All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
- Shakespeare, As You Like It
Act One: The Ingenue
Whitney grew up in New Jersey, the cousin of famed singer Dionne Warwick. Whitney caught the attention of music mogul Clive Davis, who mentored her. Her debut album, Whitney Houston, was released when she was just 22 and became an instant success thanks to singles like “How Will I Know” and “Saving All My Love for You,” and “Greatest Love of All.” (Fun fact: Jermaine Jackson was a producer on the album.)
Act Two: The Diva
Whitney’s star continued to shine. In addition to performing one of the most renowned versions of the Star-Spangled Banner ever, she starred in a little movie called The Bodyguard and turned a charming country song by Dolly Parton into a global smash hit. If Whitney had been a contestant on American Idol, Randy Jackson would have either told her “you can sang” or “you can sing the phone book.” Also, surprisingly, he would have been right.
Act Three: The Wife and Mother
In 1992, Whitney married Bobby Brown, one of the members of New Edition. The marriage surprised many, as Brown’s wild, party-boy reputation seemed to clash with Houston’s good-girl persona. Their daughter Bobbi Kristina was born the next year.