Whitney Houston was born in Newark, New Jersey. She was the second child of Army serviceman John Russell Houston, Jr. and gospel singer Cissy Houston.
At the age of 11, Houston began to follow in her mother's footsteps and started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir and she also learned to play the piano. Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her.
In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model. Houston's debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her "one of the most exciting new voices in years". Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year which made her the first female artist to earn that distinction.
The album had become an international success. Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award.
Houston's first film role was in The Bodyguard, released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner. Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her.
The film's soundtrack also enjoyed big success. The soundtrack's lead single was "I Will Always Love You". The song also became a global success, hitting number-one in almost all countries, and one of the best-selling singles of all time with 12 million copies sold.
She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three-year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her only child, and his fourth.
With the missed performances and weight loss, rumors about Houston using drugs with her husband circulated. On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub.