| Whitney Houston (left) with Diane Sawyer of ABC news. (Reuters)
Los Angeles, Dec. 4 (Reuters): Pop diva Whitney Houston, confronting health and lifestyle questions that are clouding her career, acknowledges a history of drug and alcohol abuse but insists in a rare television interview that “the party’s over.”
In the interview with ABC television to be broadcast tonight, Houston also denied persistent rumours that she is suffering from eating disorders.
“I am not sick. Let’s get that straight. I am not sick, OK'” she told Diane Sawyer in the interview which is to be aired on ABC’s Primetime days ahead of the release of Just Whitney... her first album of all new material in four years.
Excerpts of the interview were released by the network yesterday.
In it, the 39-year-old entertainer addressed a wide range of questions about her private life, including her stormy marriage to singer Bobby Brown, who was arrested last month in Atlanta and charged with drug and traffic offenses.
Asked about her own history of substance abuse — “Is it alcohol' Is it marijuana' Is it cocaine' Is it pills'” — Houston answered: “It has been at times.”
“All'” asked Sawyer, to which Houston replied: “At times. Uh-hm.” But Houston added: “I don’t like to think of myself addicted. I had a bad habit... which can be broken... I’m not gonna tell you I’m somebody’s junkie.”
“My business is sex, dru- gs, rock ‘n’ roll. You know' My friends, we have a good time. But as you get older and you get wiser ... you stop a lot of the kid stuff,” Houston said.
“Trust me. I partied my tail off... you get to a point where ... the party’s over.”
Houston insisted her religious faith would see her through tough times. “I’m on the right path ... I’m a very prayerful person, even in the midst of the trouble, of the battle.”
Questions about Houston’s health and behaviour have been swirling in gossip columns for years, stoked in early 2000 when she was abruptly dropped from the performance lineup of the Academy Awards broadcast and again by her gaunt appearance at Michael Jackson’s tribute concert last year. She was also arrested at an airport in 2000 for marijuana possession, but the charges were later dropped.
Houston acknowledged she was fired from the Oscars by the show’s producer, her old friend Burt Bacharach. “I didn’t mind. I really didn’t want to do it anyway,” she said. “I had gotten bronchitis... And I asked him just for a day, just to get it together. And that’s a long story.”
She also vehemently denied that her thinness was the result of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. “No way,” she said. “I’ve always been a thin girl. I’m not going to be fat, ever. Let’s get that straight.” She said at times of emotional stress her “eating habits were awful”.
Houston also appeared on camera with Brown, former member of the R&B group New Edition, who acknowledged that he smokes marijuana on occasion to help him cope with manic depression. “I’m diagnosed bipolar,” Brown said. “Every now and then ... I smoke a joint ... It’s not an every day thing ... it keeps me calm.”
Brown said he is unable to take Lithium for his disorder, and Houston explained, “He was catatonic... [it] took his whole spirit away.”
Houston also said she still loves her 81-year-old father despite the $100 million lawsuit his entertainment company has filed against her alleging breach of contract. “We’ll work it out, because no matter what, he’s my dad. And I’m his daughter,” she said, adding: “They’ll never get $100 million out of me. I know that!”