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Whitney Houston: Biography, Family, Career and What Whitney Houston Died From?

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer and actress. She was born on August 9, 1963, and passed away on February 11, 2012. She has sold over 200 million records all around the world, earning her the nickname “The Voice,” and making her one of the most successful music artists of all time.  Houston is noted for her strong, soulful vocals as well as her skills in vocal improvisation. She has had a major influence on many vocalists working in popular music. Beginning with “Saving All My Love for You” in 1985 and continuing through

“Where Do Broken Hearts Go” in 1988, she is the only artist to have ever achieved seven consecutive number-one songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition to this, Houston’s foray into the film industry contributed to the rise of her fame. Both a great deal of success and a lot of controversies have been generated by her works, which include records and films.

Whitney Houston

She was honoured with several prestigious awards during her lifetime as well as posthumously. These honours include two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, and 28 entries in the Guinness World Records. Additionally, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, and the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Houston was born and raised in the state of New Jersey, and she comes from a family of well-known singers. Her mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, her cousin Dionne Warwick, and her godmother Aretha Franklin are all members of this family. Houston began her singing career at a young age, performing in a junior gospel choir and providing background vocals for several singers, including her mother, the Michael Zager Band, and the Grammy Award-winning Chaka Khan. Her career as a fashion model took off, and she started appearing in publications like Seventeen, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.
1963–1984: Beginnings of life and a professional career

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, in a neighbourhood that at the time was considered to have a middle-income population.  She was the daughter of John Russell Houston Jr., a former member of the Army who later worked as an administrator for the city of Newark, and gospel singer Emily “Cissy” (Drinkard) Houston.

Her older brother Michael is a songwriter, while her older half-brother Gary Garland is a singer and a former basketball player. Gary Garland is her older brother. It is believed that she is of African-American, Dutch, and Native American descent in addition to having African-American parents.  The singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick were Houston’s first cousins; Houston’s maternal grandmother was Warwick. Darlene Love was chosen to be her godmother. Aretha Franklin served as her honorary aunt,  and she was named after her.  who she first met when she was eight or nine years old and her mother took her to a recording studio for the first time. Although Houston was brought up in the Baptist faith, she was also familiar with the Pentecostal religion. When she was four years old, her family relocated to a middle-class neighbourhood in East Orange, New Jersey, following the civil unrest that occurred in Newark in 1967.  After some time, her parents got a divorce.

Houston Began Her Musical Career at the New Hope Baptist Church, Where She Was a Member of the Chorus

Houston started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark when she was eleven years old. It was at this church that she also learned how to play the piano.

Whitney Houston

It was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” that she sang for the first time in the church as a solo performance.


Cissy, Houston’s mother, continued to coach her daughter in the art of singing even while Houston was still a student.

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Cissy was a part of the ensemble Sweet Inspirations, which not only sang backing vocals for Elvis Presley but also performed as his opening act. When Houston was a teenager, she travelled around to different nightclubs where Cissy was performing, and Houston would sometimes join Cissy onstage and perform alongside her. The music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, all of whom would have an influence on Houston as a singer and performer, was also played for her growing up.  In 1977, when she was only 14 years old, she participated as a backup singer on the single “Life’s a Party” recorded by the Michael Zager Band.  Around the age of 16, Houston provided backing vocals for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls on the albums Naughty and Shades of Blue, respectively, which were both released in 1980.

She received her high school education at Mount Saint Dominic Academy in Caldwell, New Jersey, a Catholic girls’ high school; Houston graduated from there in 1981.

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Houston first became acquainted with Robyn Crawford when she was in her teens. She later referred to Crawford as the “sister she never had.”  Crawford ended up becoming Houston’s best friend, roommate, and executive assistant throughout their relationship.  Following Houston’s meteoric rise to fame, rumours began spreading that she and Crawford were an item; however, both of them refuted these rumours in 1987.  In 2019, several years after Houston’s passing, Crawford revealed that their early connection had involved sexual intercourse, but that Houston had stopped this because she was afraid of the responses of other people. [Crawford’s statement came]

How Much Money Did Whitney Houston Have in the Bank?

At the time of her passing, singer, model, and actress Whitney Houston had a negative net worth of $20 million. Houston’s career spanned music, modelling, and acting. Despite having signed a contract worth $100 million at one point and having sold over 200 million CDs throughout her career.

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Houston left her record label Sony with a debt of about $20 million when she passed away in February of 2012.


A total of approximately $40 million was brought into Whitney Houston’s estate in the nine months after her passing.

Whitney Houston

The meteoric rise in Whitney’s record and single sales was the primary contributor to the great majority of this windfall’s earnings. Her estate also benefitted from the release of the film “Sparkle,” in which Whitney both acted and executive produced. “Sparkle” was one of her most successful projects. The executors of Whitney’s estate were able to pay off the majority of the singer’s obligations and put aside a staggering $20 million for the benefit of Bobbi Kristina.

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