Whitney Houston was born in 1963 in New Jersey. Her mother, first cousin (Dionne Warwick) and godmother (Aretha Franklin) were all established Gospel/R&B/Soul singers. At the age of eleven, Houston began performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at her church and began to accompany her mother in concert. In 1978, she sang back up for her mother and several other established artists like Chaka Khan, Jermain Jackson and Lou Rawls.
In the early 1980s, Whitney Houston began to model in a variety of advertisements and even apperaed on the cover of Seventeen magazine. She began working with producers and contributed material to the album One Down, credited to the group Material. The album was planned to have eight songs, each with a different vocalist. Houston appeared n the song 'Memories.'
While Whitney Houston had been offered several record deals (first from Michael Zager in 1980 and then by Elektra Records in 1981), she rejected all offers. That is of course, until in 1981 Clive Davis, head of Arista Records took time to see her and offered a worldwide-contract. Hoston accepted and worked on her debut album, which would take over two years.
When her self-titled debut album was released in 1985, it would establish Whitney Houston as a household name. The album started slowly until its first single 'You Give Good Love' was released, reaching the top five on the R&B charts. The next three singles drove the album to success as 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'How Will I Know,' and 'Greatest Love Of All' all reached number one. The album sold twenty-four million copies worldwide and had over thirteen million sales in the U.S. It was the best-selling debut album by a female artist up to that point and won Whitney Houston a Grammy Award for 'Saving All My Love For You.'
Her follow up album Whitney, was released in 1987 with similar success. It was the first album by a female artist ever to debut at #1 and sold over nineteen million copies worldwide and nine million in the US. All four singles 'I wanna Dance With Somebody,' 'Didn't We Almost Have It All,' 'So Emotional,' and 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go' went to #1, breaking a record shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees for most consecutive Hot 100 # 1 hits (Houston had seven). Her single 'One Moment In Time' for the 1988 Olympics made it to the top five in the US and #1 in the UK.
Whitney Houston's third album I'm Your Baby Tonight was released in 1990. It did not sell as well as her earlier albums but it still sold twelve million worldwide and four million in the US. The first two singles 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' and 'All The man That I Need' were both #1 hits.
Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown in 1992 at the dawn of her acting career. Her movie The Bodyguard was a commercial success bringing in over $120 million in the US and $410 million worldwide. However, what the movie was most significant for was it's soundtrack which sold over thirty-seven million copies worldwide, with nineteen million in the US. The album's immense sales set a record for biggest selling soundtrack and best selling female album of all time. The single 'I Will Always Love You' sold nine million copies worldwide and spent a record-breaking fourteen weeks at number one on the Hot 100. The single is still the best-selling single by a female artist.
In 1993 she gave birth to her first and only child, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown and won three Grammy Awards, a record breaking eleven Billboard Music Awards and a record eight American Music Awards.
Her second movie, Waiting to Exhale was released in 1995 and grossed $70 million in the US. The single 'Exhale' made it to number one. The Preachers Wife, a 1996 film starring Whitney Houston, grossed close to $50 million and saw Houston returning to gospel. The album sold five million copies, setting the record for best selling gospel album. In 1997, she starred in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, a made for TV movie alongside Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg. The show had a record breaking sixty million U.S. viewers and is the best-selling video for a made-for-TV film.
In 1997, Houston released the album My Love Is Your Love. It was initially planned to be a greatest hits album but recording went so well it was expanded into a full length album. It sold over ten million copies and won a Grammy Award for the single 'It's Not Right, but It's Okay.' The single 'When You Believe,' a duet with Mariah Carey recorded for The Prince of Egypt soundtrack won an Academy Award.
Trouble arose in 2000 when Whitney Houston and her husband were stopped at an airport for carrying marijuana. Charges dropped but rumors arose of drug use. In further bad news, Houston developed a reputation for cancelling tour dates as she cancelled several shows due to air pollution which has a negative effect on her vocal cords. Dspite the bad news developing, Houston's greatest hits album sold over eleven million copies worldwide and in 2001, she signed the biggest record deal in history of $100 million for six albums. At the same time, her production company Brownhouse produced The Priness Diaries, a film that grossed over $100 million.
In 2002, Houston had an interivw with Diane Sawyer which discussed drug allegations and marital problems. It had the highest ratings for any television interview and had Houston denying use of crack cocaine. With the release of her fifth studio album Just Whitney, sales were significantly lower. The album sold only three million copies worldwide, less than a million of which were in the US.
While her production company had two more successes with The Cheetah Girls, a television film and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, her sixth studio album was not so fortunate. One Wish: The Holiday Album, a Christmas release failed to go gold, Houston's first album to do so.
During the same period, Whitney Houston spent a five-day stay at a drug rehab clinic in March of 2004 and again for two months in March 2005.
As of right now, Houston is reportedly slated to participate in the remake of the 1970s thriller Diva and the Will Smith Anything For Love. She is also recording a new album with contributions from an all star lineup. Houston was rumored to still be fighting her drug addiction with reports that she is back in rehab. This rumor has been denied, as has one that claimed Houston to be suffering from a brain tumor. A divorce is rumored to be proceeding between Houston and Brown after Brown was caught cheating on Houston with a contestant from America's Next Top Model.