[While she was away touring for Elvis Presley when Whitney was a child]
I’d call home every night, allowing for the time difference and timing the call to be near the kids’ bedtime. Gary was a little bit older and kept his feelings in check.
Nippy was always into something — busy playing or watching her favorite performer, Michael Jackson, on TV.
Was there a moment when you were watching her perform and realized there was something exceptional there?
Well, I thought she was a very special kid from Jump Street, not just because she was mine. She was beautiful and talented and very smart. And she was very observant, interested in the things around her. Most children are, I guess, up to a point. But she was exceptional in that area. She would listen very closely to music, and she was always very alert musically.
And then she started to sing herself. I called it screaming at the time—well, my husband did. But I said, “Hey, one day, maybe she’ll be a singer.”
And Whitney used to tell me she would. She would look at Michael Jackson and say, “Mommy, I’m going to be a star. I’m going to take care of you, and you’re never going to have to work again!”
[Sometime in 1984, Jermaine at a meeting with Clive Davis]
“Now, before you leave, can you put your producer’s cap on for a minute?” Clive Davis asked. “I have this new artist…” He pushed a tape into his VHS recorder and we sat back to watch this tall girl with model looks and an incredible voice singing in a club in somewhere like New Jersey. She must have been about 18. That was my first sigh and sound of Whitney Houston. “She needs material,” he said. “She’s going to be huge. I’m working with other producers. We’re not rushing her. What do you think?”
I blurted out what was in my head the moment I heard her voice: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. That’s the gold standard I had in mind. A duet. Me and her. “I’d be excited to work with her,” I said. “We’d be perfect together.”
THE FIRST TIME I SAW WHITNEY in the flesh she was at a studio in Hollywood. She was even more gorgeous in person. She walked over, we shook hands, and there was one of those recognitions that sends all sorts of wires sparking and fusing on the inside. I caught her during a break in recording, and she was smoking. “You don’t want to smoke those,” I said. “They’ll ruin your voice.”
She smiled. “You might want to live more dangerously,” she said. Touche. This girl was quick witted with a confidence that trod on your toes. She was that mix of street smart East Coast girl with an air of innocence and a vast talent. I found that a hypnotic combination.
Her voice had strength, passion and softness, and she could use every element of her range to tell a song’s story. She could sing anything. We would spend a lot of time in the studio together, recording duets and in production, and soon enough, she was calling me Jackson, not Jermaine, setting the easy atmosphere in which we worked. We had an instant mutual respect for each other and a growing attraction. During our increasing time together, it was what we didn’t say – yet still conveyed – that sent me into a head spin. I kept reminding myself about Hazel, the family, and everything I had built and everyone I loved. This was the stuff they didn’t warn you about when you got married, aged 19. They didn’t tell you that when you grew up there would be super human forces to drag you toward temptation. No matter your intentions, you should be tested. And this collaboration, with an as yet unknown artist, was to be mine.
VICTORY’S SCHEDULING MEANT WE WEREN’T SOLIDLY on the road for five months. We had periods back home and we had off days built in, which gave me time to continue my collaboration with Whitney Houston on her debut album. Clive Davis was still building the hype about his protegee, throwing parties on both coasts and clearly wanting to ride this collaboration on the crest of he brothers’ tour. There was always some club to attend, like the Limelight in New York, or a promotional party in LA, where Whitney and I made our well choreographed entrances. I didn’t know at the time, but someone from Arista was always nudging the writing elbows of gossip columnists in the hope of building an are-they-or-aren’t-they mystery. But it seemed the press was more interested in the fact that Whitney spent a lot of time with a woman named Robyn Crawford. Whitney once described their friendship as being “closer than sisters” – and that was all journalists needed to read between the lines. They were curious about her sexual orientation before her album was even released.
Having witnessed this kind of false diversion play itself out in Michael’s life, I had every sympathy, but we also laughed about it in the studio because, trust me, if you had spent more than two minutes in the charged energy of the “Whitney Whirlpool”, you didn’t need to ask how that fire smouldered.
I knew I was in trouble in the face of that fire when Clive booked us on to the CBS soap opera As The World Turns to test our duet “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” for the wedding scene of Betsy (Meg Ryan) and Steve (Frank Runyeon). I remember when she held my hand mid song as the cameras rolled – an unrehearsed moment – and something hit me. The frisson just kept developing the more we worked together.
