Whitney Houston made a ‘valiant attempt’ to give up drugs
Whitney Houston struggled with her addiction right before her death.
Music producer Clive Davis, who first signed the singer to a record deal when she was 20 years old and worked with her throughout her career, tells Page Six that he was shocked when she died in 2012.
“I was with her 48 hours before she died,” Davis told Page Six in an exclusive interview, adding, “It never occurred to me” that she would die two days later.
Houston, who struggled with substance abuse throughout her life, had been working to get sober.
“She showed me what she had done in rehab,” explained the 90-year-old record producer. “How she had quit smoking, how she had cleared her throat of nicotine. And she would start going to the studio… I never would have thought 48 hours before her death that she would pass, that there would be the horrible, premature end to her life.
He added: “She made a valiant attempt during that period to give up drugs and rehabilitate herself.”
“I will always love you” the singer was found unconscious in a Beverly Hilton suite, submerged in the bathtub on February 11, 2012. Paramedics performed CPR, but she became unresponsive and died at age 48.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office reported that her death was accidental and caused by drowning and “the effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use.” Toxicology results found additional drugs in her system, including Benadryl, Xanax and cannabis.
The Arista Records founder still remembers when Houston auditioned for him singing the song “The Greatest Love of All.”
“I knew at that audition that this was a once-in-a-lifetime singer,” he shared.
Davis, who is portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” which he co-produced, says the film “answers all the questions the public wants to know about Whitney.”
“Whether it’s her sexuality, whether it’s how she reacted to any suggestion that she wasn’t singing black enough, or whether it was the effects of drugs, or whether it was recording with me,” he said.
Houston — who married and divorced New Edition alum Bobby Brown — was long dogged by rumors that she had a relationship with assistant Robyn Crawford.
In 2019, Crawford wrote a book, “A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston“, in which she confirmed the couple dated after meeting as teenagers in the summer of 1980, when they were both counselors at a summer camp.
“The film is very clear that she had an affair with Robyn as a teenager and then she said on her own, ‘This is not for me,'” Davis explained. “And that, ‘I want a home. I want a marriage. I want children. I don’t want a fight to the death with my parents. It’s against my religion. I want you to be mine best friend.'”
“And those were the terms. I mean, it shows men that she had affairs with well before Bobby,” he continued. her marriage. She wasn’t sexually frustrated with Bobby. She was wildly attracted, maybe too attracted, in a mutually self-destructive relationship, but she wasn’t frustrated.”
Davis encourages Houston fans to see the movie in theaters “with a good sound system because it really showcases all the great songs and of course that voice in a meaningful way.
He continued: “The voice that was the finest of her generation and is up there with the two or three best ever. That’s what the film does.”
The music executive, who has worked with everyone from Janis Joplin to Santana to Billy Joel to Pink Floyd, said he knows pretty quickly if he wants to work with someone.
“I don’t read music. I don’t play music. It’s something that hits me. But when you’re dealing with an artist, for example, when you go back, when you’re auditing, let’s say a Springsteen, when you’re auditing a Patti Smith, you wouldn’t know it on the first song. That’s some writing talent there. That’s exceptional there.”
“I want to dance with someone” is playing in theaters now.