.
Police also turned away Ray-J from Whitney Houston’s suite on the fourth floor after he raced from his home following news of her death, reported TMZ.
Whitney Houston’s body remained at the hotel today where her family, including her daughter were paying their last respects, according to RadarOnline. Last night around 800 guests attended a pre-Grammys dinner at the hotel where Whitney Houston died.
Outside, fans gathered to mourn the star, leaving floral tributes and lighting candles.
The exact cause of death was not yet known. But on the Thursday evening before her death, Whitney Houston went on a wild binge in which she is said to have clashed with security guards. The next evening she “partied heavily, drank and chatted loudly” with friends at the hotel bar, claims TMZ.
According to Forbes, the night before Whitney Houston’s death, a hotel guest on the third floor beneath where the singer’s suite of rooms were located, had complained that water was pouring into his bathroom around 2:30 a.m.
Police have begun searching the hotel room for any signs of illegal drugs. The circumstances of the death are not thought to be suspicious but the authorities are investigating.
Whitney Houston tragically died Saturday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles at the age of 48 after partied the night before.
While the star’s cause of death is as yet unknown, it has been reported that Whitney Houston “partied heavily” the night before.
Whitney Houston died at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where she was staying in order to attend at perform at a pre-Grammys party hosted by Clive Davis.
According to TMZ, Whitney Houston was seen with a large group of friends at the hotel bar on the eve of her death.
Sources told TMZ that the group were drinking and being loud.
TMZ went on to allege that Whitney Houston and her friends stood out because of all the noise they were making, despite the fact that the hotel was abuzz with guests getting ready for the pre-Grammy festivities.
A spokesman for the local police department said that emergency services had been called to the hotel at 3:43 Saturday afternoon, arriving minutes later.
Officials rushed to the room on the fourth floor where Whitney Houston was staying as a guest, where they found security staff attempting to revive her.
Life-saving attempts were unsuccessful, and the singer was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.
According to TMZ, police have sealed off the hotel room where Whitney Houston died and will not be searching it until they have obtained a search warrant.
TMZ reports that their primary interest is to establish whether or not drugs were present in the room.
According to TMZ, Whitney Houston was seen with a large group of friends at the hotel bar on the eve of her death
Whitney Houston was spotted looking worse for wear on a night out with friends just two days before her death.
The singer had been a guest at the Kelly Price & Friends Unplugged: For The Love Of R&B Grammy Party at Tru Hollywood and had even performed during the night.
A witness told Us Weekly at the time that Whitney Houston had appeared “wasted” and “moody” as she exited the night club.
The source said: “She reacted angrily to the security guards trying to get her into her car…and started cussing them out.”
The observer went on to say that even though Whitney Houston was stopping and signing autographs for fans, “she would get moody again in a split second”.
The source added: “It was sad because her fans noticed that she was really shaky as she left the venue. She definitely was not in control of herself.”
Dressed all in black, Whitney Houston appeared angry and agitated as she left the venue and looked like she had partied a little hard.
Wearing a short black dress the star emerged with her hair messed up and gestured aggressively to the waiting photographers.
The release of the photos showing the star’s erratic behavior and disheveled look sparked concern over the singer’s health.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whitney Houston had a run-in with former X Factor contestant Stacy Francis that evening, after the star failed to remember the aspiring singer after she once pulled her onstage during one of her concerts.
A source told the website that Whitney Houston was “cordial at first” but the scene soon changed after Whitney’s friend, R&B star Ray J, stepped in.
An eyewitness said: “Whitney just got belligerent. Ray was trying to defend Stacy, telling Whitney, <<Stacy’s family!>>, but Whitney was feeling crowded out and hands were raised.”
The source added: “You didn’t know which way it could go there for a minute.”
When contacted by The Hollywood Reporter following the alleged incident, Stacy Francis said: “I have the utmost respect for Whitney Houston and her talent.”
However, Us Weekly reports that Whitney Houston “was fine” the following day as she conducted a sound-check to gear up for her performance at the pre-Grammys party.
A source told the magazine: “She was present and ready…She had water to keep her vocals clear, and was trying to not smoke.”