Back in the studio, we recorded and produced songs like Take Good Care Of My Heart, If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful, Sweetest Sweetest, and two unreleased ones called Don’t Look Any Further and Someone For Me. With each session, we were in each others eyes, almost cheek to cheek around the mic, selling the lyric, feeling the song – and the intense professional chemistry crossed over. Come the end of a powerful rendition, Whitney would just stay close to the mic, close to me, and say “What are you going to do with me, Jackson?” She held the seductive gaze. I lost my words. Then she walked away.
These were turning into duets between temptation and forbidden love, and the studio sessions gave us what feel like stolen time together. I arrived on those days with butterflies, because the whole experience of being around Whitney was intoxicating. I admitted silently that I had the strongest feelings for a remarkable woman, whose heart was as beautiful as her face, and it became increasingly hard to sing love songs with all that emotion and unspoken passion between us.
I spoke to no one about this until the day Michael raised an innocent enough question:
“So how’s it going with Whitney?”
He’d heard me predict that “She is going to be the biggest thing when people hear her voice.”
“Were getting along very well,” I told him, smiling.
“You like her?” he asked.
“Yeah, I like her.” Still smiling.
“Oh, you really like her!” He started chuckling.
“I really like her,” I said. Smile now gone.
Michael got excitable. “You in love with her?”
“I can’t be in love,” I said. “I’m married.”
That was a deliberate lie. I was caught between the guilt of saying it out loud and respect for his position because he was, at this time, still a devout Jehovah’s Witness. I guess I didn’t want to be a disappointment to him having for so long been an example.
I can’t remember what his exact words were in the back and forth that we had, but for a man with limited experience of this kind of thing, he had the wisdom of a sage. He didn’t fuel the temptation as some guys would. He reminded me about Hazel. About family. About not getting wrapped up in the moment. He gave the soundest advice, and I knew that doing “the right thing” was ultimately what I had to do.
Whitney and I spoke endlessly about our shared predicament and as much as I wanted to lose myself in all these feelings, I told her to wait. I spoke of “one day” and “maybe.” Ultimately, we had to go our separate ways and it killed us both even if it was the right sensible option.
I don’t think anyone punched the air harder than I when the album “Whitney” became the biggest début album ever, selling 16 million copies worldwide after its release in 1985. Two years later, her follow-up album turned her into the first female artist to have an album début at number one. We didn’t see each other for years after we finished recording.
In fact, she saw more of Michael than of me backstage at one of his concerts in New York, and then again in 1988 when she was onstage with Quincy Jones to help present Michael with an honorary doctorate in humanities from Fisk University. I saw newspaper photographs of them together in this moment and I observed the irony of them side by side.
In 1985, I received a phone call from someone close to Whitney, telling me that she was releasing her new single “Saving All My Love For You.” Like Michael, she expressed herself through song. When I watched the official music video, I soon realized that it was also autobiographical with its parallels-and coded message-to what we had recently shared in the studio together. I guess we had both left a deep and abiding impression on one another and her positive impact has never left me.
But he claimed they quelled their feelings for each other before becoming lovers.
Revealing how he was torn between his wife and the beautiful singer, he wrote: “Whitney and I spoke about our shared predicament.
“And as much as I wanted to lose myself in all these feelings, I told her to wait.
“I spoke of ‘one day’ and ‘maybe’. Ultimately, we had to go our separate ways and it killed us both.”
But the friend revealed Jermaine was being less than honest — because he did not want to reveal the truth out of respect to Whitney while she was alive.
The pal explained: “Jermaine didn’t tell even half the story in his book.
“He made it sound like they flirted and backed away. But they were lovers.
“In those early days with Whitney, he was smuggled into her hotel rooms, they worked extra late in the studio and she even had a codename for him. She referred to him as ‘Ji’.
“The reason it ended was because Jermaine wouldn’t leave his wife — and Whitney was angry. The video for Saving All My Love For You was about all of that.”
BREAKING NEWS: Journalists lift quotes from books. UPDATE: Journalists don’t tend to tell authors in advance. (Shocking, I know)
“I later learned that he had romanced Whitney Houston, the beautiful model Iman, and Stevie Wonder’s sister.”
