Whitney Houston’s family grants Oprah Winfrey exclusive access in the wake of the singer’s untimely death. In the interview, Winfrey talks to Whitney Houston’s 19-year-old daughter — and only child — Bobbi Kristina Brown.
Making it work
Pat Houston, Whitney Houston’s manager, sister-in-law and best friend, greets Oprah at the door warmly. She tells Oprah that Bobbi Kristina Brown is home and briefly discusses her condition with Oprah.
“She’s between homes. She’s 19-years-old. She’s trying to come into her own.” When Oprah asks about her support system, Pat explains, “We are her main support here. We always have been.” The tension and sadness in the room is palpable, even through film cameras and editing.
As if on queue, the petite Bobbi Kristina Brown walks into the room and stands next to a beautiful white piano. The two remained standing, chatting as if to keep the interview from being too somber and serious.
After a big embrace, Oprah asks Bobbi how she is doing. “As good as I possibly can. Just trying to keep going.” When Oprah wonders how she is getting through the loss of her mother, Bobbi seems strong. “My family. The Lord. Hearing her [Whitney].”
Whitney’s spiritual presence
Bobbi and Oprah continue to chat, and it’s clear Bobbi can still hear and feel her mother’s presence despite her death. “Her spirit is strong,” says Bobbi. Oprah asks if her mother visits her in spiritual form. “Oh yeah,” Brown says as she nods emphatically. “Lights turn on and off… I can still sit there and laugh with her. I can still sit there and talk with her.”
Oprah doesn’t ask Bobbi about her night in the hospital or about the recent public revelation that Bobbi Kristina inherits the entirety of her mother’s estate. It seems Oprah wants to keep the questions focused on Brown’s emotional well-being, careful to avoid direct triggers of immense pain and sorrow.
Bobbi Kristina comes off as strong, mentioning several times her determination to get through the traumatic loss of her mother. “I’ve got to carry on her legacy.” She continues, “I still have a voice. We’re going to do this singing thing, some acting, some dancing.” Oprah interjects, asks Bobbi if she’s worried about the pressure of following in her mother’s famous footsteps. “It is a lot of pressure, but she prepared me for it… She was preparing me for what was to come.”
Remembering Whitney, remembering Mom
Bobbi Kristina offers an intimate portrait of her mother and the sheltered relationship her and Whitney shared. “I just saw her as mom.” She said later, “At the funeral, I was like wow, this woman made an impact on a few people. More than that, an impact on the world.”
Whitney Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.