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Whitney Houston:Did Drugs Steel Whitney's Houston's Soul and Kill Her?

Updated on November 29, 2013

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston, the religious singer turned pop powerhouse.
Whitney Houston, the religious singer turned pop powerhouse. | Source

At one time Whitney Houston had it all; the fairly tale life of a princess. The public loved her, because of her sweetness and powerful, yet angelic voice that spanned three octaves. Her music topped the charts, and she sold million of albums, and eventually ventured into a movie career.

Then slowly drug use chipped away at her soul and crumbled her castle, and out of the rubble came a skinny, incoherent, erratic, disheveled women who could no longer sing.

Years later, while she was on her way to a possible comeback, her life ended abruptly, in a hotel in Beverly Hills. Her story, would have been so much more beautiful, and ended so differently had she never touched cocaine.

The World Met Whitney In 1985

Although Whitney's voice didn't tantalize the world's eardrums until 1985, she started her career as a child singing in church. Later, she sang backup for singers Jermaine Jackson, Lou Rawls and Chaka Khan. It wasn't until music mogul Clive Davis heard her perform at a nightclub in New York that a star was born. Part of her charm then, was that she could wear anything from T-shirts to formal gowns demonstrating her fun-loving style.

1986 Grammys

Whitney's Rise

Whitney Houston's official website claims that she sold over 170 million albums world-wide. During that time, she released seven albums, three movies with an equal number of sound tracks. She won six Grammys, 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Awards and two Emmys.

Whitney Set Records

Her 1985 album simply named “Whitney Houston,” sold millions and had multiple hits like “Saving All My Love For You,” “Greatest Love Of All,” and “How Will I Know.”

Whitney's follow up multi-platinum album in 1987 “Whitney” set a precedent as the first for any female singer to enter No. 1 in the Billboard charts. Her hits included "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

Whitney Houston Movies

What is your favorite Whitney Houston Movie?

See results

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Whitney's third album released in 1990 was more R & B and included the hit “I’m Your Baby Tonight.”

The song, I'm Your Baby Tonight, started at number 22 on the Billboard 200 chart. In the song's second week, it jumped to the number 5 spot, and the following week peaked at number 3.

In 1991 Whitney Houston performed a moving rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl.

1992 - 1998

In 1992, she started acting and starred in "The Bodyguard," with Kevin Costner. Her version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," in that movie topped the charts for weeks and garnered her the best female pop vocal and album of the year.

In 1995 and 1996 she returned to the movie set for “Waiting to Exhale,” and “The Preacher's Wife.”

In 1998 she won the Grammy for best female R & B "It's Not Right But It's Okay."

I Will Always Love You

Whitney's Drug Abuse

Whitney Houston's spiral into drug abuse took a toll on her appearance and sucked the life out of her voice.

Whitney's Marriage And Daughter's Birth

In 1992 Whitney fell in love and married Bobby Brown. At the time, some thought she married him to dispel rumors that she was leaning towards the white pop culture rather than her black R & B roots. As a result, Whitney was booed at the 1989 Soul Train Awards.

In 1993 Whitney gave birth to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina.

Whitney and Bobbi Kristina

Whitney Houston with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina.
Whitney Houston with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina. | Source
Drug addiction takes its toll on Whitney Houston.
Drug addiction takes its toll on Whitney Houston. | Source

Whitney's Marriage Was Destructive

Their union was tumultuous at best. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2009 Whitney portrayed it as a turbulent and passionate marriage that was blemished by drug abuse, physical confrontations, psychological abuse and professional jealousy. The marriage ended in divorce in 2007.

The Drugs Took Over 2000 - 2012 Timeline of Whitney's Life

2000: Whitney was arrested in Hawaii for possession of marijuana, but the charges were later dropped.

2001: It was rumored she had passed a away after viewers were shocked by her astonishingly frail appearance at Michael Jackson's tribute concert.

2002: During an interview with Diane Sawyer, Whitney Houston admitted to using cocaine, prescription drugs, marijuana and alcohol but was adamant that she didn't do crack because crack was what she called "a poor man's drug".