About half the show is the new CD, the rest her past hits. “I have to do ‘How Will I Know’ and ‘Saving All My Love’ and ‘I Will Always Love You,’” she says. “Those songs brought me here. I’ll do them forever.”
And is that a burden?
“No, because they all had meaning for me. When I did ‘Saving All My Love,’ I was going through a terrible love affair. He was married — and that will never work out for anybody, never, no way, forget about it.”
Whitney Houston the reigning princess of pop has her sights set on royal marriage of sorts. She says she’d like to do a duet with the prince of pop Michael Jackson: ”He’s one of the people I believe to be a genuine talent and for me to be able to sing with him would be the ultimate honor. It’s one of the goals I’m working toward to.”
“Michael winced when Whitney flubbed “Lift Every Voice And Sing” but loved her “America The Beautiful.”
In a televised interview, Whitney revealed, “Of all the people that I would like to do a song with, Michael Jackson would be on the top of the list.” She also mentioned that she had talked to the elusive superstar on the phone, but didn’t have the nerve, despite her own celebrity, to ask him to record an album with her.
The increasingly media-savvy young singer also couldn’t resist the temptation of hinting that she and Michael were an item. One reporter fell for the ploy and wrote, “Whitney seems to be trying very hard to get in good with Michael Jackson. She seems to be everywhere that he is–a coincidence?”
Indeed, Houston did seem to pop up in Michael’s life at regular intervals. In 1988, she was spotted a various functions that Jackson also attended. She made sure they were photographed arm in arm at the Grammy’s and she spoke of Jackson fondly in interviews. In March of that year, Michael was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Fisk University in recognition of his generous donations to the United Negro College Fund. Houston attended the ceremony, which was held at the Sheraton Center in New York, and a camera caught the two stars beaming at each other.
Houston’s presence at the event could be explained by the fact that she was also a major contributor to the United Negro College Fund. But the smile she sot Michael when she came onstage to sing the unofficial black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” suggested her motives were more than philanthropic. That suspicion was confirmed when she made sure the paparazzi photographed her with Jackson.
Later that year, Whitney flew to California to present Jackson with the Life Achievement Award for Video, which was broadcast as part of the “World Music Video Awards.” After the ceremony, Jackson further fueled rumors of a romance with Houston by inviting her to lunch at his family’s compound in Encino, California. That the superstars’ relationship was less than romantic was suggested, however, when Jackson also extended the invitations to the entire production crew of the televised awards ceremony.
After lunch, Jackson gave Houston and the rest of the party, a personal tour of the grounds, on horseback as though-the same pundit joked-he hoped to keep at least a horse-length buffer between himself and Houston.
“Like my friend Michael [Jackson] says, ‘You want our blood but you don’t want our pain.”’
When interviewed on cable TV”s BET Video Soul in 1991, Whitney Houston revealed that she would like to work with Michael Jackson: ”I think he and I probably would create a lot of magic… Incredible!” She mentioned that two or three years earlier they had talked about it, but it didn’t happen. ”He hasn’t called me”, she smiled, ”but I can’t wait.”
She also confided, ”Now you know that ‘s another person I’d love to do something with. Bobby (Brown) and I would be explosive. As a matter of fact I wanted to do a duet with Bobby for the album I’m your baby tonight but that didn’t work either.”
RS: How has your huge success changed your life?
WH: It’s really strange. Michael Jackson said it best: You become this personality instead of a person.
Jackson And I Are Victims Of Racism, Whitney Houston says, The Desert News, February 21st 1994
Whitney Houston says she and Michael Jackson are victims of media racism.
“I see white folks do a lot of things – a lot of things that I wouldn’t even think about doing – and nobody cares,” Houston told TV Guide.
“I think a lot of emphasis is placed on black people because there are not many who are able to succeed. So when one does, it’s like, ‘Uh-oh.’”
Houston said she first recognized the problems last year when tabloids reported – falsely that she had been hospitalized for an addiction to diet pills.
Her awareness grew during the media frenzy over allegations that Jackson sexually molested a young boy.
“You do not convict someone of a crime that you have no idea they committed,” Houston said. “I hate the media for doing it to him.”
THERE was a time when you could have told feuding firebrand Whitney Houston to bury the hatchet – and she’d have planted it between Madonna’s shoulders.
But not any more. For the two have retracted their razor nails, shaken hands and the egos have bonded.
