Feb 2, 2015 5:59 PM
Haunting parallels between Whitney Houston, daughter
The Associated Press
ROSWELL, Georgia (AP) The parallels are haunting: Bobbi Kristina Brown and her mother, Whitney Houston, were both found face-down in bathtubs as the music industry prepared for the Grammy Awards.
Both lived in the constant glare of entertainment industry attention, both struggled with drugs; both married men criticized by family and friends as wrong for them.
As the pop star's 21-year-old daughter lay hospitalized Monday, police in Roswell, Georgia, issued a very brief incident report, saying officers were called Saturday in response to her "drowning" at her home in suburban Atlanta. Her husband, Nick Gordon, was at the scene and tried to revive her while a friend called 911.
"Bobbi Kristina is fighting for her life and is surrounded by immediate family," a Houston family statement said Monday. "We are asking you to honor our request for privacy during this difficult time. Thank you for your prayers, well wishes, and we greatly appreciate your continued support."
With no details forthcoming from police or family about her condition or what may have caused the tragedy, many people looked to see what she's been posting online. Her last tweet, from Thursday, reflected obvious frustration over her failure to break out as an entertainer: "Let's start this career up&&moving OUT to TO YOU ALLLL quick shall we !?!???!"
Two days later, her non-responsive body was discovered, in circumstances eerily similar to her mother's death.
On Feb. 11, 2012, just before the Grammys, Houston's assistant found the singer's lifeless body face-down in a foot of water. Authorities found a dozen prescription drug bottles in the Beverly Hills Hotel suite and listed heart disease and cocaine use as contributors, but concluded that she accidentally drowned.
Bobbi Kristina, then 18, became so distraught that she needed to be hospitalized.
"She wasn't only a mother, she was a best friend," she told Oprah shortly after her mother's death in 2012.
Bobbi Kristina identified herself on Twitter as "Daughter of Queen WH," ''Entertainer/Actress" with William Morris & Co., and "LAST of a dying breed." But her mother was an impossible act to follow.
Houston had her first No. 1 hit at 22, and then a flurry of No. 1 songs, selling more than 50 million records in the United States alone. Her voice, an ideal blend of power, grace and beauty, made classics out of "Saving All My Love For You," ''I Will Always Love You," ''The Greatest Love of All" and "I'm Every Woman." Her six Grammys joined many other awards.
Bobbi Kristina inherited her mother's entire estate, but not her voice. Aside from her family's short-lived reality TV show "The Houstons: On Our Own," she has mostly appeared in online "selfies" and images captured by paparazzi.
She told Oprah she wanted to sing, act and dance, like her mother and that she was coping as best she could.
But in the years after her mother's death, she mostly made headlines for drug use, weight loss and family disputes, failing to escape the tumult she had known all her life.
Houston met R&B star Bobby Brown at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1989. The gifted singer and her bad boy partner married in 1992, much to the dismay of Houston's family. It was a toxic relationship, characterized by domestic violence and drugs. A year later, she gave birth to Bobbi Kristina, and by the time she was a toddler, Houston told S2SMagazine that she was a "functioning junkie." Her husband's struggles with addiction also have been also well-chronicled. Around 2002, the family decamped to the Atlanta area, drawn to a healing service by a singer-turned evangelical preacher.
Houston's love for her only child was evident throughout. She sang "Happy Birthday" to Bobbi Kristina while on Oprah, and often brought her on stage.
The girl made a few appearances on "Being Bobby Brown," the reality show that infamously captured her parents fighting, swearing and appearing in court. The Hollywood Reporter said "not only does it reveal Brown to be even more vulgar than the tabloids suggest, but it manages at the same time to rob Houston of any last shreds of dignity."
Soon, Gordon joined the family. Houston never formally adopted him, but he became like a brother to Bobbi Kristina.
Houston took the kids with her when she sought rehab in California in 2004, and then divorced Brown in 2007.
The pair who had called each other big brother and little sister went public with their romance about a month after Houston's death.
Later that year, Houston's mother Cissy and sister-in-law Patricia were so concerned that others would prey on the young woman's fortune that they petitioned a judge to delay part of the inheritance, and Bobbi Kristina agreed.
The young couple's announcement of their marriage in January 2014 troubled some members of the family. Her aunt Patricia Houston soon obtained a restraining order against Gordon, effective through April 2015.
"Damn, lol, it's incredible how the world will judge you 4ANY&EVERYthing," Bobbi Kristina tweeted last March.
But by September, Patricia Houston was praising her niece.
"I'm very proud of Krissy. You know, young people today are up against so much with social media and everything else that presents itself to them, and they have to use everything within their power to stay abreast and to keep a foundation, and that's what the family does," Patricia Houston told the Associated Press. "We try to be there for her, just to try to guide and direct her."
Throughout, Bobbi Kristina expressed love for her husband. Just last week, she tweeted again: "Littlelady&yourgrowing young man @nickdgordon miss you mommy ..:') SOmuch.. loving you more every sec. #Anniversary!"
Contributors include Kathleen Foody and Mesfin Fekdu. Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Fla.