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 an incident report saying only that they were called Saturday to her home in suburban Atlanta in response to “a drowning,” and had secured the scene for investigators.
“Bobbi Kristina is fighting for her life and is surrounded by immediate family,” the Houston family said in a statement 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 in her tub at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Authorities found a dozen prescription drug bottles in the suite and listed heart disease and cocaine use as contributors, but concluded that she accidentally drowned.
Bobbi Kristina, then 18, was outside Houston’s room, and 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.
But Houston was an impossible act to follow for her daughter, who identified herself on Twitter as “Daughter of Queen WH,” ”Entertainer/Actress” with William Morris & Co., and “LAST of a dying breed.”
Houston had her first No. 1 hit by the time she was 22, followed by 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 songs like “Saving All My Love For You,” ”I Will Always Love You,” ”The Greatest Love of All” and “I’m Every Woman.” Her six Grammys were only a fraction of her many 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 that 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 made more headlines for drug use, weight loss and family disputes.
“Damn, lol, it’s incredible how the world will judge you 4ANY&EVERYthing,” she tweeted in March of 2014.
Bobbi Kristina was born into the tumult of a toxic relationship between two famous people.
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.
A year later, she gave birth to Bobbi Kristina, and her drug use took off. When Bobbi Kristina was only a toddler, Houston told S2SMagazine that she was a “functioning junkie.” Her husband’s struggles with addiction also have been also well-chronicled, and 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 Brown and Houston 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.”
While the Houston-Brown family stayed in the Atlanta area, they added a new member: Nick Gordon, an orphan. While Houston never formally adopted him, he became like a brother to Bobbi Kristina.
Houston sought recovery through rehab in California in 2004 and took the kids with her. By 2007, she divorced Brown, keeping Bobbi Kristina and Nick close.
The pair who 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 about the young woman’s ability to handle the fortune that they petitioned a judge to delay part of the inheritance, and Bobbi Kristina agreed.
“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 last year. “We try to be there for her, just to try to guide and direct her.”
The young couple’s marriage in 2014 troubled some members of the family, but the pair was defiant. Last week, she tweeted her late mother, saying: “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.