They are even about to make music together – which isn’t bad, considering ‘Whitters’ once called ‘Madders’ “the high priestess of tack”.
But this new-found friendship is a key element in The Taming of The Houston, Hollywood’s latest drama, brought to you exclusively by the Daily Mirror.
“I’m too exhausted by the feuding in my life to keep them all going,” says 32-year-old Whitney. “I’ve made a resolution to end all battles.”
“And she always gets what she wants,” adds her close associate Freda Maguire.
Whitney – star of the hit movie Waiting To Exhale – is a very demanding diva.
But she’s also just a girl with feelings for her fellow females.
Take Madonna – upset and exhausted after giving evidence against a crazed stalker sitting opposite her in a courtroom.
The phone rang – with Whitney, her arch-rival, offering genuine sympathy.
A couple of days before, Houston had sent Ms Ciccone a huge bouquet with the message: “I know what you’re going through. Chin Up! Love, Whitney.”
Says Freda: “When Whitney heard about Madonna’s court case last month she said: ‘I don’t care what bad blood has been between us.
“‘It’s stupid for us to hate each other. It’s a horrible feeling not knowing where the next stalker may be coming from’.”
Freda adds: “Whitney said she wanted to bury the hatchet, which was pretty great considering she once called Madonna ‘revolting’ and ‘the high priestess of tack’.
“Then Whitney actually suggested that they do a duet together. She wants it to be about being stalked, about being afraid for your life.
“Madonna agreed and they’re going to do it. The duet will appear on Whitney’s next album. It’ll be huge – imagine how many millions it’ll sell,” Freda says.
This could be all about money, but no one denies that Whitney’s had her fair share of stalkers.
Her movie The Bodyguard may have encouraged a few weirdoes – but not the one who claimed to have had three-in-a-bed sex with her or the other who was discovered with enough explosives to put Houston on the moon.
For her part, Madonna was soon praising Whitney for keeping her tricky marriage going with singer Bobby Brown.
“Whitney said Madonna is ‘a true sister. I’m sorry I ever said a bad word about her’,” Freda explains.
If that was Hollyworld War One over, Hollyworld War Two also seems about to end in peace.
This one has seen ‘Whitney v Janet Jackson’ ever since ‘Hou’ discovered ‘Jack’ had once had an affair with Bobby before he became ‘Hubby Brown’.
Step forward Janet’s brother Michael ‘Peacemaker’ Jackson. Seven years ago he and Whitney spent the night in a hotel bedroom together.
Of course, nothing happened, though Whitney blushed and refused to comment.
But Monica Pastelle, a pal of Lisa Marie Presley, says: “Michael told Lisa that Whitney practically drank him under the table that night.
“She can handle champagne. He can’t. Poor Michael had one drink, got dizzy and swooned on the bed.
“Whitney slept on a chair and slipped out before he woke. It was pretty embarrassing for him.”
But Jackson so appreciated Whitney’s tight lipped discretion, that she won his never-ending loyalty.
Michael told Whitney that sister Janet was also a fan.
So Whitney called Janet in Malibu. “They agreed to ignore pressure to keep their feud going,” says Monica.
Now Hollyworld War Three – against Diana Ross appears to be ending as well.
It all started when Whitney, then 16, met Ross, 52 next month, in a nightclub. The teenager said she idolized Ross and wanted to be a singer too.
But Diana slammed her fist on a table said: “Girl this is the worst business in the world” and then offered her a job as a baby-sitter.
Step forward Whitney’s Mum yelling: “Don’t listen to her! She’s nuts!” Exit Houstons while Ross fumed. They became the best of enemies.
As Whitney’s star climbed she said she wanted to play the lead witch in Dreamgirls, a movie character based on ‘Rossie’.
Then Whitters said she’d like to star in the Josephine Baker story, a role for which Miss Ross would kill.
But at the recent Soul Train awards, Diana hugged Whitney for a full minute – in public.
“I was shocked,” Whitney said. “Maybe it’s all behind us.”
Now all she’s gotta do is sort out Bobby.
Whitney’s explosive marriage to rap artist Bobby Brown is constantly in the news, and her string of ex-lovers includes stars such as Michael Jackson, Kevin Costner, Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro – not forgetting earlier rumours that she’s actually a lesbian.