Whitney Houston has previously battled an addiction to crack cocaine and admitted to taking drugs with Bobby Brown during their turbulent 14 years of marriage.
Rapper Snoop Dogg launched a foul-mouthed attack on reality star Kim Kardashian in a new web video, Hollywood Reporter.
Snoop Dogg, 40, who uses his Nemo pseudonym in the clip, calls Kim Kardashian “cold blooded” and uses a series of misogynist terms to describe her.
In the video, which is running on the Hollywood Reporter, Snoop Dogg claims to be giving “advice” to Kim Kardashian’s ex husband Kris Humphries, telling him he’s just one of many men who have be burnt by the reality TV star.
Snoop Dogg name checks her other exes Reggie Bush and Ray J, the man with whom she made a notorious sex tape.
The rapper claims Kris Humphries, 26, made the mistake by marrying Kim Kardashian, 31, in the first place.
“You shouldn’t have tried to wife the b****,” Snoop Dogg says while smoking what appears to be a blunt, which is a cigar hollowed out and filled with marijuana.
“She’s cold-blooded, I’m pretty sure she’ll have a book in a month talking about all the n****s that she got and how she played them.”
Snoop Dogg, 40, who uses his Nemo pseudonym in the clip, calls Kim Kardashian “cold blooded” and uses a series of misogynist terms to describe her
The rapper continues: “So, my advice is you can’t make a ho a housewife. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”
Snoop Dogg makes several other crude references to Kim Kardashian.
It is unclear why Snoop Dogg decided to record the video and a spokesperson for Kim Kardashian had no comment.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian may be too busy celebrating to let it get her down – she has just won a recurring role on a TV show.
Kim Kardashian will appear in the fourth season of drama-comedy Drop Dead Diva – which stars Brooke D’Orsay as a lawyer who has inhabited the soul of a dead supermodel – and will begin production next month.
The reality star is in line play Nikki, who is a love interest for Ben Feldman’s alter-ego Fred, and her character is set to go into business with Stacy, who is played by former Two and a Half Men beauty April Bowlby.
Kim Kardashian wrote on her blog: “I am so excited to announce that I’ll be guest starring on <<Drop Dead Diva>> this summer. I can’t wait to get to work with everyone on set!”
Josh Berman, creator and executive producer of the programme, felt Kim Kardashian’s “humor and passion” made her the right person for the role.
He explained: “I’m ecstatic to welcome Kim to the Diva family.
“In discussing the role of Nikki with her, I’m blown away by her smarts, sense of humor, and passion. This series is all about reinvention and I’m so excited to see Kim ‘reinvented’ in the world of <<Drop Dead Diva>>.”
Kim Kardashian previously starred in Beyond the Break and had a guest role in CSI: NY.
Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from NBA star Kris Humphries this morning after just 72 days of marriage.
Kim Kardashian, 31, is seeking the divorce from husband Kris Humphries, 26, on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences”, according to the court documents.
Kim Kardashian said in a statement to E!, which screens her TV show:
“I hope everyone understands this was not an easy decision. I had hoped this marriage was forever, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned. We remain friends and wish each other the best.”
This morning Ryan Seacrest, the producer of Kim Kardashian‘s reality show, tweeted:
“Yes @KimKardashian is filing for divorce this morning. I touched base with her, getting a statement in just a few mins.”
Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from NBA star Kris Humphries this morning after just 72 days of marriage
Kim Kardashian ensured they both signed a prenuptial agreement before they got hitched at a lavish ceremony two months ago, on August 20 in Montecito, California.
It netted the couple a reported $18 million from magazine deals, TV coverage and endorsements, that’s $250,000 every day.
Today Kim took to Twitter, but rather than mentioning anything about her marital breakdown cynically plugged her new boutique Kardashian Khaos, which opens tomorrow at The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ separation is listed as today (October 31), according to the divorce papers logged with the Superior Court of California.
Kim Kardashian, 31, is seeking the divorce from husband Kris Humphries, 26, on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences", according to the court documents
The reality star has hired top divorce lawyer Laura Wasser, who has dealt with the likes of Britney Spears, Maria Shriver, Angelina Jolie and Ryan Reynolds.
