Whitney Houston, the queen of pop who won over generations with her powerful vocals, still captivates music lovers even after her tragic death. Fans often wonder – who was Whitney Houston married to? She tied the knot with R&B singer Bobby Brown in 1992 in a lavish wedding ceremony. However, their passionate and tempestuous marriage, plagued by drug abuse and volatility, ended in divorce in 2007. While Bobby Brown became Houston‘s most famous partner, she also shared deeply emotional bonds with other individuals, including Robyn Crawford, her longtime friend and rumored romantic partner. Houston‘s relationships provide a window into her complicated personal life that stood in stark contrast to her shining public persona.
Houston‘s Early Life and Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Whitney Houston displayed immense musical talents from a young age as the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston. She started performing as a child, initially singing in the New Hope Baptist Church choir in New Jersey where her family was based. As a teenager, Houston began accompanying her mother Cissy who was embarking on a musical career as a backup singer.
Houston‘s mesmerizing voice captured the attention of several industry bigwigs. She signed to Arista Records in 1983 at age 19, and her self-titled debut studio album Whitney Houston catapulted her into global superstardom in 1985. The album spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts and went on to sell over 25 million copies worldwide. Houston‘s early hits like "How Will I Know," "Greatest Love of All" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" showcased her incredible vocal range and cemented her status as America‘s pop sweetheart.
However, Houston reportedly struggled with the pressures of phenomenal fame from an early age. She started dabbling in drugs and toxic relationships, foreshadowing more troubled times ahead.
Houston‘s Tumultuous Marriage to Bobby Brown
Whitney Houston‘s most famous relationship was with R&B singer Bobby Brown. Houston met Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards ceremony. At the time, Houston was at the peak of her fame as the unassailable queen of pop music. On the other hand, Brown was best known for hits like "Don‘t Be Cruel" and "My Prerogative" that showcased his edgier style and bad boy persona. Despite their differing images, Houston and Brown hit it off instantly backstage at the awards event.
As described in Brown‘s memoir, the initial chemistry between the stars led to Houston sneaking into Brown‘s hotel room later that night, kicking off a passionate romance. Over the next three years, their affair grew steadily more serious. On July 18, 1992, Houston and Brown got married in a lavish ceremony attended by over 800 guests at Houston‘s New Jersey mansion. Reverend Marvin Winans officiated the wedding which garnered extensive media attention and was dubbed the "pop marriage of the decade."
Highs and Lows of Their Marriage
Houston and Brown‘s marriage was constantly in the spotlight and subjected to harsh scrutiny by both the media and the public. From the outset, their union was seen as odd and unlikely by many due to their contrasting images and music styles.
Early on in their marriage, Houston‘s career continued to rise. She starred in the blockbuster movie The Bodyguard in 1992 and recorded the bestselling movie soundtrack featuring iconic songs like "I Will Always Love You." Houston won three Grammys in 1994, including Record of the Year. In a shocking turn, at the height of her career, she began pulling back from touring and public appearances.
Brown‘s career, on the other hand, stalled during the ‘90s as Houston overshadowed him in popularity and success. According to Brown, he started heavily abusing drugs and alcohol out of frustration in his marriage. Houston reportedly joined him in substance abuse as a coping mechanism against the pressures of fame. Their drug usage intensified after the birth of their only child, Bobbi Kristina Brown, in 1993.
|Year||Highs and Lows|
|1992||Lavish star-studded wedding|
|1993||Birth of daughter Bobbi Kristina|
|1994||Houston peaked with The Bodyguard success|
|1998||Drug use exposed publicly|
|2000||Entered rehab after Hawaii drug arrest|
|2007||Finalized bitter divorce|
As drug dependency deepened, their relationship grew increasingly volatile. By the late ‘90s, there were multiple public incidents exposing the extent of their substance issues. In January 1998, pictures were published of drug paraphernalia lying around Houston‘s bathroom. In April 2000, airport security in Hawaii found them with marijuana leading to arrests and stints in drug rehab. After several attempts to salvage their marriage via counseling and treatment programs, Houston finally filed for divorce from Brown in 2006 which was finalized in 2007.
Speculation About Whitney‘s Bond with Robyn Crawford
While Bobby Brown was Whitney Houston‘s famous spouse, her closest friend was Robyn Crawford whom she met in 1980 as a teenager. Crawford became her loyal assistant and creative director at the start of Houston‘s music career. Rumors abounded that Houston and Crawford were involved romantically. However, Houston never confirmed or denied these claims.
In her memoir published in 2019, Crawford revealed details about her profound, albeit complicated, relationship with Houston. She described their meeting as teenagers in the summer of 1980 at a community center in East Orange, New Jersey. Houston was 16 years old while Crawford was 19. Recounting their first conversation, Crawford said Houston walked directly up to her and said "I‘m going to take care of you." From that moment, they formed an intense emotional bond and became inseparable.
Crawford left Houston‘s professional team in 1987 to start her own business. Her exit fueled speculation that they had ended a sexual relationship, which distressed Houston deeply. However, they reconnected as friends later on. In an interview, Crawford stated she never envisioned exposing the privacy of their bond. She only chose to write the memoir after Houston‘s shocking death in 2012 to "lift her legacy." Houston‘s estate later sued Crawford alleging her book breached a confidentiality agreement. This spotlighted the sensitivity and complexity still surrounding their relationship decades later.
Impact on Houston‘s Music and Struggles
Some music historians analyze how Houston‘s close friendship with Crawford influenced her artistry. The album Whitney released in 1987 is considered an important milestone in Houston‘s musical progression. Songs like "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" exhibited a mature vulnerability highlighting heartbreak and inner turmoil.
Experts deduce some tracks potentially relate to Houston‘s reported romantic struggles during her evolving dynamic with Crawford. Beyond its impact on her music, their steadfast friendship provided Houston with emotional support as she grappled with fame, family pressures, and addictions. However, their bond was also strained by external scrutiny, causing deep anguish for Houston.
Other Important Relationships
Collaborator Randy Crawford
While lesser known than Bobby or Robyn Crawford, singer-songwriter Randy Crawford developed a close working relationship with Houston. As an acclaimed jazz and R&B artist, Crawford collaborated with Houston on several songs. He produced the song "Just Whitney" for her second album titled Whitney in 1987. According to Crawford, their shared background in New Jersey gospel choirs led to an instant synergy in the studio. Crawford called her an "angel" and admired Houston for her authenticity.
Inspiration Dylan Thomas
Renowned Welsh poet Dylan Thomas had a profound impact on Houston as an artist. In multiple interviews, she credited his works as the catalyst that sparked her love for singing. Houston first discovered Thomas‘s writings as a teen through his 1952 poetry collection In Country Sleep And Other Poems. She was inspired by his vivid imagery and emotional weight. Houston said she would memorize and recite his poems often, understanding them as songs before she learned to sing. This early literary influence stuck with Houston and fueled her artistic passions through the trajectory of her musical career.
Conclusion: Relationships Defined Houston‘s Journey
In exploring the question "Who was Whitney Houston married to?" the complex portrait of a multifaceted icon emerges. Her marriage to Bobby Brown has become an indelible part of her story as a dramatic relationship that amplified her struggles. However, it was just one aspect of Houston‘s intricate web of bonds that profoundly impacted her life. From her closest confidante Robyn Crawford to collaborators like Randy Crawford, these connections provided creative inspiration. At other times, her relationships fueled self-destructive tendencies when combined with the pressures surrounding Houston‘s artistic brilliance. While impossible to definitively classify each relationship, together they framed an emotional journey that powered Houston‘s timeless musical genius.
FAQs About Whitney Houston‘s Relationships
Who was Whitney Houston married to?
Whitney Houston was married to R&B singer Bobby Brown from 1992 to 2007. Their relationship was turbulent and amplified Houston‘s substance abuse issues before ending in divorce.
What was Robyn Crawford‘s relationship to Whitney Houston?
Robyn Crawford was a close friend of Whitney‘s from teenage years and later became her assistant. Persistent rumors alleged Houston and Crawford were romantically involved, which Houston never openly confirmed or denied.
How did Whitney Houston‘s marriage affect her career?
Houston‘s professional success declined after her marriage to Bobby Brown as she stopped touring and had diminishing album sales, likely due to her escalating drug dependence.
Did Whitney Houston have children?
Yes, Houston had one daughter named Bobbi Kristina Brown with ex-husband Bobby Brown, born in 1993.
How did other relationships influence Whitney Houston‘s music?
Collaborators like Randy Crawford and poetic inspirations like Dylan Thomas had significant creative impacts on Houston. Her bond with Robyn Crawford also potentially fueled the vulnerability in albums like Whitney.