Whitney Houston has confirmed performances for both Friday, September 7, 2001 and Monday, September 10, 2001 at the all-star tribute in honor of Michael Jackson at Madison Square Garden. Producer David Gest said in a press release:
“Whitney is one of my closest friends and I am delighted she will share this special occasion with Michael, who happens to be her favorite artist. They will perform a duet together.”
Michael expressed his delight about Whitney joining him on both nights by stating:
“I feel Whitney is one of the greatest voices in the world. She could sing the yellow pages and I would buy it. I absolutely adore her and am her greatest fan.”
The second portion of Whitney Houston’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on Tuesday (September 15) and, in addition to opening up more about her marriage to Bobby Brown and her issues with substance abuse, she also spoke candidly about how she reacted to the news of Michael Jackson’s death.
“Devastating,” Houston told Winfrey. “I have so many good memories of spending time with him. I’ve known his family for so many years that I thought, ‘It can’t be true.’ ”
Houston said that she was aware of his troubles over the years and even heard about his painkiller addiction at one point. “I knew he was on painkillers at one time… I didn’t know how far and how deep it was,” she recalled.
She said that performing with him at his 30th-anniversary special in 2001 opened her eyes — she saw him as a “mirror” because he reflected her own problems with addictions. “I just remember doing the anniversary special and I remember looking at Michael and I remember looking at myself and I was getting scared looking at him,” she said. “I was looking at myself. I don’t want it to be like this. Mike and I were very close.”
That concert was the last time that Houston remembers seeing him, but she does note that the pair stayed in touch over the years via the phone. “I think it was that time [that I saw him last], but I spoke to him during the trial a lot. He would speak to me on the phone, but he didn’t want me to see him,” she said. “[It] saddens me.”
I had the honor and pleasure of knowing him personally. I had a telephone number. I could call up and say hey Mike what you doing? He’d say Whitney, I’m alright, I’m a little tired.
I’m missing you
I can’t call you on the phone tonight
I’m missing you Mike
I’m truly for real no joke or jive
From my heart to yours Mike
I’ll never forget you
This must be the hardest part of my show
Michael and I were friends for at least 20 years. In our business, some things that are very precious you try to keep to yourself because…you know…you know how that is. We wanted to be very discreet about our friendship and our love for one another because it was a true friendship you know. He called me Whitney and I called him Michael. I don’t know what anybody else called him. I don’t know no other name but Mr. Michael Jackson. He was not the ordinary, just not the ordinary but the extraordinary. There will never ever be, in this life time, a man that (can’t understand what she says here).
I have to tell you he could do it all. Whatever he put his mind to. His body, his movement, his songs, his writings, his words and he loved entertaining you…he loved entertaining you.
I have to tell you, I spent time with Michael laughing, crying, crying, laughing, singing, talking, or not talking (she laughs).
Then she finishes by saying he would want her to tell the fans how much he loved him and he dedicated five decades of his life to entertainment.
My love for Mike is out right now here on the stage
I’m not gon hide it
See Michael, I’ll always, I’ll always, I’ll always
I’ll love you in a place where there is no space or time
I’ll love you all my life
We were friends, dear friend of mine
And now that’s over
I remember when we were
Yes we spent time alone together
David: “He should’ve married you.”
Whitney: “Yeah he damn well should’ve, right.”
David: “I love you so much.”
Whitney: “I love you, too.”
My friendship with Whitney started in 1985 when I was introduced to her by my best friend Michael Jackson.
At the time, I was producing the American Cinema Awards in LA and as Michael and I were driving to Disneyland in his Rolls-Royce, I said I would love to have Whitney receive the Distinguished Achievement in Music Award. He dialed and passed me the phone saying, “Okay, here she is, ask her.”
I was like “Holy Focaccia, Michael, you’ve got Whitney Houston on the phone!”
I liked Whitney from the moment I spoke to her and she immediately said yes to the honour.
I produced eight shows with her, a number of them in aid of her Whitney Houston Foundation.
When I met with her last year, it was to interview her for my film Michael Jackson: Life Of An Icon.
She really loved Michael and he adored her. Michael told me they once shared a passionate kiss, and she told me she was at one time very much in love with him.
I think she really wanted to marry him but, although he had a crush on her, he was too shy.
Later, he confessed to me he should have made every move. If they had got together, I believe Whitney would not have done drugs or become a semi-recluse.