Whitney Houston’s first eponymous album was released in 1985 to critical and commercial success, spawning the hits “Saving All My Love for You” (for which she won her first Grammy), “How Will I Know,” “You Give Good Love” and “The Greatest Love of All.”
Her 1987 follow up smash Whitney would also go on to sell millions, and included the singles “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Houston wowed audiences with her flawless rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Superbowl. Many would agree that this performance cemented her role as the queen of pop.
1992 filmThe Bodyguard allowed Houston to conquer yet another popular medium: the mainstream film. In addition to box office success, the late pop star also scored chart-topping hits including a beautiful remake of “I Will Always Love You” through the film.
1992 was also the year that Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown. While at first many saw her marriage to the R&B bad boy as a negative influence on her, eventually it came to light that Houston had many demons of her own.
Despite her unpopular choice for a marriage partner, Whitney Houston’s star continued to rise via the silver screen. Between 1995 and 1996, Houston appeared in Waiting to Exhale (shown above) and The Preacher’s Wife. Both soundtracks became hits through her contributions.
By the late ‘90s, Houston would have a daily drug problem, she would later admit in a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey. Despite her personal trials, her 1998 album My Love is Your Love would garner her a Grammy Award for the hit “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
Houston’s horrifically thin appearance at a 2001 Michael Jackson tribute concert was so troubling that rumors spread that she had died the next day. Soon her strange behavior on the show Being Bobby Brown with her then-husband would further cement the belief that she was on a downward spiral.
Despite these struggles, after years of erratic behavior, Houston staged a successful comeback with the 2009 album, I Look to You, which went platinum.
In the final months of her life, Houston was producing a remake of the ‘70s film Sparkle, starring herself and Jordin Sparks. The movie was set to be released in August.
In the last weeks of her life, Houston was rumored to be “broke” — allegations that were shot down by her inner circle. Her tragic death at 48 comes as an even greater shock, and belies that perhaps Whitney’s final days were rockier than her friends let on. May she rest in peace.
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Whitney Houston died at the age of 48 one year ago today, a fact that still has the world reeling despite signs that her life has been troubled for several years.
Even after her admissions to drug addiction in the past, and several apparent relapses, the public seemed to retain hope that Houston’s once-gilded voice would return to its previous pop splendor.
Yet, tragically, Houston could not transform her path of self-destruction into a sustainable, life-affirming journey, despite many attempts recently to resurrect her once-stellar career.
Here, we recollect the most memorable moments in the trajectory of Whitney Houston’s life, from the highs to the lows of her fame. Her cultural contributions made us laugh, dance, smile and sing — before the demon of substance abuse robbed her of her gift and control over her existence.