Whitney Houston facts: Singer's age, family, children and husband revealed

2 August 2021, 17:18

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston. Picture: Getty

Whitney Houston was one of the most iconic singers of all time.

One of the best-selling music artists of all time, Whitney's soulful and powerful performances and ever-presence in the charts of the 1980s and 1990s, cemented her as a true legend.

Starting her singing career in church as a child, she became one of the first black women to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine, and signed to her first record laabel aged 19 under the guidance of Clive Davis.

Her first two albums were massive successes, and she went on to score huge hits with the likes of 'Saving All My Love for You', 'I Have Nothing' and 'I Will Always Love You'.

Read more: Whitney Houston's 15 greatest songs ever, ranked

Whitney was also a successful actress, particularly in the romantic thriller The Bodyguard oppositee Kevin Costner in 1992.

She is the top-selling R&B female artist of the 20th century, and is one of the most successful artists of all time. She won two Emmy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards and 22 American Music Awards.

  1. Where and when was Whitney Houston born and who were her parents?

    Whitney Houston with her parents
    Whitney Houston with her parents. Picture: Getty

    Whitney Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey.

    She was the daughter of ex-Army serviceman and Newark city administrator John Russell Houston Jr, and gospel singer Emily 'Cissy' Houston.

    Read more: Newly surfaced images of "innocent" 18-year-old Whitney Houston's first ever photoshoot

    Her older brother Michael is also a songwriter, and her older half-brother is the former basketball player and singer Gary Garland.

    Whitney Houston in 1980
    Whitney Houston in 1980. Picture: Getty

    Whitney's parents were both African-American, and she is thought to have had Dutch and Native American ancestry.

    She was also a first cousin of singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick. Her godmother was singer Darlene Love, and her honorary aunt was Aretha Franklin.

    Her parents eventually divorced.

  2. How did Whitney Houston get her start in music?

    When Whitney was still in school, her mother Cissy taught her how to sing. At this point, Cissy was a member of the group the Sweet Inspirations, which also sang backup for Elvis Presley.

    Spending some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where Cissy was performing, she would occasionally perform with her on stage.

    In 1977, aged 14, she was the backup singer on the Michael Zager Band's single 'Life's a Party'.

    Read more: When Whitney Houston sang the national anthem so powerfully she moved a nation to tears

    In the early 1980s, Whitney began working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall, becoming a highly sought-after young model.

    In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records, saw Whitney performing with her mother in New York. He told Arista's head Clive Davis to see her perform.

    Impressed, he immediately offered her a record deal, which she eventually signed. Later that year, she made her TV debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show.

  3. When did Whitney Houston pass away?

    On February 9, 2012, Whitney visited singers Brandy and Monica, alongside Clive Davis, at their rehearsals for Clive's pre-Grammy Awards party at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

    That day, she made her last public performance, joining Kelly Price on stage in Hollywood, California, singing 'Jesus Loves Me'.

    Two days later, on February 11, Whitney was found unconscious in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in the bath.

    Read more: Kevin Costner's beautiful relationship with "one true love" Whitney Houston revealed

    The cause of death was not known at first. On March 22, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office reported that her death was caused by drowning and the "effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use".

    The manner of death was listed as an "accident".

    A memorial service was held for Whitney on February 18, 2012, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Among those who performed at the funeral included Stevie Wonder, CeCe Winans, Alicia Keys and R Kelly.

  4. Who was Whitney Houston's husband?

    Whitney and Bobby in 1999
    Whitney and Bobby in 1999. Picture: Getty

    In the 1980s, Whitney was romantically linked to stars including Jermaine Jackson, American football star Randall Cunningham and actor Eddie Murphy.

    She met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After three years, the couple married on July 18, 1992.

    During their marriage, Whitney and Bobby had several periods of troubles, including infidelity, domestic violence, and drug use. In 2003, Bobby was charged with battery after an altercation with Whitney.

    In 2006, Whitney filed for divorce, which was finalized in April 2007.

  5. Did Whitney Houston have any children?

    Whitney Houston and Bobby Kristina in 2011
    Whitney Houston and Bobby Kristina in 2011. Picture: Getty

    Whitney and Bobby had one child together. Bobby Kristina Brown was born March 4, 1993.

    Bobby Kristina became a reality television star and singer. She was 14 when her parents divorced and Whitney gained custody.

    In January 2015, she was tragically found unconscious in a bath in her home. After being in a coma for nearly six months, she died on July 26, 2015, aged 22.

    Her partner Nick Gordon was later found responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit and ordered to pay $36 million to her estate.