Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s marriage came under intense media scrutiny. It was a marriage rife with personal demons and collective struggles, making them prime targets for the tabloids. Whitney checked into rehab multiple times during this period.
A perennially troubled Bobby went to prison on substance charges. In December 2003, things came to a head when Bobby roughed up his wife during a dispute. He was arrested. Whitney later called all of it a “misunderstanding.”
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.
Resentment and Infidelity
Bobby Brown admitted to being more than violent. He had also been unfaithful to Whitney, claiming that she had had multiple affairs as well. Brown believed their marriage was "doomed" from the start, but Whitney had a less apocalyptic but still telling take on things.
She believed her husband resented her fame after "The Bodyguard." The singer told Oprah that she tried to constantly downplay her success since her husband seemed to resent her for it. "I'm Mrs. Brown, don't call me Houston," she would tell people.
Whitney Checks Into Rehab
In March 2004, the press got wind that Whitney had entered a rehab facility to deal with a substance abuse problem. Everyone believed it might be for the long haul, but the singer decided to leave after only five days. Her representative insisted the star was fine. Everything was fine.
Whitney had only expressed a desire to continue the program as an outpatient. For the next 30 days, she went everywhere with a designated chaperone.