Kate Brumback & Tamara Lush
ROSWELL, Ga. — Bobbi Kristina Brown wanted to sing, act and dance like her megastar parents, Whitney Houston and R&B artist Bobby Brown. Instead, she has mostly made tabloid headlines for drug use and family disputes — the same perils that derailed their careers.
Just like her mother three years ago, Bobbi Kristina was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub as the music industry prepared for the Grammy Awards.
As the pop star’s 21-year-old daughter lay hospitalized Monday, police in Roswell, Ga., issued a very brief incident report, saying officers were called Saturday in response to her “drowning” at her home in suburban Atlanta. Her husband, Nick Gordon, was at the scene and tried to revive her while a friend called 911.
“Bobbi Kristina is fighting for her life and is surrounded by immediate family,” a Houston family statement said Monday. “We are asking you to honor our request for privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your prayers, well wishes, and we greatly appreciate your continued support.”
With no details forthcoming from police or family about her condition or what may have caused the tragedy, many people looked to see what she’s been posting online. Her last tweet, from Thursday, reflected obvious frustration over her failure to break out as an entertainer: “Let’s start this career up&&moving OUT to TO YOU ALLLL quick shall we !?!???!”
The circumstances were eerily similar to those of Feb. 11, 2012, when Houston’s assistant found the singer’s lifeless body face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Authorities found prescription drugs and listed heart disease and cocaine use as contributors, but concluded that she accidentally drowned.
Bobbi Kristina, then 18, became so distraught that she needed to be hospitalized.
“She wasn’t only a mother, she was a best friend,” she told Oprah shortly thereafter.
Bobbi Kristina identified herself on Twitter as “Daughter of Queen WH,” ”Entertainer/Actress” with William Morris & Co., and “LAST of a dying breed.”
But her mother was an impossible act to follow.
Houston had her first No. 1 hit at 22, and then a flurry of No. 1 songs, selling more than 50 million records in the United States alone. Her voice, an ideal blend of power, grace and beauty, made classics out of “Saving All My Love For You,” ”I Will Always Love You,” ”The Greatest Love of All” and “I’m Every Woman.” Her six Grammys joined many other awards.
Bobbi Kristina inherited her mother’s entire estate, but not her voice. Aside from her family’s short-lived reality TV show “The Houstons: On Our Own,” she has mostly appeared in online “selfies” and paparazzi images.
Houston met R&B star Bobby Brown at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989. The gifted singer and her bad boy partner married in 1992, much to the dismay of Houston’s family. It was a toxic relationship, characterized by domestic violence and drugs.
Bobbi Kristina was born a year later, and was just a toddler when Houston described herself as a “functioning junkie” to S2SMagazine. Her husband also struggled with addiction, so by 2002, the family moved to suburban Atlanta to attend the healing services of a singer-turned evangelical preacher.
The girl made a few appearances on “Being Bobby Brown,” the reality show that infamously captured her parents fighting, swearing and appearing in court. The Hollywood Reporter said “not only does it reveal Brown to be even more vulgar than the tabloids suggest, but it manages at the same time to rob Houston of any last shreds of dignity.”
Soon, Gordon joined the family. Houston never formally adopted him, but he became like a brother to Bobbi Kristina. And when Houston sought rehab in California in 2004 and divorced Brown in 2007, she kept the kids with her.
The pair called each other big brother and little sister back then. A month after Houston’s death, however, they went public with their relationship. Houston’s mother, Cissy, and sister-in-law Patricia, expressing concern that others would prey on the young woman’s fortune, petitioned a judge to delay part of her inheritance, and Bobbi Kristina agreed.
The young couple’s announcement of their marriage in January 2014 troubled Patricia Houston, who soon obtained a restraining order against Gordon, effective through April 2015.
“Damn, lol, it’s incredible how the world will judge you 4ANY&EVERYthing,” Bobbi Kristina tweeted last March.
But by September, Patricia Houston was praising her niece.
“I’m very proud of Krissy. You know, young people today are up against so much with social media and everything else that presents itself to them, and they have to use everything within their power to stay abreast and to keep a foundation, and that’s what the family does,” Patricia Houston told The Associated Press. “We try to be there for her, just to try to guide and direct her.”
Throughout, Bobbi Kristina expressed love for her husband. Just last week, she tweeted again: “Littlelady&yourgrowing young man @nickdgordon miss you mommy ..:’) SOmuch.. loving you more every sec. #Anniversary!”