2002: Her album “Just Whitney,” lashed out at the media and insisted her loyalty lay with her then-husband.

2004: Whitney entered rehab and returned later the next year.

2005: On her husband's reality show, her jittery appearance and crude behavior demonstrated her decline. She eventually left the spotlight for a couple of years.

2006: Her mom, Cissy Houston, performed an intervention, and a year later she divorced Bobby.

2009: Whitney came out with her album “I look at You” which eventually went platinum; it included her song “I Didn't Know My Own Strength.” She embarked on her “Nothing But Love Comeback Tour.” Most of her tour dates were sold out, but a lot of fans complained that her voice was no longer up to par, which led to some canceled shows. She couldn't get through the sets without frequent breathlessness and breaks.

2010: Whitney told Oprah that by the time the “Preacher's Wife” was released, drugs were and had been a daily habit for a couple of years. She would go to work and then do drugs, but claimed at the time of Oprah's interview; she was drug-free.

2011: In May, her battle continued, and she enrolled in an out-patient rehabilitation program.

2012: Whitney Houston is found dead in a hotel bathtub, by her assistant on February 11.

A Healthy Whitney in 2009

Whitney Houston in Central Park 2009
Whitney Houston in Central Park 2009 | Source

Was Whitney On Her Way Back?

Whitney's final performance was on Thursday February 9, 2012, and she was to perform again, the evening of her death on February 11th. She recently returned to the movie set to do a movie due to be released in August of 2012, called “Sparkle" and is based loosely on The Supremes.

Although she looked beautiful Thursday, you could tell that what was once a driving force in her life and her way of communicating with the masses - her amazing voice - had lost its shine.

Whitney Houston brought so much joy to the world and brightened the lives of anyone who heard her sing. Drugs took that light. More importantly it ripped apart a mother and daughter.

If you are even thinking about trying drugs, please remember Whitney Houston and all the others that have been stolen from us before their time.

It's a battle that can never be won. Drugs are a force stronger than any human can withstand.

Whitney Houston's Death

On February 11, 2012 Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel by her assistant.

How Did Whitney Houston Die? Coroner's Report said: Accidental drowning, cocaine use, and heart disease.

According to coroner officials, her death was caused by accidental drowning, but cocaine use and heart disease were contributing factors.

Although Marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril and Benadryl were also found in her system, coroners did not contribute these drugs to her death, because the amounts were not significant enough.

However, the cocaine metabolites found in her system were listed as contributing to her death. The Coroner's spokesman, Craig Harvey says that the results indicated she was a chronic cocaine user.

How can her death be caused by drowning and a combination of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine?

According to an interview with professor Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, the fact that all these causes were flagged by the coroner suggest that an interplay of factors led to her death. To read more of Dr. Kobilinsky's interview and explanation, click the link below.

Whitney Houston's autopsy: How can drowning, cocaine and heart disease all be blamed?

Did Drugs Steal Whitney's Houston's Soul?


Whitney's Last Performance

Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"

It's no surprise that a greatest-hits album was released after Whitney's untimely death, and I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston was the first.

The album is an 18-track collection with two new songs - I Look to You," a duet with R. Kelly, and "Never Give Up." Although they’re great songs, the album concentrates more on Whitney’s big hits, which slightly takes away from their spotlight.

Along with the ultra-powerful hit, I Will Always Love You, the album captures her fun and emotional sides, as well. Other songs include:

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

How Will I Know

The Greatest Love Of All

Exhale (shoop shoop)

I Look to You

How Will I Know

This album is ideal for fans who love Whitney’s diva side, but not those who love her older hits.

What happiness did Whitney Houston bring you?
What happiness did Whitney Houston bring you? | Source


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    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      7 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      You're right Joanne, it was the situation she was in when she was starting out in her career that led to the choices she made later in life. Thank you for bringing these to light.

