Earlier this month, on March 4, marked what would have been Bobbi Kristina Brown’s 30th birthday, the only daughter to the late Whitney Houston and her ex Bobby Brown.
As many know, the mother and daughter both died in eerily similar circumstances, just three years apart. But their lives that led them to their early and tragic deaths appeared to be just as similar.
Whitney was born to a musical family. Her mother was two-time Grammy award winner, Cissy Houston, and her cousins included just as – if not more – successful artists Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick and Leontyne Price.
Obviously, Bobbi grew up the same way, with both her parents being very successful singers, and even the added pressure of her extended family’s musical reputation.
Right away, both Whitney and Bobbi had quite the shoes to fill.
Both Whitney and Bobbi turned to drugs and both Whitney and Bobbi got involved with people who enabled and participated in their addictions.
Regardless of whether or not they were addicts before their relationships, neither of them had much of a support system to help wean them off. Houston, at one point, described herself as a “functioning junkie”.
Whitney was musical from a young age, joining her church choir as a child. She released her debut album in 1985, and by 1992, she was starring in Hollywood movies.
Bobbi, born in 1993, frequented the studio with her mother, and can even be heard on the 1998 track from the album of the same name, “My Love is Your Love”. Shortly after, in 2005, the reality tv show, Being Bobby Brown, followed Bobby, Whitney, and Bobbi Kristina, as well as a number of extended family members, as they tried to put their lives back together.
With all of this, their family lives were all but private. Whitney and Bobby’s relationship was constantly under scrutiny for being toxic and the reason that either of them used drugs.
They ultimately decided to divorce in 2007.
In their time apart, Bobby took it upon himself to get clean, and was under the impression that Whitney was doing the same.
In 2018, Brown told Rolling Stone, “She was really working hard on herself to try to be a sober person,” insisting that “brokenhearted[ness]” is what truly killed the acclaimed musician.
Alas, on February 11, 2012, Whitney was found facedown in a hotel bathtub just a day before the Grammy Awards ceremony. Her official cause of death was drowning due to drug intoxication.
The remaining three years of Bobbi’s life so heavily mirrored Whitney’s experiences, that it was almost fate that her death would be so similar.
She made her acting debut in 2012 on Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse.
Then, in 2014, she announced that she was engaged to her longtime best friend, Nick Gordon, a relationship that received immense criticism.
Although Gordon was approved by Bobbi’s grandmother, Cissy, her friends said that the relationship was not the best.
“Krissy felt isolated from the whole family and that left her completely dependent on Nick for everything,” Alex Reid, a close friend of Bobbi’s, told E! News in 2015. “It was just her and Nick and that was it.”
That same year, Bobbi was found unresponsive in a bathtub in January. By July, after receiving treatment and spending her time in hospice care, she ultimately died the same as her mother, just a bit delayed.
“The underlying cause of death is the condition which starts the downhill course of events leading to death and in this case is the immersion associated with drug intoxication,” the medical examiner said in a statement at the time. “The pneumonia and encephalopathy are more immediate causes which resulted from the immersion and drug intoxication.”
The surviving family of Whitney and Bobbi would continue to feel hurt from drug-related deaths, Bobby Brown’s son, Bobby Jr., died of an accidental overdose in 2020, as did Bobbi’s ex, Nick Gordon.
While Whitney and Bobbi are hopefully reunited after their deep struggles in coping with life, we can remember them with this quote Whitney said to ET after her only daughter was born in 1993.
“She brings me a lot of joy. She brings both Bobby and I a lot of joy. It’s a different thing when you become a mother. It changes your whole perspective on life. You really don’t live for you anymore. You’re living for your children.”