FBI file on Whitney Houston shows fan’s extortion attempt
Controversy follows Whitney Houston, even in death as the FBI on Monday released files on the late pop singer detailing letters from obsessed fans and an alleged extortion attempt investigated by the bureau.
The 128 pages from Whitney Houston’s files posted online on the FBI’s website showed one fan’s attention-seeking letters but did not divulge any new insights into the troubled singer’s personal life.
Whitney Houston, known both for her operatic-strength R&B/pop vocals, and her troubled marriage to fellow pop icon Bobby Brown, was found dead last year in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub. Los Angeles Police labelled her death an accidental drowning due to drug use and heart disease.
The FBI began its file on Whitney Houston sometime between 1988 and 1999, according to the files, which contain love letters sent by a Vermont man, who wrote that he “might hurt someone with some crazy idea.”
The file shows the FBI interviewed the man but concluded that no law was broken because the man said he would have only hurt Houston’s reputation by proclaiming his love publicly.
The FBI file also shows an alleged $250,000 extortion attempt in 1992 wherein someone threatened to make public private information unless Whitney Houston paid up. Incredibly, Whitney Houston appears to have told the FBI in an interview that she considered the person a friend.
Whitney Houston in 1999 also received letters and recorded cassette tapes from the Netherlands which she deemed threatening, according to the files.
The sender made outrageous claims in an FBI interview that he was “President of Europe,” purchased Brazil for $66 billion and helped Nelson Mandela win election in South Africa.
Houston, born Whitney Elizabeth Houston, was an iconic American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know”, influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps.
Whitney Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone’s best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.