Whitney Houston: Anthony Dixon/LFI
Gary Susman
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Don’t tell Bobby Brown, but Whitney Houston is stepping out with a younger man. It’s one of the students on ”Boston Public.” According to TVGuide.com, in the May 12 season finale of the Fox drama, Houston will play herself, the recipient of one nervy senior’s 10-page letter asking her to be his prom date. To everyone’s surprise, she says yes. (Gee, and we thought it was a coup a few years ago when that New Jersey kid got Wendy the Snapple Lady to be his prom date.)

During the episode, Houston will cross paths with a real-life aspiring hitmaker, ”American Idol”’s Tamyra Gray. Gray, who’s had a recurring role this season as Winslow High student Aisha, plans to sing at the prom but gets understandably nervous when she learns Houston will attend. Houston tries to cure her stage fright, offering an impromptu rendition of her new single, ”Try It on My Own.” The show will mark Houston’s first acting role since the 1997 TV movie ”Cinderella” — unless you count last December’s bizarre interview with Diane Sawyer as a dramatic performance.

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