She needed to rough up her squeaky-clean image and dispel those oft-denied rumors about the intimate nature of her relationship with her executive assistant Robyn Crawford. He stood to benefit from her superstar respectability, having already fathered three children out of wedlock and been arrested for simulating sex on stage. Up until the very last moment, most people assumed the relationship was nothing more than a publicity stunt, but on July 18, 1992, America’s reigning pop princess Whitney Houston wed R&B bad boy Bobby Brown.
The private ceremony was held in a gazebo on Houston’s New Jersey estate. The bride and groom both wore white, she a $40,000 formfitting Marc Bouwer confection, he a matching tuxedo. Platinum rings were exchanged, lips were locked, and seven doves were set free. Then the bride and groom joined 800 guests for the reception — featuring a 10-foot-high purple (her favorite color) wedding cake — Houston capped the evening by leading a conga line, singing ”I Want to Thank You, Heavenly Father.”
Still, the skeptics wouldn’t rest. The facts, as they saw them, just didn’t add up. On her wedding day, Houston was 28, five years Brown’s senior. She was enjoying the success of her third album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, and looking forward to the release of her feature-film debut, The Bodyguard, while Brown had kept a low profile since his 1988 hit Don’t Be Cruel.
The press predicted the marriage’s demise ad nauseam, even after the newlyweds collaborated on ”Something in Common” for Brown’s ’92 comeback album, Bobby. With lyrics that described their bond (”I’m the type of girl who understands my man/I’ll be strong when he’s weak, I will hold his hand”), the former choir girl and the man-child from the projects tried to impress upon doubters just how real their love was. As an encore, Houston gave birth to a daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in 1993.
What looked like a blessed union, however, was soon roiled by his arrests for battery (he was never convicted), struggles with substance abuse, and parole violations, and by her alarming prima donna behavior. Most recently, Brown finished 65 days in jail on July 7 for breaking his parole stemming from a 1996 drunken-driving conviction. As for Houston, she had her own run in with Hawaiian airport officials who allegedly found 15.2 grams of marijuana in her bag when she departed from Keahole-Kona International Airport in January. But through it all, Brown and Houston still seem very devoted to each other, and — thanks to Brown’s release — poised to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary together.
Time Capsule: July 18, 1992
At the movies, Rick Moranis rules the day as his sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid bows to an $11 million gross. On television, the third-season premiere of Beverly Hills, 90210 and the second episode of its spin-off, Melrose Place, finish in the top 10. In music, the Billy Ray Cyrus crossover smash Some Gave All continues its run atop the Billboard album chart. And in the news, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail two days after accepting the Democratic presidential nomination before a whopping 27 million TV viewers.