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 

      7 years ago

      I adored Whitney and I think that there will never be another like her. It's easy to blame the drugs on her demise and we all have but the underlying problem was the fact that at her early age, she was seduced into the life of celebrity by Clive Davis. He basically told her, when she was signing with Arista Records that they needed to change her image so that she would appeal to white people. He controlled everything she was and did. She could never be herself and that is what drove her to drugs.

      I am still brokenhearted over her death. She was one of a kind.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      7 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      HI JoAnne. I loved Whitney too. Haters are so annoying because they usually don't know what they're talking about.

    • JoAnne Culley profile image

      Jo-Anne Culley 

      7 years ago

      I love Whitney.. She still sang wonderfully... For the haters out there who said her voice messed up is dead wrong... RIP Whitney Houston (from one EO native to another)

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      I would like to thank guest KSmalls for her personal input into addiction, as a recovering addict.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      suzettenaples: Thank you very much for your comments. My heart goes out to Bobbi Kristina too, she's so young. She is having a hard time dealing with her loss.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      pmccray: Thank you. I agree that those pushing her for a comeback have a lot to do with it. They definitely didn't give much consideration or thought into what was good for Whitney.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      As a recovering addict myself, I was sadden by the death of Whitney Houston. With 16 years of soberity I feel that Whitney should have taken time off from her business schedule called show business and went straight to business of recovery. In her situation a period of

      2-3 years would have been enough to really get her act together as far as living a sober life style. This means a life style change and change is a hard thing to do without support of those who are suffering from addiction that want to recover from this disease. Addiction is a chronic illness like all other illnesses, but people do recover. In Whitney's case I don't think she use the material she was given depending on the services she opted for. There were reports that she'd stop using illicit drugs for several years, but addicts do subsitute one drug for another. And prescription medications mixed with alcohol is a dangerous combination, as a result can lead to death. And we heard of this for decades and it's becoming a bigger problem today more than ever.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      8 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is an outstanding retrospective of Whitney Houston's life. And, the list of her drug use is interesting. She really did a lot of damage to herself in the last 12 years through drug and alcohol use. Those that get into drug addiction have two futures possible: jail or death. You are correct when you say the drug addiction always wins unless the person is diligent and works hard to be sober every day. That's hard to do when you are in the spotlight trying to have a singing career. My heart goes out to Bobbi Kristina. It is so sad she lost her mother so young.

    • pmccray profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      Drugs were only partly to blame. Those close to her who pushed her back into working on a comeback are just as much to blame. Dr Drew stated the other night that Robert Downey Jr took off an entire year and focused on his rehab, and this should have been the focus for Whitney.

      Chaka Khan has said the same thing, she is 7 years clean of her addictions and said during an interview that Houston had no business in Los Angeles, a week ahead of her appearance at the Grammys. Khan says that she arrives the day before her appearances or the day of, this prevents cavorting with the wrong people and falling back into old habits. 50% of the blame is on Whitney, she's an adult who made bad choices. A beautiful multi-talented woman, gone too soon. RIP

      Thank you for sharing, voted up, marked interesting

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      Hi Tammy. Thanks a lot for stopping by and your kind comments.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      Hi. John,thanks for stopping by my hub. Wow she really got into self medicating in a very unproductive way.

    • KoraleeP profile imageAUTHOR

      Koralee Phillips 

      8 years ago from Vancouver British Columbia Canada

      Thanks. I agree with you that the drug use wouldn't help. I really hope that she didn't commit suicide. That would be so hard on her daughter.

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost Winters 

      8 years ago from Oregon

      Great way to bring it altogether. Thanks for this Hub. It will be a popular one.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 

      8 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Great hub - and just at the right time I might add.

      Yes, Whitney was a great diva of popular music - hands down! However, her drug addiction couldn't not have helped. I heard a recorded interview on the radio yesterday from 2002. She was asked (Oprah, not sure who though....) what drugs she took: cocaine, prescription, alcohol, you name it.... She said "all!"

      Voted up on your hub


    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      8 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I also wonder if drugs were to blame for her death. I have a feeling that even if her death wasn't directly caused by drug abuse, the drug abuse didn't help...great the videos...


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