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Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1963 to John Houston and Cissy Houston, a gospel singer. Dionne Warwick is her cousin and Aretha Franklin is her godmother. By age 11 Whitney was following in her mother's footsteps and was performing in the junior gospel choir at their New Hope Baptist Church. Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs with her mother while Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her mother. Then in 1978, at age fifteen, she got a big break, singing background vocals on Chaka Khan's hit single "I'm Every Woman;" a song she would later turn into a hit for herself on her massive-selling soundtrack album The Bodyguard. Around this time Whitney Houston also started working as a fashion model. She appeared in Seventeen Magazine and later became one of the first African-American women to appear on the teen magazine's cover. Houston signed with Arista in 1983 and had her first To 5 R&B hit with a single released in 1984. Whitney Houston released her debut album Whitney Houston in 1985, which became the best-selling debut album by a female artist according to the music magazine Billboard magazine. In 1986 she lands the cover of People magazine as "America's Top New Star." Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard magazine's Top 200 albums chart. From her first two albums and beyond, Whitney Houston became one of the most successful female singers of all time. She has won seven Grammy Awards and been nominated 26 times. In 1989 Whitney met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the Soul Train Music Awards. Bobby Brown was also a successful performer, having had several hits with his group New Edition and later as a solo artist. Bobby and Whitney married on July 18, 1992 on the grounds of Whitney's home in Mendham, New Jersey. Later in 1993 they welcomed daughter Bobby Kristina Houston Brown. Following her marriage to Bobby Brown, Houston achieved phenomenal success with her the movie The Bodyguard in 1992. The movie's original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and became the world's best-selling soundtrack of all time. Its single, "I Will Always Love You," became one of the best-selling singles in music history. Much to the chagrin of Whitney's fans, soon after her success with The Bodyguard, rumors that the singer was using drugs with her husband circulated in celebrity magazines like People magazine, Us Weekly magazine and OK! magazine after she missed performances, airport security discovered marijuana in her luggage and appeared to sustain a dramatic weight loss. By 2000 she was again on the cover of People magazine, this time under the headline, "Whitney's
Troubled Times." In 2002, Houston did an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her upcoming album. During the prime-time special, Houston spoke on topics including rumored drug use and marriage. She was asked about the ongoing drug rumors and replied, "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. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." Houston did, however, admit to using various substances at times. Despite her erratic behavior and seemingly destructive marriage, Houston continued to star in feature films and contributed to soundtracks. She renewed her recording contract with Arista Records in 2001 for an unprecedented $100 million dollars. She subsequently released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney the following year with her sixth studio album One Wish: The Holiday Album being released in 2003. Finally after years of personal and professional turmoil, Whitney Houston ended her marriage to Bobby Brown in 2006. The singer gave her first interview in seven years, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey show in September. In the interview Houston admitted she was addicted to crack cocaine and weed and that Bobby Brown was emotionally abusive. With her new album I Look to You, Whitney Houston's has her first number one album since The Bodyguard, and her first studio album to reach number one since 1987's Whitney.
About this Author For more, visit http://www.magazines.com/category/entertainment-tv Jessica Vandelay is a freelance writer in New York City.
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