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Oprah's Whitney Houston Interview - Part 1

Whitney_houston_oprah For her two-part season premiere, Oprah sat down with Whitney Houston, star of music, movies and — most recently — tabloid scandals. Houston spoke candidly and anxiously about the pressures of stardom, her 14-year marriage to Bobby Brown, and her drug use. While Oprah appeared stunned by some of the things Houston related in the first part of their two-hour interview, I doubt that most of you would be very surprised at the things Houston confessed, because I think we've all learned by now that tabloids may be trashy, but they tell the truth more often than stars would like to admit.

"The Voice," which Oprah referred to in a way that clearly communicated capitalization and quotes, sounded raspy and tired. While that may have been due to her recording or rehearsal schedule, it's likely that at least part of that rasp can be attributed to 17 years of smoking rock cocaine and marijuana every day.  As the hour wore on, I felt deep sadness rather than shock at the Whitney Houston of today. While she certainly looks more well than she did during the infamous "Crack is Whack" Diane Sawyer interview, it was visibly and audibly apparent that the years of drug use and and emotionally abusive marriage have taken a great toll.

Despite not having recorded in over a decade, Whitney Houston's voice is indeed worthy of capitalization and quotes and perhaps a little "we're not worthy" bowing. Every time some hapless pimple factory decides to take on a song popularized by Houston, they're pretty much smacked on the forehead and told, "why would you come up here and sing a Whitney Houston song? No matter how good you are you're gonna sound bad in comparison, dawg." 

Even so, for years she saw her talent and fame as an albatross, and it apparently drove her into an abusive 14-year marriage and an almost complete withdrawal from the public eye in order to feed her cocaine addiction. When Oprah asked if she missed singing at all during that time, she said that she didn't — the drugs and her turbulent and co-dependent relationship with Bobby Brown consumed the passion she'd once had for music when she was a gospel singer.

When she spoke of her relationship with Brown, it was very apparent that Houston is still scared of her ex. She also appeared to be rationalizing his abuse at times, blaming her success. "I think somewhere inside something happens to a man when a woman has that much control or has that much fame. ... If he doesn't have his own." Sure, Whitney, that's more or less true — when said man is very small and insecure. Oprah then asked if Bobby was jealous, and Houston took a long time before responding, "he's not going to like that I'm saying this...but yes." 

After 14 years living with someone who verbally berated her and slapped her, it's understandable that she would be nervous to say things that would upset him. In the interest of full disclosure, Houston was also physically abusive of Brown. Oprah had difficulty maintaining her composure as Houston related an incident wherein Brown spat on her as their child watched, to which Houston retaliated by smashing a phone over his head. Can we please start a Bobbi Houston-Brown Therapy Fund?

It was no shock, of course, when Houston admitted to years of cocaine abuse. However, what struck me most was how much Houston appeared to minimize the magnitude of her drug use. She was very adamant, when Oprah asked for clarification if she had smoked crack cocaine, that they, "never went that far." However, this was said in the same breath as the one wherein shevadmitted to buying rock cocaine by the ounce and lacing joints with it on a daily basis. It was as though she thought, because the proceeds from The Bodyguard soundtrack enabled her to drop that kind of coin to feed her addiction, that her problem wasn't as bad as it would have been were she going out to the corner for a $20 bag every day. 

I would argue that a willingness to spend a fortune in royalties in order to waste away on the couch in a drug-addled stupor, barely speaking for weeks on end, is the same problem as the one the crack addict trading handies for $20 rocks is sporting. The only difference is that the latter doesn't have any platinum-selling albums to finance his/her addiction. And Houston's minimization of her drug problem makes it hard for me to believe it's a problem she no longer struggles with. 

However, we'll have to tune in today at 4 pm to find out whether she's still clean—or says she is, at any rate. I'm willing to bet good money that she'll say she's been clean since rehab, but as to the veracity of that claim? Well, I'd be willing to bet just as much that she's on something, though it's probably doctor-prescribed. And we all know if it's prescribed by a doctor, it's not a drug problem, right?







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Comments

Issa

I feel like she lost herself the second she met him. I remember thinking that is one strong ass chick, when I was a kid. I hope she finds herself again.

Sheryl

I don't watch Oprah and I'm sorry I missed this interview. I hope you write a piece on part 2 so I can get a feel for what else she said.

indycitygirl

I got up to watch this(DVR IS THE SHIZNET)at 6:00 this AM..I hope she makes a roaring comeback but her interview left me meh...I just I was being a ghoul and wanting to hear all the trash but she sort of left me wondering if she really understands she is a addict and will always be one.

Chrystal K.

I wish I'd been able to watch these episodes.




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