Robyn Crawford, Houston’s executive assistant and old friend, resigned from Whitney’s management company in May 2000. She claimed she left since the singer refused to acknowledge the seriousness of her substance dependency or seek help, making it impossible for Robyn to continue working with her.
In June 2000, Rolling Stone published a story claiming that Whitney’s mother and others even held an intervention for her in 1999. They were unsuccessful.
Whitney Is Arrested
On January 11, 2000, security at Hawaii's Big Island's Keahole-Kona International Airport discovered marijuana in Whitney’s handbag. Incredibly, the star and her husband, Bobby Brown, managed to evade arrest in Hawaii.
Thinking all was well, the couple boarded a plane for San Francisco, but police there had already been notified. Whitney was arrested and charged with possession and other misdemeanors. That same year, Whitney received the BET Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to African-American music. The award helped to mitigate some of the negative publicity surrounding her arrest, but it was ultimately insufficient.
She Gets Fired
Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards, but she was fired by musical director and old friend Burt Bacharach. At the time, her publicist stated that the cancellation was due to throat issues.
Whitney later confessed that she was fired. Author Steve Pond described the event in more detail in his book "The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards." He wrote that Whitney’s voice was shaky while she attempted to perform "Over the Rainbow" during rehearsals. Not only did she seem jittery, but the singer made things worse by being unnecessarily defiant and casual.
She Lands a Major Record Deal
Houston signed one of the biggest record deals in music history with Arista/BMG in August 2001. She extended her contract to $100 million in order to release six new albums and earn royalties. Despite these massive professional gains, her personal demons were getting the best of her even then. When she appeared in Michael Jackson: The 30th Anniversary Special, her alarmingly thin frame fueled more rumors of substance use.
Her publicist explained the weight loss as a result of stress. In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Whitney admitted that her weight loss was due to substance use.
Lukewarm Reviews for Her Fifth Studio Album
She released her fifth studio album, "Just Whitney," in December 2002. The album featured productions from Missy Elliott, Babyface, and her husband, Bobby Brown. "Just Whitney" marked her first collaboration without Clive Davis, who had then been released by BMG management. The album received mixed reviews upon its initial release, although it debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The album’s four singles performed well on the dance charts but failed to make a splash on the Billboard Hot 100. "Just Whitney" received platinum certification in the United States and has sold approximately two million copies worldwide.