It’s hard to believe that the drugged, dazed woman seen wandering the streets near her home was once one of the most beautiful and popular singers in the world.
But today that woman, Whitney Houston, is just another crackhead.
In a painfully public self-destruction, the six-time Grammy award winner, who had hits such as I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Greatest Love of All has spiralled into a drug hell that appears irreversible.
Houston’s life hit rock bottom this week when photographs, published in The National Enquirer in the US, showed a bathroom in her $7.2 million mansion looking more like a crack den.
They showed cocaine-caked spoons discarded across expensive marble. There is a crack-smoking pipe, cigarette butts, empty beer cans, and the basin seems to be used only to hold rubbish and drug paraphernalia.
The pictures were taken by Houston’s sister-in-law, Tina Brown. She said she released them in the hope they would shock the singer into giving up drugs.
Brown, sister of Houston’s husband, Bobby Brown, has revealed the once-beautiful Houston rarely washes and spends weeks in filthy dens smoking crack cocaine and crystal meth.
“The truth needs to come out,” Tina Brown said. “Whitney won’t stay off the drugs. It’s every single day. It’s so ugly. Everyone is so scared she is going to overdose.”
Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, recently confessed to begging her daughter on bended knee to clean up for the sake of her child, Bobbi.
And a couple of months ago, friends hoped she had reformed thanks to a “spiritual adviser” and her renewed links to a controversial religious sect of black Jews.
But that clean-living image has been shown to be just a front with the publication of Tina Brown’s pictures.
In her drug frenzy, Houston has broken tens of thousands of dollars in furniture and bitten and cut herself.
Tina Brown says: “She’ll point to the floor and say, ‘See that demon. I tell you somebody’s messing with Bobby’. She always thinks it’s something to do with Bobby, but it’s her hitting herself.” So paranoid is Houston that she spends days locked in a bathroom, peering through a small hole she had made to watch for “attackers”.
Tina Brown says Houston regularly summons drug dealers for balls of crack, rocks of cocaine that each weigh 3.5g.
She claims Houston mixes the drug and marijuana, stuffs it inside a cigar and smokes the concoction in one sitting.
Drug dealers have boasted that they regularly rip off Houston. One dealer even says he’s made $1.4 million selling drugs to Houston and Bobby Brown.
Houston’s family believes Brown, a former R&B singer, is responsible for introducing her to drugs and is to blame for her sorry life.
Houston was at her peak when she met Brown in 1989. Her album, Whitney, had sold 19 million copies and gave her No.1 hits on both sides of the Atlantic.
The couple married in 1992, the same year Houston became a movie star in The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner and produced the No.1 song from the film, I Will Always Love You. Over the next six years, the hits continued, along with a promising movie career.
In 1998, Brown was jailed for several driving offences while under the influence of drugs.
Two years later, Houston was reportedly rushed to hospital after blood began pouring from her nose. The same year she was found carrying cannabis at a Hawaii airport.
And there were reports of physical confrontations between her and Brown.
In 2003, Houston admitted Brown beat her and a year later he faced charges of attacking her at their mansion. But Houston forgave Brown and he walked from court a free man.
Since then, Houston has been in and out of rehabilitation clinics, including one last year on the Caribbean island of Antigua — while her husband checked into a nearby hotel and had an affair with a waitress.
Since being released from the Antiguan clinic, Houston has been seen wandering the streets in expensive fur coats over pyjamas — shuffling along the pavements, her hair wild and unkempt and her sunken eyes rimmed deep black. A motorist said she was “like a bag lady in an expensive coat . . . she looked horrible”.
This week’s reports seem to indicate a final, tragic act in this once famous singer’s downfall is inevitable.