Bobby Brown gets candid about addiction during his marriage to Whitney Houston.
In the second half of A&E Biography: Bobby Brown, which aired Tuesday night, the singer opened up about being addicted to crack, heroin, cocaine and alcohol before finally getting sober. He also shared the “big misconception” about his marriage to Houston.
Brown, 53, was described in the press as the “bad boy” during his relationship with Houston and blamed for his drug spiral. However, he said the angelic-voiced ‘Greatest Love of All’ singer was the most experienced drug addict when they met, something he found out on their wedding day in 1992.
On their wedding day, the New Edition alum was “scared to death” and locked himself in a bathroom, where he “drank, smoked, snorted” cocaine, he candidly recalls. It was his then-wife and friend, Alicia Etheredge, who actually helped him get over his nervousness — by getting him out of the bathroom.
When he walked out and felt ready to get married, he saw his bride-to-be for the first time and she “did a line of coke.” While he called it a “shock” to see her “sniffle for the first time”, amid his nerves on the wedding day – and worrying whether he was doing the right thing – it gave him the felt like he “had more in common” with Houston than he thought.
However, “I was new to [using cocaine] and she, I guess, had been doing it for a while,” he said.
Brown said when he and Houston aren’t getting high, things are going well. “He was just the nicest, sweetest person I know. They weren’t ‘sick-ridden’ at first. They were focused on raising their new baby, Bobbi Kristina, who is born in 1993, and “partyed” on the weekends. Cocaine quickly “became a problem in our marriage… After a while, we lost our minds.
Brown admitted that in addition to cocaine, he smoked heroin and crack cocaine, the latter of which he mixed with marijuana.
“Being a drug addict is really hard,” said Brown, who has been sober for 20 years and an alcoholic for two. “You don’t know you’re a drug addict until it gets worse and worse.”
One of the worst moments was touring with New Edition reunited in 1997 and Houston joining them on the road. Brown remembers being so high he thought Houston was trying to kill him. He said he kicked everyone off the tour bus, stopped, and walked through a field with a .357 magnum in his hand and cocaine, crack, and weed in different pockets.
“They are trying to kill me! he remembers screaming when the owner of the property came out with a shotgun pointed at him. Brown quit the tour after this due to the drama as well as a respiratory issue, describing it as the “lowest of lows”.
But it was not his “stone bottom”. It came after he was jailed in Florida for 65 days in 2000 after violating parole in a drunk driving incident four years earlier. His addiction was at its peak when he went to jail, but when he left he said he was completely clean and sober from narcotics. However, Houston did not get sober while incarcerated.
“When Whitney came to pick me up [from jail], of course, there were drugs in the car,” he recalls. “And I didn’t want it. I was grateful that I hadn’t. It was out of my system. It was then that I knew I had moved to a different area. I was in a different space at that time. This is where the problems started with her and me. I wanted her to get sober like me. It was really hard for both of us to stick together and be together after that.”
He said Houston “always used hard drugs” and although he himself was free of them, he began abusing alcohol and developing an addiction to it. Brown insisted that they “would still be together if it hadn’t been for the drugs. The drugs got the better of us.”
Brown also wanted to dispel a “big misconception” and that was that he was physically abusive towards Houston during their admittedly “tumultuous” marriage. Brown was charged in 2003 with battery after an altercation with Houston left her with a bruise on her cheek and a cut upper lip. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail for violating his probation.
“A big misconception about me [was that I was] physically abusing Whitney,” he said. “I never, ever physically hit her — intentionally.”
About the injury, Brown claimed that Houston “interfered with a fight I was having with one of the drug dealers we were dealing with.” He claimed he was sober and “booed” the dealer to make sure he wouldn’t come home.
“Whitney got in the way,” he claimed. “My hand came back, hit her. It was the worst time of my life. It was something I felt really bad about. I never expected to get my hands on her and to this day , I wish that hadn’t happened.”
In 2006, Houston filed for separation from Brown, and their divorce was finalized the following year. While he entered the marriage with $55 million — Houston’s father made him show his bank statements before the couple were allowed to wed ‘The Voice’ — he walked away with nothing, including custody by Bobbi Kristina.
“I left everything on the table,” he said, including his cars, his house and his money. He moved to Los Angeles and lived in his car in future wife Etheredge’s driveway until he was legally divorced. Brown then dated Etheredge, a music executive, with whom he had a longtime friendship, and they married in 2012.
It was also the year Houston died after drowning in a hotel bathtub due to coronary heart disease and cocaine poisoning. Brown learned the news while on tour with New Edition. His longtime comrades told him when he came off stage.
Brown began to cry as he recalled being “shocked” by the news. “It was just amazing, man… It was the worst time of my life to know she was gone… I wasn’t there… I wish I could have been there for her. But we had made our beds and we had to lie in them.”
Looking back, Brown said “knowing what happened…I think we could have helped each other. I think she would still be here if we hadn’t divorced.”
Hot on the heels of the documentary, Brown has a new docu-series, Bobby Brown: Every Baby Step, which focuses on his life now with Etheredge and skips past the deaths of his daughter Bobbi Kristina and son Bobby Jr. which airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. after the doc. Its regular time slot will be Tuesdays at 9 p.m. starting June 7.