Birth & Death:
Born: Aug. 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. Raised in East Orange, NJ.
Died: Feb. 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.
Whitney's ex-husband, whom she married on July 18, 1992 and divorced on April 27, 2007, is R&B singer Bobby Brown, who first found stardom in the 1980s boy band New Edition and later became a solo star in his own right.
Whitney is also the daughter of Grammy-winning Gospel/Soul singer Cissy Houston and is cousins with singers Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick.
Aretha Franklin was Whitney's godmother.
Whitney Houston spent the first few years of her life in Newark, New Jersey, but her family moved to East Orange when she was 4, and that's the city she grew up in. as a member of an extended family that had a history of performing. She began performing in church as a young child, and in her pre-teens had become a soloist and piano player. While attending Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Roman Catholic girls prep school for grades 9-12, she spent some of her free time with her mother Cissy touring nightclubs as a vocalist. When she was 15, Whitney sang background vocals on Chaka Khan's 1978 hit "I'm Every Woman."
In 1983, when she was 20, Whitney signed a contract with the Arista Records label. Her self-titled debut album was released in March 1985 and spawned three No. 1 singles, "Saving All My Love For You," "How Will I Know," and "Greatest Love of All." To date, the album has sold over 13 million copies in the U.S. Her other albums from the 1980s and early '90s all were highly successful and featured such hits as "I'm Your Baby Tonight," (1990) "My Name is Not Susan" (1991) and "I Will Always Love You," the latter of which was featured in her film debut, the movie "The Bodyguard," which she starred in with Kevin Costner.
Although she spent much of the late 1980s and 1990s on top of the music world, her success tapered off after her marriage to Bobby Brown. Her behavior became erratic, she lost a significant amount of weight and rumors of heavy drug usage circled the couple. She eventually admitted in a 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer that she had dabbled in drugs, but denied being a crackhead. In 2004, she and her then-husband starred in a documentary-style reality show called "Being Bobby Brown," which further fueled the rumors. Whitney & Bobby separated in 2006 and divorced the next year. She released a comeback album, I Look to You in 2009.
Whitney Houston died at the age of 48 In Beverly Hills, California. On Feb. 11, 2012 she was found unresponsive in a bathtub in the room she'd been staying in at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, and was pronounced dead by paramedics just before 4 pm. She had been in town for the 2012 Grammys, which took place the day after her death.
"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." -- to Diane Sawyer of ABC News, 2002.
2009: I Look to You
2003: One Wish: The Holiday Album
2002: Just Whitney
1998: My Love Is Your Love
1990: I'm Your Baby Tonight
1985: Whitney Houston
1998: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for "It's Not Right, But It's Okay."
1994: Album of the Year Grammy for The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album.
1994: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for the song "I Will Always Love You."
1994: Record of the Year Grammy for "I Will Always Love You."
1988: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)."
1986: Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her performance at the 1986 Grammys.
1986: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for "Saving All My Love For You."