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A Look Back at the Life of Whitney Houston (Photos)

The tragic death of legendary singer Whitney Houston has shocked the world. Many of us grew up listening to her music and admired her not only for her captivating vocal performances, but also her charismatic personality. The woman had stage presence!

Whitney was also a philanthropist, an actress, a producer, and a mother. While her untimely death is a great sadness to us all, Whitney certainly fit a lot of life and joy into her 48 years.

Let’s take a look back at the life of Whitney Houston:

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  • August 9, 1963 1 of 26
    August 9, 1963
    Whitney was born in Newark, New Jersey. She was the youngest child of three born to entertainment executive, John Russell Houston, Jr., and gospel singer, Cissy Houston.
  • 1965 2 of 26
    1965
    Whitney, pictured here at 3 years old, grew up in a middle class New Jersey neighborhood.
  • Late 1960s 3 of 26
    Late 1960s
    With parents rooted in the music industry, it is not surprising that Whitney chose this path as well.
  • Early 1970s 4 of 26
    Early 1970s
    Along with Whitney's mother, cousins Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin were also influences in Whitney's life. At age 11 she began performing as a soloist in the church choir.
  • Late 1970s 5 of 26
    Late 1970s
    A teenage Whitney is pictured here ready for her high school prom. She attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic school for girls in Caldwell, New Jersey.
  • 1983 6 of 26
    1983
    A representative from Arista Records was impressed by Whitney's talent after watching her perform with her mother in a New York City nightclub. He convinced Arista's head, Clive Davis, to check out her act. Davis, pictured with Whitney above, was impressed and signed her to a worldwide recording contract later that year.
  • 1983 7 of 26
    1983
    Whitney's natural beauty graced the cover of several magazines including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour. She was one of the first African-Americans to ever appear on the cover of Seventeen.
  • 1985 8 of 26
    1985
    Whitney's debut album, Whitney Houston, was released in February 1985. "Saving All My Love for You" was Whitney's first number one single.
  • 1986 9 of 26
    1986
    Whitney was nominated for three Grammys in 1986 and won "Best Pop Vocal Performance." Her performance that night of "Saving All My Love for You" later won her an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program."
  • 1987 10 of 26
    1987
    Whitney, the singer's second album, was released in 1987 and went 9x platinum, selling over 20 million copies worldwide. Whitney is pictured here with her mother, Cissy Houston.
  • 1988 11 of 26
    1988
    By 1988, Whitney was one of the top 20 highest earning entertainers, according to Forbes magazine.
  • 1990 12 of 26
    1990
    Whitney met future husband and R&B singer, Bobby Brown, at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards.
  • 1992 13 of 26
    1992
    Whitney made her film debut alongside Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard.
  • July 18, 1992 14 of 26
    July 18, 1992
    Whitney and Bobby married after a three year courtship.
  • 1993 15 of 26
    1993
    In 1993 she gave birth to her first and only child, a daughter she named Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown.
  • 1995 16 of 26
    1995
    Whitney appeared in yet another film, Waiting to Exhale, released in 1995. She also produced the film's soundtrack with Babyface. Whitney is pictured here with Tupac Shakur at the soundtrack release party in L.A.
  • 1998 17 of 26
    1998
    Whitney and Mariah at the MTV Video Music Awards. The pair won an award for their duet, "When You Believe."
  • 1999 18 of 26
    1999
    Whitney at the European MTV Video Music Awards, where she won for Best R&B.
  • 2000 19 of 26
    2000
    Just released from jail, Bobby Brown greets Whitney after spending over two months in jail for repeatedly violating his parole. Rumors of drug use by the couple began to swirl later in the year.
  • 2004 20 of 26
    2004
    Controversy surrounded Whitney in the early 2000s with reports that she was repeatedly late and cancelled interviews and performances. Houston admitted to using cocaine in an interview with Diana Sawyer in 2002.
    A reality show about her husband airing in 2004, Being Bobby Brown, gave the world a glimpse into the couple's somewhat disturbing day to day.
  • 2007 21 of 26
    2007
    In 2007, Bobby and Whitney were divorced. Whitney was awarded custody of their daughter, Bobbi.
  • 2009 22 of 26
    2009
    In her first television interview in seven years, Whitney admitted to Oprah Winfrey that she used drugs with former husband, Bobby Brown, daily, but claimed that she was now clean. The world waited for the pop star's comeback.
  • 2010 23 of 26
    2010
    Whitney's first world tour in over a decade, the Nothing But Love World Tour, received negative reviews from critics who were disappointed in the quality of her performance and the sound of her voice.
  • 2011 24 of 26
    2011
    In September 2011, Houston announced that she would produce as well as star alongside Jordin Sparks in a remake of the 1976 film, Sparkle.
  • February 11, 2012 25 of 26
    February 11, 2012
    Whitney looked disheveled leaving a Hollywood nightclub. She was in town to attend a party hosted by Clive Davis.
  • February 12, 2012 26 of 26
    February 12, 2012
    Whitney Houston was found dead at the age of 48 in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

 

For more photos of Whitney check out Buzzfeed.

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