A Timeline Of Whitney Houston’s Battle With Drug Abuse

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By Rob Markman

Whitney Houston was found dead at the age of 48 on Saturday (February 11) but her legacy will live on, thanks to a celebrated discography, which included albums like her 1985 self-titled debut and hits such as “I Will Always Love You,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Outside of her success, however, Houston fought a long, public battle with addiction that made her a prime target for tabloid scrutiny over the past few years.

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1992: On July 18, Houston marries R&B star Bobby Brown. Rumors of drug abuse begin to surface in the years to come. In a 2009 interview, two years after their divorce, Houston goes in-depth about the couple’s volatile relationship on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

2000: In the 1980s and 1990s, Houston was an American sweetheart, releasing #1 singles, involving herself in multiple charities and singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991. Houston’s troubles with the law begin at the turn of the new millennium after security in Hawaii’s Keahole-Kona Airport finds marijuana in her handbag in January. She is hit with a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, but it’s dropped months later.

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2001: Rampant rumors of drug use swirl around Houston, and after she appeared thinner than usual during a Michael Jackson commemorative concert, the tabloids have a field day. Houston’s then-publicist refutes rumors that the singer had died of a drug overdose. “Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress, she doesn’t eat,” the publicist says in a statement.

2002: In a “Primetime” interview with Diane Sawyer, Houston addresses the rumors of her drug use. While she admits to using alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs, the vibrant vocalist emphatically denies reports that she’s addicted to crack. “Crack is cheap. I make too much for me to ever smoke crack,” she says. “Let’s get that straight, OK? I don’t do crack. I don’t do that. Crack is whack.”

2004: Even after her gut-wrenching interview with Diane, Houston’s drug problems persist. In 2004, for the first reported time, she enters a facility for drug rehabilitation. She would once again return to rehab a year later in 2005.

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2007: Many attributed Houston’s troubles to her rocky marriage to Bobby Brown. In 2006, she filed for divorce, and the next year, she officially splits from the New Edition frontman, winning custody of their daughter Bobbi Kristina.
2009: During a September 2009 sit-down with Oprah Winfrey, Houston opens up about her relationship with Brown. “He was my drug,” she tells Oprah. Houston admits to getting high with her ex-husband and even revealed that Brown had slapped her in the past.

2010: In the 2000s, Houston had begun to lose her footing in music, but in 2010, she hits the road on her Nothing But Love comeback tour. The run is marred by bad reviews.

2011: In May, the singer, still battling drug and alcohol abuse, voluntarily enrolls in an outpatient rehabilitation program.

2012: On Saturday, February 11, Houston is found dead at age 48 in a Los Angeles hotel. While her troubles were well-documented, she left behind an equally unforgettable musical legacy.