Whitney Houston’s 1995 VIBE Cover Story
As God her witness, Mrs. Bobby Brown testifies about her new movie, her ‘ol man, and her true voice. By Danyel Smith
Whitney Houston is home on a Friday night. Outside, purple grey skies are pouring down rain. She’s sitting across from me in white stretch pants, which don;t have to stretch because she’s so slim. She looks pretty–un-made-up, hair slightly a mess, her ten thousand teeth occasionally organizing themselves into a huge smile.
“I have tried his love,” says Houston, 32, looking me in my eyes, softly testifying, “I know his love is real.” One of her legs is crossed under her; she’s comfortable.
She seems quite upbeat actually, considering the gossip mill is churning out tidbits–again–about her and Bobby Brown breaking up. Two days before a headline in a New York tabloid asked dumbly, “Is Brown Bagging Marriage?” The column quoted Houston’s husband of three years saying their marriage was over. But rumors of Whitney and Bobby’s impending spilt have beeen circulating since their vows were exchanged. New Jersey middle-class Catholic schoolgirl turned model turned pop star marries Boston project manchild /hip-hop crooner. “I get tired of being talked about,” Houston says wearily, “I really get tired of just constantly, in one form or another, hearing my name.”
But now, Houston’s not talking about Bobby Brown. That will come later–through her talks about the importance of her new film, Waiting to Exhale, through her talk about her daughter, her will, her self. This talk of deep unconditional love is not about her relationship with her husband.
“I’m happy just knowing that I have God in my life. I was raised on the Word, raised to practice it. It’s about believing when you ain’t got nothing to believe in. For Whitney, it’s mostly about the Supreme Being to whom she is devoted. It’s all about him for her, so much so you want her ease up a bit. But as she says, it’s her God.
But Bobby is hers too. In a different way. Some said Whitney married Bobby to squash rumors of her alleged sexual relationship with her longtime friend Robyn Crawford. Other said she married to gain some “down-ness.” Brown, according to gossip, did it for the money (Brown’s got three platinum albums, but Houston’s worth at least $60 million; she and Brown have a complicated, ironclad prenuptial agreement), and to give his scruffy bad-boy image some polish. The possibility that it might be love was only given passing consideration. When Michael Jackson eloped with Lisa Marie Presley, busybodies whispered that the world hadn’t seen such an odd couple since Whitney and Bobby. Houston crossed class lines when she married Bobby Brown–and people remain uncomfortable with it.
Less than a year after their 1992 wedding, their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was born. The child is Whitney’s first, Bobby’s fourth (for both, this is their first marriage). “My husband never thought I was so sexy as when I weighed 182 pounds,” say Houston with a proud smile. There was a lovey-dovey single, 1993’s “Something in Common,” the video for which featured the new family, complete with house and swimming pool, and lots of hugging and kissing. We’re for real, the video screamed.
But Brown’s macho-man antics continued. He and Houston recently presented, the Best Video of the Year Award on the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards–but a few weeks later, Bobby was reportedly at a New York nightclub, telling acquaintances he had moved out of their New Jersey home and showing off his left hand sand wedding band. Five months before that, while Houston was in Singapore, Brown was at a nightclub at Florida’s Disney World. He was arrested for fighting with a man over a woman he was allegedly trying to pick up. He peed in the back of the police car and scratched the word FUCK into the car seat.