Whitney Houston – often regarded as one of the greatest singers to have stood behind a microphone, has also been quite a mystery as a personality.
The late diva’s personal life, though made very public due to tabloid talks and a reality show focused on her ex-husband, remains largely unexplored – beyond what is known through gossip columns.
What did the young Whitney like? What were her pet-peeves? What were her favorite snacks? Her favorite singer while growing up or the first guy she dated in the industry?
We’ll attempt to answer some of these questions today, in our list of 30 rare/significant tid-bits about Whitney Houston.
Check these out:
1) Whitney was born in Newark, New Jersey on August 9, 1963.
2) Elizabeth – was Whitney’s middle-name – many of you might already know that. But you may not know that Whitney’s paternal grandmother’s name was Sarah Elizabeth Collins, and on several occasions the superstar used the name for checking-in to hotels. So, if you were at a posh hotel in the 80’s or 90’s and you came across a guest checked-in as ‘Elizabeth Collins’ – it may just have been THE Whitney Houston.
3) Whitney had four pets. Two dogs – Eithel and Lucy and two cats – Misteblue and Marilyn. Interestingly, Misteblue’s name also appears in a scene from her music video of ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’
At 5:02 in the video below, you can see the cat’s name being shown as a club-name in front of which Houston is standing:
4) Whitney had a reel-to-real experience, when much like her story in The Bodyguard, an obsessed fan would constantly phone-up her office stating that he was her ‘soul brother.’ The fan was later arrested at his apartment, where cops caught him with an arsenal of weapons including – 2 rifles, a pistol, a shotgun, knives, and a crossbow.
5) In 1989, Houston established ‘The Whitney Houston Foundation for Children’. A charitable organization which works on causes related to – the homeless, children with AIDS, Children’s literacy, and the prevention of child abuse.
6) Whitney’s 1985-released Billboard #1 single, ‘How Will I Know’ was originally intended for Janet Jackson. After Janet passed on it, the same went under the production of Narada Michael Walden and was included in her debut album. The song is an inseparable part of Whitney’s cultural influence on Mtv.
7) Do you know which was the first CD Whitney ever bought? – It was Stevie Wonder’s “If You Really Loved Me” back in 1971. She was only 8 years old then.
8) At 13-year old, Whitney entered a state-wide music contest and sang Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen”. She was awarded the 2nd place in the competition while 1st place went to a contestant performing – ‘The Greatest Love Of All’.
9) Her family members, close friends and several fans call her by her nick name – ‘Nippy’ – which was given to her by her father due to her habit of tossing her winter blanket in sleep. She later named her first management company – Nippy Inc.
10) Whitney’s favorite cereal was Fruity Pebbles. (rice bits in all sorts of fruit flavors, shaped like the characters from The Flintstones)
11) Whitney’s favorite food was – Sushi, Tomato Soup, Fried Chicken, Sweet Potato Pie and ‘Pop-Tarts’.
12) Vodkatini was her favorite drink. What is yours?
13) Whitney Houston can actually also be called Dr, Whitney Houston. The legendary songstress holds a doctorate in human letters for her distinguished excellence, from the Grambling State University.
14) It is said that the worldly-despised terrorist, Osama Bill Laden, was in-love with Houston and infatuated over her beauty. A Sudanese novelist, who claims to have been enslaved by Laden, revealed the details of his Whitney-obsession in her novel, stating that he wanted to kill Bobby Brown and make Whitney one of his wives.
15) Due to her exceptional ability to record, even the most demanding of songs, in a single take – she was often referred by producers as – Whitney ‘One Take’ Houston.
16) Whitney has a school named after her. The elementary school where she herself went to, was renamed in 1997 to ‘The Whitney E. Houston academy of creative and performing arts’ in honor of her artistic excellence and achievements.
17) Revealed on various instances by the songstress herself, some of Whitney’s absolute all-time favorite songs included – ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles, ‘Alfie’ by Dionne Warwick and ‘Ain’t No Way’ by Aretha Franklin.
18) Inside her own catalog – ‘I Will Always Love’ – as most might believe – was NOT her favorite song of hers, but it was the 1985 released inspirational torch-ballad, ‘Greatest Love Of All.’
19) In 1991, Whitney was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. She was also ranked #24 on VH1’s 100 Sexiest Artists of all time and Essence magazine’s 30 most beautiful black women in history.
20) Whitney’s 2000 released collaboration with George Michael ‘If I Told You That’ was originally meant to be recorded as a duet between her and Michael Jackson. As much as it hurts to believe, the same could not come to fruition because the two couldn’t work out their schedules. Sigh.
21) Whitney’s favorite movie was the 1983 released Oscar winning family-drama, ‘Terms Of Endearment’. Her favorite actress was Jessica Lange while her favorite actor was Robert Di Nero. Robin Williams was her favorite comedian of all time.
22) Before she became a professional singer, Whitney also aspired to become a teacher or a veterinarian. Her favorite subject in school? – History!
23) In 1994 Whitney won 3 major awards at the 36th Grammys, including ‘Record Of The Year’. No other female artist of color has since won an award in that particular category. Start counting the years now.
24) During Whitney’s gig at Brunei in the year 1996 – Prince Jefri gave her a blank check for the event and instructed her to fill her desired amount for doing the private show. It is reported she was payed a whopping $7 million for her concert.
25) Many people might believe that Houston’s first recording came from her 1985 debut, but it goes way before that. Houston’s first solo recording is reported to have been made in the year 1979 – when she lent her instrument for Paul Jabara’s ‘Eternal Love’. She was 16 years old then.
Listen to the recording below:
26) In the year 2006, Whitney was named the ‘Most Awarded Female Artist in History’ by the Guinness Book of World Records. With a total of 600+ awards to her name, she still holds that record.
27) In terms of her career-achievements, Whitney has several ‘Firsts’ to her name – first female artist to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, first female artist to sell over 1 million copies of an album within a week (The Bodyguard), first female to have three of her albums peak within the Top 10 of Billboard 200 at the same time, etc.
28) With ‘The Bodyguard OST’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ – Whitney has both ‘the best selling female album’ and ‘the best selling female song’ in history, to her name.
29) Whitney died at the age of 48 and was layed to rest at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield, New Jersey alongside the resting place of her father. Her daughter Bobbi Kristina, who passed away in 2015, was also buried at the same site, right beside her mother.
30) At the time of her personal turmoil, an abusive relationship and a battle with substance abuse – Whitney desired to leave it all behind to open a fresh fruit stand on a remote island with her daughter – a thought she reflected back on, during her 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey.