Whitney Houston Net Worth at Death – How Did She Get Rich? Exposed!

Despite the income from music, songs, albums and concerts, Whitney Houston has a negative net worth of $20 million when she died. Whitney Houston, an American singer, actress, model and producer, is one of the most successful entertainers in history. Growing up in a musical family, the naturally talented beauty was encouraged to sing and play the piano at a young age. 

She began her career in the entertainment industry, singing and modeling with her mother in nightclubs before getting her own recording contract and releasing her debut album. This musical debut not only became her best-selling studio album to date, but also earned her a Grammy and catapulted her into super-pop stardom, which was followed by a series of film roles and production attempts in Hollywood. 

During her career, she released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums and received numerous awards. Her image as a soul artist was reinvented by her tremendous voice, spirit and beauty. 

As much as the famous singer was an international icon and inspiration to women, young artists and society, she also struggled with personal issues that threatened to undermine her influence. 

Houston’s reputation was tarnished by a series of ups and downs, ranging from drug use to a tumultuous relationship with her husband Bobby Brown, before her tragic death.

Today we’re going to discuss how much money Whitney Houston has and how she builds her net worth.

At the end of this article, we will also tell you how to get rich like Whitney Houston. So be sure to read to the end.

Whitney Houston Net Worth at Death

Whitney Houston had a negative net worth of $20 million at the time of her death. She was an American singer and actress whose first four albums, released between 1985 and 1992, amassed global sales in excess of 86 million copies. Whitney Houston once signed a $100 million contract and sold more than 200 million albums during her lifetime. At the height of her career, she earned more than $30 Million a year. However, she died nearly broke because she spent too much and did not manage her money well.

Whitney Houston released her debut album at the age of 22 and went on to have three No. 1 singles. Whitney (1987) yielded four more No. 1 singles and earned Houston a Grammy, with subsequent albums including I’m Your Baby Tonight (1990) and My Love Is Your Love (1998), as well as soundtracks for The Bodyguard (1992) and Waiting to Exhale (1998). (1995). Houston’s career deviated after her marriage to singer Bobby Brown in 1992 and subsequent drug use. She eventually made a comeback with I Look to You in 2009, and she also co-starred in Sparkle, a musical film. On February 11, 2012, Houston died as a result of accidental drowning in a hotel.

Her debut album ‘Whitney Houston’ is her most successful, with over 24 million copies sold. She is best known for her role in ‘The Bodyguard’ and its soundtrack.

Her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ is the best-selling single by a female singer and the album sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

Despite her commercial success, when she died in February 2012, she owed her record label Sony nearly $20 million. In the years after Whitney’s death, her estate made tens of millions of dollars from increased album sales, streaming royalties, and other licensing deals.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name: Whitney Houston
Net Worth: -$20 Million
Monthly Salary: $300,000+
Annual Income: $30 Million+
Source of Wealth: Record producer, Singer, Model, Songwriter, Film Producer, Actor, Musician, Artist, Music artist

Whitney Houston’s Estate 

In the nine months following Whitney Houston’s death, her estate reportedly brought in about $40 million. Most of that profit came from Whitney’s record and single sales, which went through the roof. The movie “Sparkle,” in which Whitney starred and whose production she oversaw, also did well for her estate. Most of Whitney’s debts were paid off, and $20 million was set aside for her daughter Bobbi Kristina.

Whitney Houston Was Broke When She Died

Whitney sold more than 200 million albums during her career and won two Emmys, six Grammys, thirty Billboard Music Awards, and twenty-two American Music Awards. In the last years of her life, her net worth had plummeted. 

When she signed a $100 million record deal with Sony/Arista in 2001, she had no money at all. This fact is all the more surprising when you consider that at the height of her career Whitney could earn up to $30 million a year just from touring.

When a musician signs a $100 million record deal, the money does not come all at once. A musician is paid in increments, and each payment is essentially a loan based on how well future albums perform.

Of Whitney’s $100 million contract, only $40 million was paid out because her records did not sell particularly well. She ended up owing the record company nearly $20 million as a result. Sony/Arista owns the rights to Whitney’s back catalog, which has been selling like crazy lately. However, Whitney’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown will not receive any money until 5 million new albums have been sold and the $20 million has been repaid.

When Whitney and Bobby Brown divorced in 2007, she filed papers in Orange County, California, where they were legally married, stating that she owed $4 million, had $300,000 in life insurance, $225,000 in stocks and only $40,000 in cash. 

At the time, Whitney said she owned two properties: a $6.5 million home in New Jersey with a $3.3 million mortgage and a $1.2 million townhouse in Atlanta with a $1.05 million mortgage. Houston also owned nearly $2 million worth of art and jewelry. Overall, Whitney stated that she had assets of about $10 million and just over $4 million in debt, giving her a net worth of $6 million in 2007.

At the time of her death, Whitney had no money at all and it was said that she asked her mentor Clive Davis for money. Her New Jersey home is about to go into foreclosure, and the Atlanta townhouse has already been repossessed. 

After her divorce from Bobby Houston was final, Clive Davis reportedly gave her $1.2 million to help her pay off her debts and quit drugs. Everyone had hoped that she would make a comeback, but she never did.

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How Much Did Whitney Houston Earn From Her Music, Songs, Albums, and Concerts?

Whitney Houston made more than $100 million from her music, songs, albums, and concerts. Whitney Houston was an American singer and actress whose first four albums, released between 1985 and 1992, amassed global sales in excess of 86 million copies.

In 1985, the artist released her debut album ‘Whitney Houston’ and almost immediately became a huge pop sensation. Over the next year, her hit singles “Saving All My Love for You” and “How Will I Know” helped the album reach the top of the charts, where it stayed for 14 consecutive weeks.

Houston won a Grammy in 1986 for “Saving All My Love for You,” which was presented to the singer by her cousin Dionne Warwick

‘Whitney’ album: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Houston followed the monumental success of her first album with a second, Whitney, in 1987. This album also went multi-platinum and won a Grammy for the single “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” and was followed by a successful world tour.

During this period, the singer also performed at a concert celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday and founded the Whitney Houston Foundation for Children, a non-profit organization that funds projects to help needy children around the world.

By 1992, Houston was on top of the world, but her life was about to get very complicated very quickly. That year, after a three-year engagement, she married R&B singer Bobby Brown, formerly of New Edition.

Initially, the marriage was passionate and loving, but as the decade progressed, things became increasingly difficult. Both Brown and Houston struggled with substance abuse and increasingly erratic behavior, with Houston later alluding to emotional abuse by Brown and domestic violence.

‘The Bodyguard’ Album: ‘I Will Always Love You’

Despite these mounting personal problems, Houston continued her career and successfully transitioned into acting in 1992, starring alongside Kevin Costner in the hugely popular film The Bodyguard. With this project she set a trend that her films would follow: She also released hit singles for each film, which ensured sensational record sales for the soundtracks.

Her hit single from The Bodyguard, a 1974 cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” proved to be Houston’s biggest hit ever and stayed at the top of the U.S. charts for a record-breaking 14 weeks. The soundtrack album earned Houston three Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.

Later in the 1990s, Houston also starred in Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife, both of which were also accompanied by successful soundtracks.

Album ‘My Love Is Your Love’ Album: ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’

In 1998, Houston released My Love Is Your Love, her first studio album without a soundtrack in many years, which earned her another Grammy for the single “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.” The album was not as successful as her previous full-length releases, although her collaboration with Mariah Carey in the animated film The Prince of Egypt produced a hit single, “When You Believe,” that won an Oscar.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Houston’s increasingly fractured marriage, her struggles with drugs and health problems threatened to derail her career.

Several concert cancellations and an infamous TV interview with Sawyer in 2002, in which Houston appeared far too thin and in poor health, led many to suspect she was on the verge of a breakdown.

‘Just Whitney’ Album

In 2004, when the production of the reality series Being Bobby Brown ( TV ) began, Houston received a lot of airtime. The show aired during the worst years of the couple’s broken marriage. Drug use, excessive lifestyle and bad behaviour were caught on tape and Houston’s reputation sank to a new low.

Houston tried to ignore the controversy and continued to make music, releasing Just Whitney… released to combat her critics, but it did not achieve the success of her earlier works. Despite her difficult relationship, Houston continued to be celebrated as a singer and in 2006 was named the most awarded artist of all time by Guinness World Records.

Over the next few years, Houston tried to repair her marriage and overcome her drug addiction, but after several relapses, Cissy had to intervene.

As Houston told Oprah Winfrey in 2009, “[My mother] comes in with the sheriff and says, ‘I have got a court order here. You are going to do it my way or we are not going to do it at all.’ You are going to go to TV and back off. And say you are going to give it up because it’s not worth it.'” Houston took time off from her career, divorced Brown in 2007 and was awarded sole custody of Bobbi Kristina.

‘I Look to You’ Album

After nearly a decade of struggling with her personal life, Houston seemed to bounce back. She released a new album, I Look To You, in 2009. “The songs themselves will speak to you and you’ll understand where I am at and the changes I have gone through for the better,” Houston told Entertainment Tonight.

The recording was enthusiastically received by music fans and made it to the top of the album charts. However, her live shows received mixed reviews, as some complained about the quality of her voice.

What Houses Does Whitney Houston Own?

A longtime Legend home in New Jersey was put on the market for the first time in more than a decade for $1.6 million. 

About a year after her marriage to Bobby Brown and the birth of their only child, the late Bobbi Kristina Brown, Houston bought the Mendham mansion for just $537,000 ($1.06 million today). 

Until 2010, when it was sold to the current owners for $940,000, this home was the late soul singer’s guest house. 

The five-acre ranch-style property also houses a recording studio that Houston used frequently. The owners say the studio has remained largely untouched since then and is currently used as a “soundproof home office,” with tributes to the actor hanging on the walls.

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Whitney Houston’s Awards & Achievements

She has won over 400 awards, including six ‘Grammys’, two ‘Emmys’, ’30 Billboard Music Awards’ and 22 ‘American Music Awards’.

In 2009, she was listed by ‘Guinness World Records’ as the most awarded female musician of all time.

She is the only woman who had more than one album that spent at least ten weeks at number one. She had three: ‘Whitney Houston’, ‘Whitney’ and ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack.

Whitney Houston’s Documentary

The documentary Whitney, supported by the Houston estate, was released in July 2018, with Houston’s sister-in-law Pat serving as executive producer. 

“Everyone who has a life has a story. It’s her story and it’s told in the documentary,” Pat Houston told Good Morning America a few weeks before the film’s release. “She told a lot of it herself. It’s just her life and her story as family and friends would see it, dealing with it every day.”

The documentary premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. In the documentary, it is revealed that her cousin Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne Warwick’s sister, allegedly sexually abused the singer.

Houston’s brother told filmmakers that he was abused by Dee Dee and believed the same was true of his sister. The documentary also gave insight into Houston’s relationship with drugs – her brother Michael admitted that he gave her marijuana and cocaine for her 16th birthday – as well as her relationship with fellow pop superstar Michael Jackson.

The following year brought more revelations about the singer’s private life with the publication of A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston, by Robyn Crawford. Crawford, a longtime friend and assistant, confirmed that the two also had a romantic relationship before Houston became a worldwide superstar. 

Whitney Houston’s Posthumous Music, Projects and Honors

‘Memories,’ ‘Higher Love’

In 2016, fans could enjoy the release of a new Houston single, “Memories,” which featured Malaysian singer Siti Nurhaliza. Houston’s vocals had been recorded almost 35 years earlier.

In 2019, another new Houston single surfaced, this time a cover of Steve Winwood’s 1986 hit “Higher Love.” Houston had recorded a version originally intended for her 1990 album I am Your Baby Tonight before it was remixed for a posthumous release by Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo.

Hologram Tour

In 2019, it was announced that Houston’s Hologram would tour the following year. The production was developed by BASE Holograms, which had already put on shows featuring the likenesses of Greek opera diva Maria Callas and American rock ‘n’ roll great Roy Orbison.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

On January 15, 2020, it was announced that Houston was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Whitney Houston’s Death

In early 2012, it was rumored that Houston was in financial trouble, but she denied the allegation. In fact, the artist seemed to be on the verge of a career resurgence: Houston was working on the musical film Sparkle with Jordin Sparks, a remake of the 1976 film about an all-girl musical group similar to the Supremes, and was also reportedly asked to be a judge on the singing competition series The X Factor. Unfortunately, Houston did not live long enough to make the final comeback.

Houston died at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012 in Los Angeles at a Beverly Hilton hotel where Davis was hosting a Grammy party. Houston had been seen out of town in the days leading up to her death, including at one of the parties before the Grammy Awards.

According to a March 22, 2012, Los Angeles County coroner’s report, the official cause of death was a drowning accident. The effects of a heart condition and cocaine found in her body also contributed.

With her death, the music world lost one of its most legendary stars. Davis once said that Houston “is in the great tradition of the great, great singers, whether it’s Lena Horne or Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan or Gladys Knight.”

Whitney Houston’s Daughter Bobbi Kristina

Daughter Bobbi Kristina had to go through a lot after her mother died. Immediately after Houston’s death, she was hospitalised for emotional trauma, but later spoke to Winfrey about how she returned to her mother’s home and felt her mother’s presence.

Houston left everything to her daughter, but eventually the singer’s sister-in-law, Pat Houston, became the executor of the estate.

Bobbi Kristina had public conflicts with her grandmother Cissy over the publication of Houston’s biography Remembering Whitney.

In early 2014, it was reported that she was married to Nick Gordon, who had been taken in by Houston during his childhood and had grown up with Bobbi Kristina, but later reports said the two were not legally married. In another controversy, she made disparaging remarks about Angela Bassett via Twitter after the actress/director opted to cast the lead in a Houston biopic with a trained actress rather than Bobbi Kristina.

On January 31, 2015, nearly three years after her mother’s death, Bobbi Kristina was discovered face down in a bathtub in her Roswell, Georgia home by her partner Max Lomas. After being admitted to North Fulton Hospital, she was eventually taken to Emory University Hospital after being placed in an induced coma.

Her father and grandmother visited her bedside and appealed for public support and prayer. On Feb. 10, a candlelight vigil was held in an Atlanta suburb. Bobbi Kristina Brown died July 26, 2015, at Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, Georgia. She was 22 years old.

Whitney Houston’s Early Life

Born on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, Houston seemed destined to become a singer almost from birth. Her mother and cousin were both legendary figures in American gospel, soul and pop music. Cissy Houston was the choir director at New Hope Baptist Church, where young Houston took her first steps. 

Even as a child, Houston was able to thrill audiences. She later told Diane Sawyer that an enthusiastic response from the congregation at New Hope had a powerful effect on her: “I think I knew then that [my singing ability] was a contagious thing that God had given me.”

By the time she turned 15, Houston was performing frequently with her mother and trying to get her own recording contract. 

Around the same time, she was discovered by a photographer who was struck by her natural beauty. She soon became a highly sought-after teenage model and was one of the first African-American women to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine. But music remained her true love.

When she was 19 years old, Houston was discovered in a nightclub by Clive Davis of Arista Records, who immediately signed her and took the helm of her career as she evolved from gospel to pop star. 

In 1983, Houston made her debut on national television when she appeared on The Merv Griffin Show, singing “Home” from the musical The Wiz. She and Davis spent the next two years working on her debut album, finding the best producers and songwriters to showcase her amazing vocal talent.

Whitney Houston Height and Weight

Whitney Houston is 5 ft 7 in (1.727 m) tall and her weight is 61KG

Whitney Houston Age and Birthday

Whitney Houston was born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, United States. She passed away on February 11, 2012 at the age of 48.

Favorite Whitney Houston Quotes

I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadow; if I fail, or if I succeed at least I did as I believe.

Whitney Houston


I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.

Whitney Houston


Loneliness comes with life.

Whitney Houston


I like being a woman, even in a man’s world. After all, men can’t wear dresses, but we can wear the pants.

Whitney Houston


My mother taught me that when you stand in the truth and someone tells a lie about you, don’t fight it.

Whitney Houston


I finally faced the fact that it isn’t a crime not having friends. Being alone means you have fewer problems.

Whitney Houston


You can fool people. You can fool anybody anytime of the day, but you can’t fool yourself. At night, when you go home, you’ve got to be straight up with you.

Whitney Houston


God gave me a voice to sing with, and when you have that, what other gimmick is there?

Whitney Houston

View our larger collection of the best Whitney Houston quotes.

Further Reading

Related Lists of Celebrities’ Net Worth

Or, browse all celebrities’ net worth.

How To Become Rich Like Whitney Houston?

Whitney Houston did not become rich by luck. To become as rich as Whitney Houston, you have to work smart.

Successful people become rich because they take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. They are in the right place at the right time and take the right action.

Thanks to the Internet, the world has changed massively in recent years. Nowadays it has become much easier to make money online.

Instead of looking for a 9-5 job and staying in your comfort zone, it’s better if you become your own boss as soon as possible.

You can learn how to build a digital asset that generates cash flow for you while you sleep to grow your wealth quickly.

If you seize this golden opportunity in time, you can become as successful as Whitney Houston one day.

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