Her husband, Kris Humphries didn’t know she was actually filing for divorce until this morning, TMZ reported.
TMZ goes on to claim that Kris Humphries is “totally bummed” about the situation and “doesn’t believe in divorce”.
E! TV today released a statement about Kim Kardashian’s divorce:
“All of us at E! are surprised and saddened by this news, and we send our support to Kim and Kris at this difficult time.
“The Kardashians have always been uniquely open with all aspects of their lives from joyous events to intimate moments to heartbreaking transitions.
“E! will continue to share the fascinating real lives and larger-than-life existence of this close-knit family.”
Earlier this month there were reports saying that Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ marriage had hit the rocks.
A source close to them said just two weeks ago: “I don’t know when they’ll announce the split or why they got married in the first place but they are done.”
“They are divorcing. Kim has been staying in a New York hotel which Kris has failed to visit.”
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries have been dogged by persistent reports that all is not well between them for several weeks now.
Star magazine claimed Kris Humphries has been spotted partying in both Miami and New York without Kim Kardashian, getting flirty with multiple women and “acting like a single man”.
Meanwhile, Life & Style magazine claimed that on a recent trip to Toronto, Kris Humphries contacted his ex-girlfriend, Bianka Kamber.
Life & Style magazine also spoke to a Kourtney & Kim Take New York producer who said: “Kim’s mapping out 2012, including holidays, and Kris isn’t a part of it. Any itineraries for the future don’t include Kris very much.”
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’ fiery relationship was captured on her reality show Keeping Up With Kardashians, where strong-minded Kris frequently complained about feeling “emasculated” by his wife.
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries started dating in December 2010 soon after she ended her brief dalliance with Canadian model Gabriel Aubry (Halle Berry’s ex) and announced their engagement in May.
The divorce will mark the second failed marriage for Kim Kardashian, she eloped to Las Vegas with music producer Damon Thomas – 10 years her senior – when she was just 19, but divorced in 2004 after four years together.
Kim Kardashian has also had high-profile relationships with RnB singer Ray J, who she filmed a sex tape with, and NFL star Reggie Bush.
Alexa Ray Joel revealed an ex-boyfriend gave her an STI, HPV, during a bizarre interview.
Alexa Ray Joel, 25, made the shocking revelation that she contracted HPV (human papillomavirus) while speaking with XO Jane.
During the interview XO Jane began talking about when an ex-boyfriend have given her a sexually transmitted disease, then Alexa Ray Joel, who is the daughter of Joel and Christine Brinkley, revealed she had contracted HPV.
Alexa Ray Joel said: “I had it. But I mean, a lot of people get it from my ex.
“I mean it was fine, you know. There are no side effects.
“You just go and get it taken care of.”
Alexa Ray Joel revealed an ex-boyfriend gave her an STI, HPV, during a bizarre interview
Alexa Ray Joel, who is also a singer and a songwriter just like her father, said:
“It’s something like, I think the statistics were something like 98% of people will have it.”
While Alexa Ray Joel revealed she was living with the ex, at the time she did not give the name of the man who she believes gave her the disease.
HPV, which has nearly 200 known types, causes no symptoms in most people some types can cause warts while others can lead to cancer in the genital areas.
In 2009, Alexa Ray Joel swallowed a handful of sleeping pills in what was reported as a suicide attempt following a break-up with her boyfriend.
After the ambulance came, Alexa Ray Joel was taken to New York’s St. Vincent’s Hospital where she was treated and released after a few hours.
In 2010, she spoke about the incident for the first time saying: “My West Village apartment never felt like my home. It was lonely. I was out of a relationship, and I was struggling with it. It was too big for me.”
“I have a flair for the dramatic,” Alexa Ray Joel told the New York Post of the incident.
“I got caught up in my own head. It was a panic. I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to feel what I was feeling at that moment anymore.”
Alexa Ray Joel’s drama was triggered by her split from boyfriend of five years, rock musician Jimmy Riot, whom she met when she was 19 and he was 34.
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