Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston: A Love Story

Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston: A Love Story

Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston never did make it to that next anniversary. Two years later they broke up for good. Nobody had given them much a chance of making it for the long haul. Bobby told me that some of their own wedding guests had been wagering about how long the marriage would last. But one night after our dinner together, I witnessed a moment that made Whtiney’s “My Love Is Your Love” lyric “it will take an eternity to break us” ring true. 

 

I’ve got more to give,” Whitney said. “They just don’t know it yet. I like to hold a little back.

 

I had just finished interviewing Bobby, and our conversation had been taped for possible use in the reality show. As the lights were being switched off, and the cameras packed away, the sound of music floated in to the restaurant.

Someone was playing the grand piano out in the lobby and the sound was uncommonly sweet. The guests of the Westin hotel continued chatting among themselves, unaware that the woman seated at the black piano bench with her hat pulled down low was the multiplatinum, Grammy Award winning superstar Whitney Houston. She spoke quietly to herself as she felt her way through the chords of a timeless love song, summoning keyboard skills learned in church.

She said that she’d like to record a gospel album “because that’s where I’m from,” but that she knew “Clive ain’t trying to hear it.” Still, judging by this impromptu recital, Alicia Keys was not the only Clive Davis signee capable of throwing down on the ivories. “I’ve got more to give,” Whitney said later. “They just don’t know it yet. I like to hold a little back.”

She got so absorbed in her playing that she didn’t begin to sing until near the end. Only then did a few hotel guests look up and start to take notice. She sang a song about instant, abiding love, made famous by Roberta Flack, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” And before the song was over, Whitney found her voice, which was disarmingly quiet and delicate.

“Your face,” she sang in rising tones, piano chords gathering strength for a final flourish. There was nothing tentative about her playing now. Seeing the music flowing freely through her was a joy to behold.

“Your faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace—I saaaw…” and here Whitney added an effortless little riff that could break your heart. “Your face,” she concluded, the last chords reverberating in the air as Whitney finally exhaled.

Tags: whitney-houston, bobby-brown
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