Whitney Dive Bombs With Diane Sawyer
Anyone who saw the embarrassing spectacle of Whitney Houston on ABC's Prime Time last night must be scratching their heads: Who would allow such a thing? Houston's publicist, Nancy Seltzer, appears to have thrown in the towel. Letting Houston go on TV and admit to drug abuse -- boast about it, even -- had to be some kind of secret pleasure for a publicist who can no longer defend her client.
Whitney looked dreadful and sounded worse. But more alarming than her laryngitis was her bizarre defense of a lifestyle that cannot be defended. She seems to be destroying herself despite her assertions. How long before her comments about crack (apparently it's not for her, it's for poor people) and receipts from drug dealers (show them to her, please) turn up in comedy routines across the country.
Houston's new album comes out next Tuesday. I don't think this interview can help her in any way. It can only hurt. I remember this girl so clearly from the first time we met in 1989. She was lovely at 26. Robyn Crawford -- now an elegant woman, then a fun girl -- was a strong part of her life. So was Whitney's mother, Cissy Houston. On the day I visited, Whitney's dad was there in Mendham Hills, too, although now it's clear that these relationships have all been strained. They've all been replaced by just one: Bobby Brown.
Sweating profusely on camera, admitting to drug use just hours after his latest arrest, this is Bobby Brown. What Sawyer did not ask the couple about was why they missed Michael Jackson's second show on Sept. 10, 2001. "They were too [expletive] up to leave their room," says my Houston insider. Or why they missed meeting Sawyer in Atlanta two weeks earlier. Same reason again. This was not Whitney before Bobby Brown. This is Whitney after.
Also, just to clarify: Whitney showed and performed at Clive Davis's final pre-Grammy party as head of Arista Records at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2000. She made several pointed comments to BMG executives from the stage about their poor treatment of Davis. There was no rift between them.
A few weeks later she missed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner that Davis was honored at. When Sawyer questioned her about it, Whitney answered: "That's because of something between him and me."
There's a lot more to write about Whitney and none of it is very good. I am truly sorry about that. Watching her fidget, answer questions with eyes closed, laugh at drug references was embarrassing. She admits now to a failed intervention staged by her mother in 1999. She seemed very arrogant about it. There is nothing to be arrogant about here.
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