10 Things You Didn’t Know About Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston would have hit a milestone today (Aug. 9) as it is her 50th birthday. The late singer, who passed in February 2012, had a very successful life and touched millions with her powerful voice. She may no longer be with us, but that doesn't mean the 'I Will Always Love You' songbird is forgotten, especially on her birthday.
So in honor of the iconic artist's big 5-0, TheDrop.fm gives you some interesting facts about her life. Here's 10 Things You Didn't Know About Whitney Houston.
Whitney was a teen cover girl.
Before she was churning out hits, Houston was a teen model. Not only did she land a number of photo gigs, but she also became one of the first African-American women to grace the cover of a magazine when she posed for the November 1981 cover of Seventeen.
Kevin Costner was the reason she sang 'I Will Always Love You' in 'The Bodyguard.'
'I Will Always Love You' is one of those tracks that serves as an epochal moment in the film 'The Bodyguard.' The song also clearly stands the test of time. However, it almost didn't make it into the movie, at least until Kevin Costner pushed for it to happen. Originally written and performed by Dolly Parton, the actor asked for permission to have Whitney record the song for the film. Parton obliged, but the film execs -- and even record exec Clive Davis -- were skeptical. After she did the a cappella version, everyone was blown away.
"I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance," Parton said in an interview.
Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags at half-mast during Whitney's funeral.
While this is a tradition reserved for presidents, well-renowned politicians or the military, New Jersey governor Chris Christie ordered all government buildings to fly the flags at half-mast to honor her on the day of her funeral. The state is where she was born -- Newark, N.J., to be exact.
She could have been a Huxtable.
Like modeling, Whitney Houston tried other creative outlets to get herself out there including auditioning for the small screen. In the '80s, a young Houston tried out for the role of Sondra Huxtable in 'The Cosby Show,' and she actually earned the role. However, she later decided to put her acting career to the side and go the music route -- and we're glad she did.
The chanteuse shared the spotlight and did back-up vocals.
Not only did Houston do back-up vocals for Chaka Khan as a teen, she has also channeled her gospel roots and backed up Bebe and Cece Winans.
She didn't want wedding gifts.
Whitney Houston was big on philanthropy. She had her own non-profit, The Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, and she also supported numerous other causes. She cared for charity so much that she asked for donations to her organization at her wedding with Bobby Brown in 1992.
The anti-apartheid movement was important to her.
During her modeling days (which was around the time of apartheid), Whitney made a conscious decision to refuse work from agencies that were based in South Africa. She also showed her solidarity with Nelson Mandela when she performed at his 70th birthday soncert.
Her interview with Diane Sawyer earned record-breaking ratings.
Everyone (well, almost everyone) was looking forward to seeing how Whitney was doing and what exactly she was going to say regarding her issues with fame and drugs during the 'Primetime' interview she did with Diane Sawyer in 2002. The in-depth talk ended up becoming the hit of the night. According to Nielsen Media research, 14.7 million households tuned in and made the show the most-watched that evening.
'The Preacher's Wife' made her the highest-paid actress.
Although she's a singer, Whitney was also the highest paid actress in 1995. According to various reports, her leading role in the 'The Preacher's Wife,' co-starring Denzel Washington, earned her a $10 million paycheck.
The singer is a 'Guinness Book of World Records' holder.
With two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards and 23 American Music Awards, a Nickelodeon Kids Choice award and accolades from MTV VMAs in both the U.S. and Europe, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, "Soul Train" Music Awards, the 'Guinness Book of World Records' named her the "most awarded female of all time."